Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. units are entitled to a refund of $ 275,000 paid for a settlement in a sexual assault case at an Atlanta condominium complex because they were not informed of the incident until 21 months after it occurred, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The National Units insured several companies with ownership interests in Renaissance Walk, an Atlanta condominium and retail complex, under the decision of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta Nationwide Property & Casualty Co. , Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Renaissance Bliss, et al., Paris Evans.
Nationwide Property issued the principal commercial general liability policy, which had a general aggregate limit of $ 2 million and a $ 1
The primary policy provided that the insurer must be notified of an event as soon as possible.
In September 2013, Ms Evans, the property manager for the condominium management company, was sexually assaulted in the complex's parking area.
An official of the complex's management company, who is a defendant in the case, flew to Atlanta from California to investigate, but on the advice of a worker who was not involved in placing the complex's insurance, did not inform Nationwide of the incident, allegedly due that the Renaissance was not responsible for the common areas of the complex, including the parking area.
Twenty-five months after the incident, Evan & # 39 ;s attorney requested information about liability insurance and later filed a lawsuit in connection with the assault. Nationwide provided a defense, subject to rights, and after mediation agreed to pay $ 275,000.
It then appealed to the Renaissance units in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta on the grounds that their failure to provide the correct notice violated its coverage .
The district court ruled in Nationwide's favor and the decision was upheld by a three-judge appeals court panel.
"The Renaissance units claim that their delay was legally justified because the following (the official of the management company) was the creditor investigation, they thought they had no responsibility for the attack," the decision said.
insurance companies for late insurance companies under the law of Georgia, "said the decision, referring to a previous case.  "In the circumstances of this case, the 21-month delay of the renaissance companies in notifying Nationwide was unreasonable as a matter of law," it said, confirming the lower court's decision.  Lawyers in the case could not be reached for comment.