Negligent Homicide with Yacht Leads to Loss of Coverage

Monday, December 13, 2004
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that, where the owner of a yacht was convicted of negligent homicide in connection with a fatal collision, the insurance company is not obligated to defend under a policy excluding losses “criminally caused or incurred” by the insured. In the instant case, plaintiff was operating his yacht when it collided with another boat, killing one of the passengers of the boat. He was convicted of negligent homicide for failing to keep a proper lookout. Plaintiff was also sued for wrongful death by the widow and executrix of the deceased. Plaintiff sought declaratory judgment that his yacht insurance company was obligated to defend the wrongful death action. The court ruled that conviction for criminally negligent homicide encompassed the requisite mental state to abrogate coverage under the marine insurance policy. Littlefield v. Acadia Insurance Company, No. 04-1751 (1st Cir., December 8, 2004).

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