Posts tagged "Mann"

Caron, et al. v. Horace Mann Insurance Company (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-153-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030;     SJC‑11273   SCOTT CARON & another[1]  vs.  HORACE MANN INSURANCE COMPANY.     Essex.     April 4, 2013.  ‑  August 9, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Insurance, Amount of recovery for loss, Construction of policy, Coverage, Homeowner’s insurance, Liability insurance.  Contract, Construction of contract, Insurance, Mistake, Reformation.  Mistake.  Practice, Civil, Summary judgment.  Dog.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March 25, 2009.   The case was heard by Robert A. Cornetta, J., on motions for summary judgment, and entry of separate and final judgment was ordered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Owen Gallagher (Kara Larzelere with him) for the defendant. Eric J. Parker (Susan M. Bourque & Lisa M. Scalisi with him) for the plaintiffs. Paul M. Moretti, for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.       LENK, J.  The written homeowner’s insurance policy at issue here had an over-all coverage limit of $ 500,000, but also contained an “animal liability” endorsement that limited coverage to $ 25,000 per occurrence for claims arising from animal bites.  The question before us is whether, on the ground of mutual mistake, the policy should be reformed by striking that endorsement.  It is undisputed that both the insurance company’s agent and the homeowner mistakenly believed that the policy did not contain such a limitation of liability, but that neither conveyed her mistaken belief to the other.  We conclude that, absent full, clear, and decisive proof of some prior agreement between the parties as to coverage for animal bites different than that contained in the policy, there was no mutual mistake warranting reformation of the policy.  We accordingly reverse the entry of partial summary judgment in the insured’s favor ordering such reformation, and order the entry of separate and final judgment for the insurer on the reformation claim.   1.  Background.[2]  In March, 2006, Alan and Katherine Fowler purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy from the Horace Mann Insurance Company (Horace Mann).  The policy was to replace a previous policy the Fowlers had purchased through the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association’s assigned risk pool (“FAIR plan”).[3]  The FAIR plan was considerably more expensive than commercial homeowner’s insurance policies, and the Fowlers sought a more affordable option. On […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm

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