Firm obtains summary judgment denying insurance coverage for emotional distress claim

BOSTON (April 28, 2011) – Jennifer Rousseau recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurance carrier denying coverage for an underlying emotional distress claim.

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled that the policy unambiguously excluded coverage because it only covered bodily injuries and did not include psychological or emotional harm. The judge noted that the term “bodily injury” in the commercial general liability policy related to physical injuries only, and coverage didn’t encompass physical symptoms resulting from emotional distress. The judge also dismissed the policyholder’s claim of unfair insurance claims handling practices.

In the underlying lawsuit, an auto repair shop owner obtained $6,000 in damages based on a claim that the insured landlord had caused her emotional distress by repeated harassment and threats related to unpaid rent for use of the facility. The landlord incurred $64,000 in legal fees and defense costs related to the underlying case.

The firm’s client denied coverage for the underlying claims on the basis that the auto repair shop owner’s emotional distress injuries were not included under the liability policy.

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work for three consecutive years (2008-2010).