An Assurant Inc. unit must defend a horse farm and equestrian center in a golf cart accident, a federal appeals court said on Monday when it twisted a lower court decision.
St. Charles, Illinois-based St.Charles Farms LLC, operated a horse farm and equestrian center whose business activities included maintenance, training and boarding of horses, and had insurance coverage with the Assurant Inc. unit of Miami-based American Bankers Insurance Co., according to Monday's decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida vs. Robert Shockley Jr.
In November 2016, Ashley Ratay, an employee of SFC, transported horses, equipment and an SFC golf cart from the farm to the Barrington Hills Riding Center in Barrington Hills, Illinois, which is approximately 24 km from SCF's property, according to the decision .
At some point, Mr. Shockley a passenger in the golf cart. While sitting in the passenger seat, Ratay used the golf cart to chase a horse.
She quickly drove the cart from the cut path to a grassy field, where the cart hit uneven ground, causing Mr. Shockley to fly out of the vehicle and land on the ground. Mrs. Ratay then ran across the leg.
Mr. Shockley brought an action for the accident. The U.S. District Court in Chicago ruled that U.S. bankers had no obligation to defend or harm them in the SFC in the underlying lawsuit. The complaint claims that “the golf cart was used for business purposes. This statement is sufficient to trigger the supplementary coverage for motor vehicles, "said the decision, arguing that although ambiguous, the Center's coverage should be considered as a commercial general liability policy rather than an agricultural policy. The panel overturned the lower court's decision on this issue and restored the case for further negotiations.
The panel refuses to discuss the benefits of the issue of damages, saying it is too early at this point, and withdrew the issue of dismissal. [1