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Interinsurance Exch. of the Automobile Club v. Flores

California Court of Appeal
53 Cal. Rptr. 2d 18 (1996)


Facts

While stopped at an intersection in his van, Eric Michael Sanders was punched in the face by a pedestrian. When Sanders told his friend Roger Perez what had happened, Perez proposed vengeance. Armed with a handgun, Perez got into Sanders’s van, and Sanders drove to the scene of the incident. As they drove by the intersection, Perez shot David Flores (David), who was standing on the corner. After the shooting, Sanders admitted to knowing beforehand that someone was likely to be shot. Sanders pleaded nolo contendere to aiding and abetting an assault with a deadly weapon. Rosemary Flores (defendant), on behalf of herself and as guardian ad litem for David, sued Sanders and others for conspiracy, negligence, and battery. Each cause of action was supported by the allegation that Sanders and Perez “agreed to hunt down, shoot, and either kill or maim” the person who punched Sanders. The Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club (Auto Club) (plaintiff) filed an action for declaratory relief, seeking to establish whether it bore any responsibility for defending or indemnifying Sanders in Flores’s suit. Sanders’s van was insured by the Auto Club. The policy covered damages for bodily injury “caused by an occurrence arising out of the … use” of the insured vehicle. The declaratory suit went to trial on stipulated facts, which included a stipulation that Perez had intentionally shot Flores from Sanders’s van. The trial court ruled that the Auto Club bore no coverage responsibility to Sanders. Flores appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilbert, J.)

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