Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co. v. Fort Benning Family Communities, LLC, et al.

May 2017

Julie F. Maloney obtained a judgment in favor of Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company in a coverage case arising from a lead paint poisoning lawsuit. The coverage action hinged on the choice of law: under Georgia law, there was no coverage because the claimed injuries fell under the policy’s pollution exclusion, but under Maryland law, the injuries were not barred by the pollution exclusion. The Court denied the insurer’s motion for summary judgment based on Georgia law because the Court did not believe that a Georgia court would apply the “presumption of identity” rule. Then, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an opinion in another case, Coon v. The Medical Center, Inc., reaffirming that the “presumption of identity” rule is still good law in Georgia. Ms. Maloney filed a Motion for Reconsideration on behalf of Massachusetts Bay, which was granted. The Court declared that Georgia law governs the case and under Georgia law, the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured in the underlying action. Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co. v. Fort Benning Family Communities, LLC, et al., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Case No. 4:15-CV-75-CDL.