The parents of a 21-year-old shot and killed on the property of a trade training program in 2015 have settled a negligent security claim for $2 million.
The plaintiffs brought the claim in St. Louis City Circuit Court, according to information about the case submitted by their attorney, James D. O’Leary, of Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson in St. Louis.
The 21-year-old was shot and killed on the trade training program’s property by an individual who was also attending a program in an assassination-style killing stemming from an alleged prior dispute.
The parents alleged the defendant failed to provide adequate security patrols and security screening, failing to detect a weapon the suspect brought on the defendant’s property.
The defendant’s underlying insurance carrier agreed to pay its policy limits after the parties completed initial discovery and before the expiration of a demand for the defendant’s insurance policy limits for both underlying and excess insurance.
The defendant’s excess insurance carrier refused to defend and indemnify the defendant for the excess policy limits, citing an assault and battery exclusion in the policy, O’Leary said.
After receiving a denial letter from the excess insurance carrier, the plaintiffs filed an amended petition including additional claims of negligent misrepresentation and negligent supervision. They gave the excess insurance carrier extra time to reconsider its denial.
The plaintiffs and the defendant executed a 537.065 agreement to seek a judgment against the defendant shortly before the deadline to accept the extended demand for the excess policy limits.
As a result, O’Leary said the excess insurance carrier agreed to pay its policy limits.
He said his clients were pleased with obtaining the settlement from the excess insurance company, and added the amended allegations were key to obtaining the settlement.
“These allegations brought the occurrence within the excess policy’s coverage, pursuant to the concurrent proximate cause doctrine and rendered the assault or battery exclusion, which otherwise would have excluded all coverage, inapplicable, even though this was an assassination,” he said. “A very important lesson from this case is to look for concurrent proximate causation on cases where the insurance company believes its exclusions defeat coverage under a general liability policy.”
Venue: St. Louis City Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: Confidential
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: James D. O’Leary and James T. Corrigan, Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, St. Louis
Defendant’s Attorneys: Paul E. Petruska, Law Office of Craig A. Hansen, St. Louis; Thomas J. Magee, Hepler Broom, St. Louis; Jerry M. Hunter, Bryan Cave, St. Louis