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Law Firm Auto Policy Can’t Be Tapped

Deborah Elkins//October 25, 2013

Law Firm Auto Policy Can’t Be Tapped

Deborah Elkins//October 25, 2013//

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A law firm employee defending a personal injury suit that arose from an auto accident that occurred during his commute from home to work cannot look to the law firm’s insurance policy, even though a jury concluded the employee was using his automobile in the law firm’s business or personal affairs at the time; a Loudoun County Circuit Court grants defendants’ motion to strike and sets aside the jury finding.

The vehicle the employee was driving at the time of the accident was insured with Allstate with a policy limit of $100,000 per person. The personal injury plaintiff is seeking damages in an amount greater than $100,000.

Plaintiff was commuting to work from his residence at the time of the accident. Evidence of an office in his home, a cell phone in his car, and of the availability of time to think about issues at work was merely incidental to the purpose for his operating the vehicle at the time of the accident; that is, transporting himself from his place of habitation to his place of work. This conduct evoked neither the business nor personal affairs of his employer. In this connection the court finds that as used in the policy “personal affairs” means the non-business related activities of Hogan Hartson LLP.

The court will grant the motion to strike and enter judgment for Federal Insurance Group, finding that the policy of Federal Insurance Group does not apply to the underlying automobile accident and pending lawsuit arising from the accident of April 13, 2009.

Bartolomucci v. Federal Insurance Group (Horne) No. 70587, Oct. 22, 2013; Loudoun County Cir.Ct. VLW 013-8-116, 3 pp.

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