Duty To Defend In Bar Fight Cases

Bob Carroll wonders if insurance is sometimes just a masquerade. The position of the insurance company in Bob’s post, which apparently has filed a declaratory action seeking a determination of non-coverage, is the usual one by an insurer in bar fight cases. Here is a post I did about the result in a similar case recently where the insurer won the argument.
In Oregon, a line of coverage cases has established a “lesser-included tort” doctrine in cases where assaults, batteries and some other volitional acts are concerned. Under the doctrine, if the allegations of the complaint state uncovered conduct but could be used to prove a “lesser” tort like negligence that might give rise to coverage, a duty to defend exists. I won’t vouch for the law in the other 49 states.

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