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Court of Appeals overturns lower court's holding arising out of accidental shooting

On August 31, the Court of Appeals overturned a Macomb County decision that the Auto Club Insurance Company had appealed.  The lower court had ruled that John Booth's homeowner's coverage with the AutoClub should apply to an accidental shooting that occurred in Booth's home.  The Court of Appeals held that the insurer's "criminal acts" exclusion applied to the homeowner's negligent discharge of his pistol even though he was intoxicated, believed that he had unloaded the gun, and did not intend to pull the trigger. 

The Court also pointed to a prior holding by the Supreme Court dictating that the public policy of Michigan is to discourage crime, while providing insurance coverage for the victim would do the opposite.  The Court did not address the public policy argument raised in the Supreme Court's McCarn II case:  i.e., the point of insurance is to protect victims from a stupid act, and if the criminal act is a negligent criminal act, insurance purchased by the "stupid" individual should be paid to the victim.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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