Westfield Ins. Co. v. Vandenberg, No. 14-2009 (7th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Vandenberg, attending a cruise on a chartered yacht, was injured when he fell from the upper deck because the bench on which he was sitting tipped over, while the boat was anchored in Lake Michigan. The bench was not secured to the deck, nor did the upper deck have a railing. The fall left Vandenberg paralyzed from the chest down. The yacht was owned by a closely held corporation. Vandenberg alleged that Rose Paving, a company run by Rose, one of three owners of the corporation, was a booking agent that maintained a marketing relationship for the chartering of the yacht. He filed suit, alleging negligence, and settled with the defendants. The defendants agreed to pay $25 million through the assignment of their claims against their insurers. Westfield was the insurance provider for defendant Rose Paving. Westfield disputed that its insurance policies with Rose Paving covered the yacht accident and sought a declaratory judgment. The district court granted Westfield’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that injuries came under the policies’ watercraft exclusion.