A recent California Court of Appeals decision served as a reminder of the long-standing rule in California that the mutual intent of the parties will always control the interpretation of potentially conflicting provisions in an insurance contract. In its recent decision in Gemini Ins. Co. v. Delos Ins. Co. (Dec. 5, 2012, B239533) __ Cal.App.4th __ [2012 WL 6050774] [Second Dist., Div. Five], the Court of Appeals was faced with the task of interpreting the inter-insured exclusion (i.e., an exclusion for claims between two insureds) in a liability policy as it applied to an additional insured named in the policy when the additional insured’s property has been damaged.
The Facts: A restaurant owner, and tenant to the property, negligently caused a fire which caused damage to property of the landlord. The landlord was an additional insured under the policy at issue, which insured him from liability for acts caused by the restaurant. The policy also contained an exclusion for claims asserted between two insureds. After the fire, the landlord sought relief from the restaurant for damage to his property. On a motion for summary judgment by the landlord’s insurer, the landlord argued that he was not an insured under the policy, and therefore the inter-insured exclusion did not apply. The trial court granted the motion.Continue Reading