Aviva Must Defend Floor Hockey Player in Injury Suit | Canadian Insurance

Aviva Must Defend Floor Hockey Player in Injury Suit

Calgary man alleged to have forcibly tripped, injured fellow player

An Alberta court says Aviva Canada must defend a man accused of injuring a fellow floor-hockey player.

The man, Jeff Johnson of Calgary, is alleged to have injured the leg of a player, Krista Semenchuk, when he “intentionally, viciously and forcibly tripped and then pushed her down.”

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The organizer, the Calgary Sport & Social Club, had a commercial general liability policy with Aviva at the time. Aviva claimed that Johnson’s conduct was intentional, and this excluded from the CGL coverage. Johnson contended that because Semenchuk was also claiming negligence, which was not excluded, the insurer had a duty to defend.

Justice G.A. Campbell wrote that the separate allegations of intentional injury and negligence made the case a bit of a puzzler.

Read: Legal Update: Duty to Defend

Campbell wrote that two paragraphs of Semenchuk’s statement of claim were “inconsistent and, when read together, ambiguous.” But, “I think it arguable that the pleadings give rise to two actionable torts involving different acts or conduct based on the Applicant’s state of mind—one being an intentional tort and the other a non-intentional tort.”

With the door still open for a negligence tort, Campbell wrote that Aviva must defend Johnson.

Read: Defining a ‘Dishonest’ Breach of Trust

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