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Farmers Automobile Ins. Ass'n v. Medina

JUNE 6, 1975.

THE FARMERS AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

RALPH MEDINA ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. JOHN E. SYPE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The plaintiff insurance company filed this declaratory judgment action to determine whether they were required to defend under the provisions of a homeowner's policy issued to Ralph Medina and Mathilda A. Medina, parents of Robert Sapp, a minor. The trial court found in favor of the defendants and the plaintiff insurance company appeals.

The sole question presented herein is the interpretation of the following exclusionary clause found in the policy:

"This policy does not apply:

1. Under Coverage E — Personal Liability and Coverage F — Medical Payments to Others.

f. to bodily injury or property damage which is either expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured."

In considering similar exclusionary clauses the courts in this and other states have repeatedly stated the test is whether the injury was not caused intentionally but was, rather, an unintended result of an intentional act.

The minor defendant herein, Robert Sapp, intentionally flipped matches upon a gasoline spot located behind or directly under the rear end of a parked Cadillac. The spot ignited and burned the automobile. At the time of the incident Sapp and three other young people were picking grapes at or near an alley in the vicinity of the automobile. After the fire the four young people gave statements to the police department. The statement of one girl included the following:

"* * * Robert, he seen [sic] the gas leaking from a car that was parked in the alley * * * and he [Robert] told us he was going to throw a match at the gas. We turned around and seen [sic] him threw [sic] it. He ran towards us and we all walked down to the park. He was bragging about it."

The other girl stated in her statement to the police:

"While we were picking grapes Sap [sic] noticed that the car had a gas leak * * * He mentioned it to us. Pam and I got the grapes we wanted and started walking back to the park. We were almost to the park when Sap [sic] came back running and told us how he had threw [sic] a match and it set the car on fire."

The third statement from Brian Moberly contained the following:

"At this time Bob Sapp asked me for some matches and I gave some to him. After I had given them to him he told me that he was going to light the car."

The defendant Sapp's statement to the police contained the following:

"We saw gas just dripping out of a '68 Caddy. I asked Brian Moberly for some matches and he gave them to me * * * I lite [sic] another match and I thought it went out and I ...


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