California Supreme Court Finds No Duty to Defend Insured for Assault and Battery Claim Where Injured Party Alleged Insured Acted Under an Unreasonable Belief in the Need for Self-Defense

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In a long-anticipated decision, the California Supreme Court issued its August 3, 2009 decision in Delgado v. Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club of Southern California, finding that the contention (by the injured party) that the insured acted in self-defense when sued for assault and battery did not constitute an “accident” within the meaning of a liability policy and thus the insurer had no duty to defend the action. The decision is also noteworthy as it distinguished a number of prior cases, including Supreme Court cases, that had touched on similar issues.

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