Minden v. Atain Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-1112 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Daniel attended a birthday party for a St. Louis County police officer at Gannon's tavern, as an invited guest. Following a confrontation between Lammert and another in the parking lot, Lammert hit Daniel, then drove his vehicle out to the street, running over Daniel's body. Daniel died from complications due to the injuries. Lammert turned himself into the police and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and leaving-the-scene charges, claiming that he thought Daniel was out of the way. In state court premises liability and dram shop claims against Gannon's, its liquor liability insurer defended the dram shop claims, but the general commercial liability insurer, Atain, refused to defend and declined to participate in mediation. Gannon's settled, assigned its claims against Atain, and agreed to a $2 million consent judgment on the premises liability action. The estate sued Atain, alleging equitable garnishment and vexatious failure to defend and indemnify. Atain cited an exclusion precluding coverage for injuries caused by automobiles and an assault and battery exclusion. The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the estate on the equitable garnishment claim, finding that the exclusions did not apply, but granted Atain summary judgment the vexatious-refusal-to-defend claim, finding that the exclusions arguably could have applied and coverage was a close call.