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Vol.12 - Issue 4

May 8, 2023

Role Of Diminished Mental Capacity On Intentional Act Exclusion

I don’t often address expected or intended cases in CO as they are so fact specific.  So that’s why I relegated W. National Mutual Ins. v. Donahue, No. A22-1630 (Ct. App. Minn. April 24, 2023) to the Tapas column.  The court addressed the role of diminished mental capacity and the insured’s PTSD on the applicability of an exclusion [in an auto policy; that’s unique] for any insured who “intentionally causes ‘bodily injury.’”  If you have this issue, the case is worth checking out.  The court explained: “The district court determined that Donahue’s intent to injure is inferred from her commission of the offense of fleeing the police. Generally, courts infer intent to injure as a matter of law when the injury involves a criminal act of a serious nature.  But courts will not infer intent based on an actor’s commission of a serious criminal act if the act occurs when the actor is deemed to be unable to form the requisite intent because of serious mental illness.”  (citations and internal quotes omitted).





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