Pachucki v. Republic Insurance Co.

89 Wis. 2d 703, 278 N.W.2d 898 (1979)

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Pachucki v. Republic Insurance Co.

Wisconsin Supreme Court
89 Wis. 2d 703, 278 N.W.2d 898 (1979)

  • Written by Sheryl McGrath, JD

Facts

On September 10, 1972, Gary Pachucki (plaintiff) and three coworkers (defendants) began launching small metal objects at each other while at work. The parties called this activity a “greening pin war” and described it as akin to launching paper clips with rubber bands. One of the coworkers launched a greening pin toward Pachucki from about six feet away. The pin hit Pachucki’s eye, causing injury. Pachucki filed a personal-injury claim against the three coworkers for damages. In the same lawsuit, Pachucki filed claims against Republic Insurance Co. and Underwriters Insurance Co. (collectively, the insurance companies) (defendants). Pachucki’s claims against the insurance companies arose from homeowner’s insurance policies issued to the coworkers’ parents, on which the coworkers were additional named insureds. The insurance contracts excluded liability coverage for intentional acts. These exclusions stated that the policies did not apply “to bodily injury or property damage which is either expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured.” The insurance companies sought summary judgment or alternatively bifurcation of the trial. The trial court denied summary judgment but held a bifurcated trial. At the trial, one of the coworkers testified that he once started bleeding after a greening pin hit him. The coworker also testified that he intended to hit Pachucki with a greening pin but had no intent to hit Pachucki in the eye. Another of the coworkers testified that he had directed his launches toward Pachucki, but not toward a specific body part. This coworker acknowledged that he knew a greening pin could hit Pachucki in the face. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the insurance companies upon finding that the coworkers engaged in intentional acts and that accordingly the policy exclusion precluded coverage. Pachucki filed an interlocutory appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffey, J.)

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