Knight Loses Battle with Insurance Company

Sep 14, 2007

Finding that a shoving match between then-Indiana University Basketball Coach Bob Knight and his assistant coach “was a workplace incident that resulted in no bodily injury,” an Indiana State Appeals Court has affirmed a trial court’s ruling that Knight is not entitled to coverage from the carrier of his Homeowner’s Policy for the litigation that occurred as a result of the shoving incident.
The incident took place after Knight reportedly overheard long-time assistant Ron Felling’s criticism of his coaching and behavior. Felling sued Knight, and IU, in 2001. While the suit was settled for $25,000 and an admission by Knight that he lost control, Knight claimed Indiana Insurance Co., the carrier of his homeowner’s policy, wrongly denied him liability coverage for the suit.
Marion Superior Court Judge David Dreyer of Marion Superior Court ruled in 2006 that Knight’s insurance policy excluded coverage for bodily harm that is “expected or intended.”
The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the policy didn’t cover the incident because it was in a workplace and there was no bodily injury. Specifically, it held that “a reasonable claims manager would be able to discern the lack of contractual obligation at that juncture.”
It added that “Knight’s account that he ‘bumped’ Felling might be interpreted as either a report of an accidental occurrence or a report of a rude touching amounting to battery. Regardless, it was a workplace incident that resulted in no bodily injury.”
Robert M. Knight v. Indiana Insurance Company et al.; Ct. App. Ind.; No. 49A05-0608-CV-416, 871 N.E.2d 357; 2007 Ind. App. LEXIS 1735; 8/8/07


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