Allstate Insurance Co. v. Burrough
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
120 F.3d 834 (1997)
Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) (plaintiff) insured 14-year-old Joel Mark Burrough (defendant) and his family under a policy that excluded coverage for intentional or criminal acts, regardless of whether an insured was actually charged with or convicted of a crime. Burrough associated with teenaged hooligans known for engaging in rowdy horseplay. Burrough stole his grandfather’s loaded handgun, which Burrough knew had misfired at least once, and gave it to his friends. While the boys were roughhousing, the gun accidentally discharged and wounded another youth. Burrough was indisputably guilty of violating the Arkansas statute against furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor, a misdemeanor for which Burrough could have been sentenced to juvenile detention, but prosecutors did not press charges. However, the gunshot-victim’s mother (defendant) claimed tort damages against Burrough. Allstate sued the mother and Burrough in federal district court and obtained a declaratory judgment that Burrough’s criminal act relieved Allstate of any duty to defend or indemnify Burrough against the mother’s claim. The mother appealed to the Eighth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Magill, J.)
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