No Coverage for Negligent Supervision Claim (PA)
In Michele Kahana v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Ins. Co., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania analyzed whether an auto insurer had a duty to defend and indemnify a claim of negligence per se arising out of an auto accident. The claim was asserted against Kahana, the mother of the minor decedent who was struck while walking alone after midnight while dressed in dark clothing. It was asserted that Kahana failed to supervise her minor child, leading to the accident.
Kahana subsequently tendered her defense to her auto insurer, GEICO Casualty Insurance (“GEICO”). After GEICO denied her claim for coverage, Kahana commenced the instant action seeking a declaration requiring GEICO to defend and indemnify her with respect to the negligent supervision claim.
GEICO filed a motion to dismiss Kahana’s claims, arguing that Kahana failed to state a claim for defense and indemnification under the unambiguous language of the insurance policy. To determine whether the auto policy provided coverage under the policy, the court applied long-standing Pennsylvania principals regarding insurance policy interpretation. In doing so, the court determined that the language of the auto policy was unambiguous.
Through this context, the court next analyzed whether the claims in the underlying lawsuit were covered by the policy. The court noted that the claim did not assert that Kahana “owned, maintained, or used a car involved in the fatal collision” as required by the plain and unambiguous language of the auto policy. Therefore, the court granted GEICO’s motion to dismiss. This case is an example of the importance of evaluating the plain language of the policy when determining coverage.
Thanks to Lauren Berenbaum for her contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions.