Smith v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company

381 So. 2d 913 (1980)

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Smith v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company

Louisiana Court of Appeal
381 So. 2d 913 (1980)

Facts

Benton Smith (plaintiff) held a homeowner’s insurance policy with State Farm Fire & Casualty Company (State Farm) (defendant). The policy included an exclusion for damages inflicted by domestic animals. Smith, a farmer, filed a claim for property damage caused by a cow falling into his swimming pool. State Farm denied the claim based on the exclusionary clause, and Smith filed suit for State Farm to afford coverage. The trial court held that there was an ambiguity as to what the phrase domestic animals meant as it could either apply to household pets or domesticated animals that are not household pets. Due to the ambiguity, the trial court construed the policy against State Farm. State Farm appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cutrer, J.)

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