The Argo unit is not responsible for the death of a motorist due to an automatic exclusion

A unit of the Argo group is not responsible for the death of a motorist who was killed when he collided with the swinging metal door of a sawmill, on the basis of an automobile exclusion in its policy , a federal appeals court ruled Thursday upholding a lower court ruling.

Marion Wright was driving her personal vehicle to a logging site in Claiborne County, Mississippi, in January 2018, when she passed a sawmill owned by V&B International Inc., based in Port Gibson, Mississippi, according to the ruling. of the 5th United States Circuit Court. calls to New Orleans in Colony Insurance Co. v. Brandon Keon Wright, on behalf of the beneficiaries of the wrongful death of Marion Earl Wright; V&B International inc.

The sawmill’s metal gate swung across the road and Mr. Wright collided with it. He suffered multiple traumatic injuries and died at the scene, according to the judgment.

V&B had taken out a commercial liability insurance policy with Argo Group’s unit, Colony Insurance Group. The policy included a rider entitled “Absolute Automobile Exclusion” which excluded bodily injury resulting directly or indirectly from the use of an automobile.

Mr. Wright’s beneficiaries brought an action in Mississippi state court where a final judgment said V&B had settled with the beneficiaries for $ 900,000, to be collected “only on the proceeds of the applicable insurance, where applicable “.

Colony then filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Mississippi, seeking a statement that she had no responsibility under her policy for Mr. Wright’s death. The district court granted summary judgment to Colony, which was upheld by a unanimous panel of three appeals court judges.

The “only question in this court is whether a valid exclusion applies,” said the panel’s decision. “There is no coverage for injuries resulting” directly or indirectly from the use … of an “auto” “without limiting the effect of the provision to the insured’s cars,” said the decision.

“By taking the absolute auto exclusion as written, the policy excludes coverage regardless of the connection – or lack of connection – between the insured and the automobile,” he said, by upholding the lower court’s decision.

Lawyers in the case made no comment or responded to a request for comment.

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