Johnson v. Doodson Ins. Brokerage, No. 14-1379 (6th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The Cleveland Indians hired National to produce Kids Day events at baseball games, with attractions, including an inflatable bouncy castle and inflatable slide. The contract required National to secure a five-million-dollar comprehensive liability policy. National submitted an Application to Doodson Insurance Brokerage, stating on the application that the Kids Day events would include inflatable attractions. Doodson arranged for National to obtain a policy, but it excluded from coverage injuries caused by inflatable slides. Johnson admiring a display at a 2010 Indians game, was crushed by an inflatable slide that collapsed onto him. He died of his injuries. Johnson’s estate won a $3.5 million state court default judgment against National. The Sixth Circuit held that the insurance policy did not cover Johnson’s injuries. National and the Indians sued Doodson and obtained settlements. Johnson’s estate, which has not collected on the default judgment against National, sued Doodson, alleging negligence and breach of contract. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal. Under Michigan law, the broker’s contractual duty to its client to protect the client from negligence suits, without more, does not create a tort duty to an injured party who brings such suits and Johnson was neither a party to nor an intended third-party beneficiary of the contract between the broker and National.