Insurer claims it is not liable to defend suit over alleged assault

By Carrie Bradon | Jun 12, 2019

BENTON —An insurance company claims it is not liable to defend Red Apple Lounge in a patron's lawsuit alleging he was assaulted. 

Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Company filed a complaint on May 30 in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois against Red Apple Lounge Inc., Terrell M. Culpepper, Main Moore and Abdul Hakim Muhammad alleging no duty to defend or indemnify under policy terms and by application of the assault/battery exclusion.

The suit states that Muhammad filed a complaint against Red Apple Lounge in March 2019. Muhammad alleges in his complaint that it was the responsibility of the lounge to ensure that guests were safe. Muhammad claims that on Dec. 31, 2018 he was assaulted by Culpepper, who was also a guest at Red Apple Lounge, when he allegedly struck him with a beer bottle. As a result, Muhammad claims he sustained injuries to his head, face and internal organs. 

In an April 2 letter, Acceptance Indemnity denied that it had a duty to defend or indemnify Red Apple Lounge in Muhammad's complaint. 

The plaintiff advised Red Apple Lounge that it was not entitled to any benefits under the policy. 

Acceptance Indemnity also alleges that exclusions applied because Red Apple Lounge allowed Culpepper to become intoxicated, which is what led to the assault and injury of Muhammad.

Acceptance Indemnity claims Red Apple Lounge's negligence contributed to the incident and that it is not liable to cover any alleged damages in Muhammad's complaint. 

The plaintiff is seeking declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify and any other relief deemed just. The plaintiff is represented by Kyle Christopher Oehmkie of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Belleville.

U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:19-CV-567

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