Southern District Grants Summary Judgment to Nationwide in Insurance Coverage Case

The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Judge Copenhaver, granted summary judgment in Nationwide General Insurance Company and Nationwide Insurance Company of America v. Teddy D. Belcher, Jr., and S.R., Civil Action No. 2:23-CV-00588 (May 24, 2024).  The District Court held that Nationwide does not have a duty to defend or to indemnify Teddy D. Belcher, Jr., under a homeowners insurance policy because the allegations in the underlying complaint that the defendants, including Belcher, drugged and kidnapped S.R., and aided in the sexual assault and rape of S.R., described a series of intentional, deliberate acts, so that the acts alleged do not constitute an accident or an “occurrence” within the meaning of the policy and because the “intentional acts” exclusion in the policy applied, despite the allegations of negligence which were insufficient to sidestep the exclusion. The Court also held that Nationwide does not have a duty to defend or indemnify Belcher under an auto policy because the allegations do not constitute “bodily injury” because of an “auto accident” as the injuries alleged by S.R. were not the result of an accident and did not arise from the use, ownership, or maintenance of the insured vehicle. 

Erica Baumgras represented Nationwide.

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