Washington Court: Firearms Exclusion Excludes Coverage for Pre-Shooting Negligence and Shooting Claims

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In Capitol Specialty Insurance v. JBC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., et al., No. 68129-0-I, 2012 Wash. App. LEXIS 2835 (Ct. App. Dec. 10, 2012), the Washington Court of Appeals held a firearms exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy unambiguously excludes coverage for all claims arising from a nightclub shooting regardless of who used the firearm, including those claims characterized as pre-shooting negligence. The court distinguished the holding from those claims where there are allegations of post-shooting acts that lead to further injury or harm to the claimant.

Policy and Firearms Exclusion at Issue -

Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation (Capitol) issued a CGL insurance policy to JBC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (JBC) that provided “[w]e will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ to which this insurance applies.” The policy contained a firearms exclusion at issue in the case, which excluded from coverage “’[b]odily injury’ or ‘property damage’ that arises out of, relates to, is based upon, or attributable to the use of a firearm(s).”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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