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Insurance Claim – Reckless Homicide

WI Court of Supreme Court

Case Name: Lindsey Dostal v. Curtis Strand

Case No.: 2020AP001943

Officials: Ann Walsh Bradley, J.

Focus: Insurance Claim – Reckless Homicide

The petitioner, Lindsey Dostal (Dostal), both individually and as special administrator of the estate of Haeven Dostal, seeks review of a court of appeals decision affirming the circuit court’s grant of summary and declaratory judgment in favor of State Farm. The court of appeals determined that Curtis Strand’s conduct did not constitute an “occurrence” covered by the State Farm policy at issue because his conviction for second-degree reckless homicide established that the death was not the result of an accident.

Dostal contends that Strand’s criminal conviction does not preclude a finding that Haeven’s death was the result of an accident. She further advances that the State Farm policy provides coverage for her claims against Strand and that neither the resident relative nor the intentional acts exclusion bars coverage.

The supreme court agrees with Dostal that issue preclusion does not bar Dostal from seeking insurance coverage for her claims against Strand. The issue of whether Strand’s conduct constituted an “accident” was not actually litigated in the prior criminal proceeding. Further, the court concludes that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the application of the resident relative and intentional acts exclusions such that summary judgment is inappropriate.

Reversed and Remanded to the circuit court

Decided 01/26/23

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