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MAYNARD J. PATTERSON v. RELIANCE INSURANCE COMPANIES (04/30/84)

submitted: April 30, 1984.

MAYNARD J. PATTERSON, APPELLANT,
v.
RELIANCE INSURANCE COMPANIES



No. 01472 Philadelphia 1983, APPEAL FROM THE ORDER ENTERED MAY 11, 1983 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LYCOMING COUNTY, CIVIL NO. 79-1004

COUNSEL

Karl K. Baldys, Williamsport, for appellant.

John A. Carpenter, Sunbury, for appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Wieand and Cirillo, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 332 Pa. Super. Page 593]

This is an appeal by appellant, Maynard J. Patterson, from a summary judgment entered in favor of appellee. The issue on appeal is whether the personal injury endorsement to Williamsport's general liability policy provided for an obligation to defend additional insureds in criminal actions or to reimburse those insureds for the costs of such a defense. We hold that it did not and thus affirm the summary judgment.

[ 332 Pa. Super. Page 594]

Appellant was the Chief of Police of Williamsport, Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1975. In 1974 appellant was charged in a nine count criminal complaint. A jury found him guilty of five counts. On appeal to the Superior Court the conviction was overturned and the defendant was discharged. Commonwealth v. Patterson, 257 Pa. Super. 206, 390 A.2d 784 (1978).

The instant action comes from Chief Patterson's attempt to be reimbursed for the legal fees which were the result of his successful defense. Reimbursement is sought under a general liability policy issued to the City of Williamsport (City) by the Reliance Insurance Company (Reliance). Such a policy had been issued to the City for approximately ten years prior to 1974. However, in the Fall of 1973, during negotiations between the City and the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) for the 1974 policemen's contract, the F.O.P. for the first time requested "false arrest insurance". This result was due to a recent spate of civil and criminal complaints filed by arrestees as retaliatory actions against officers. In response to this request, the City's general liability insurance policy was amended to include a personal injury endorsement and an extension of coverage to City employees. The endorsement reads, in relevant part:

1. COVERAGE P -- PERSONAL INJURY LIABILITY

The company will pay on behalf of the Insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of injury (herein called "personal injury") sustained by any person or organization and arising out of one or more of the following offenses committed in the conduct of the named Insured's business:

Group A -- false arrest, detention or imprisonment, or malicious prosecution;

Group B -- the publication or utterance of a libel or slander or of other defamatory or disparaging material, or a publication or utterance in violation of an individual's right of privacy; except publications or utterances in the course of or related to advertising, broadcasting

[ 332 Pa. Super. Page 595]

    or telecasting activities conducted by or on behalf of the named Insured;

Group C -- wrongful entry or eviction, or other invasion of the right of private occupancy;

     if such offense is committed during the policy period within the United States of America, its territories or possessions, or Canada, and the company shall have the right and duty to defend any suit against the insured seeking damages on account of such personal injury even if any of the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent, and may make such investigation and settlement of any claim or suit as it deems expedient, but the company shall not be obligated to pay any claim or judgment or to defend any suit after the applicable limit of the company's liability has been exhausted by payment of judgments or settlements.

In addition to this printed endorsement, there was a typed addendum defining personal injury ...


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