Assault and Battery Exclusion Upheld


In Face, Festivals and Concert Events, Inc. v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 632 F.3d 417 (8th Cir. (Minn.) February 14, 2011), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the assault and battery exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy excluded coverage for claims against the insured, a festival and concert promoter, arising out of the alleged sexual assault of a festival patron by a security worker hired by the insured.

The patron sued the insured promoter and the security company for negligent hiring, negligent supervision, negligent retention, respondeat superior, emotional distress, and landowner’s negligence. Scottsdale Insurance Company, the promoter’s CGL carrier, denied the promoter’s tender on the basis of the policy’s assault and battery exclusion. The patron was awarded $750,000 in damages, with 42 percent of the fault apportioned to the promoter. The promoter then sued Scottsdale, seeking recovery of the defense costs it incurred in the underlying action. The district court entered summary judgment for Scottsdale, agreeing with Scottsdale that the assault and battery exclusion applied to bar coverage.

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