No Coverage for Wrongful Death in Shooting of Mississippi Robber

July 31, 2009

A Mississippi convenience store owner who shot and killed a robber cannot seek coverage under his general liability policy for a wrongful death suit brought the victim’s survivors, a federal court has ruled.

The suit stems from an incident in August 2008 in Jackson, Mississippi in which the owner of A&H Food Mart, Sarbinder Singh Pannu, chased down and fired at least three shots from a handgun at James Hawthorne, whom Pannu said had tried to steal items from the store.

When Hawthorne later died of the gunshot wounds, his beneficiaries sued Pannu for wrongful death.

In connection with that suit, Pannu’s general liability insurer, Union Insurance Co., asked the court to declare that the shooting was not an “occurrence” under Pannu’s insurance policy – thus denying coverage. Pannu, however, asserted in legal documents that it was.

The U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi, in an opinion delivered earlier this month, sided with Union.

“Nothing in this record supports finding, as a matter of law, that shooting a man three or four times constitutes an ‘occurrence’ as defined in the policy,” Judge Daniel P. Jordan III wrote in the opinion.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.