In Gohagan v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., Gohagan was hurt when a tree fell on him. Campbell was trying to remove the tree when it fell. The Gohagans reached a settlement with Campbell, which included Cincinnati’s payment of the $1,000,000 per-occurrence limit under the Cincinnati issued
CGL (Commercial General Liability) policy held by Campbell and his wife. However, the Gohagans reserved the right to litigate whether Campbell’s BOP (Business Owners Package) policy, which also had a $1,000,000 each-occurrence limit, provided additional coverage. The Gohagans claimed coverage under both the BOP and CGL policies and that the policies’ anti-stacking provisions are ambiguous and therefore must be construed to allow coverage up to the $1,000,000 each-occurrence limit of both policies, for a total of $2,000,000 of coverage. On summary judgment, the trial court found that, even if both policies issued by Cincinnati covered Mr. Gohagan’s injury, the terms of those policies prohibited a single injury from giving rise to more than the $1,000,000 in coverage benefits the Gohagans had already received under the CGL policy. The Eighth Circuit affirmed.
The BOP policy’s anti-stacking provision, labeled “Two or More Policies Issued by Us,” provides:
If this policy and any other policy issued to you by us or any company affiliated with us apply to the same “occurrence” or “personal and advertising injury” offense, the aggregate maximum limit of insurance under all the policies shall not exceed the highest applicable limit of insurance under any one policy.
The anti-stacking provision of the CGL policy, also labeled “Two or More Coverage Forms or Policies Issued by Us,” provides:
If this Coverage Part and any other Coverage Form, Coverage Part or policy issued to you by us or any company affiliated with us apply to the same “occurrence” or “personal and advertising injury” offense, the aggregate maximum limit of insurance under all the Coverage Forms, Coverage Parts or policies shall not exceed the highest applicable limit of insurance under any one Coverage Form, Coverage Part or policy.
The Gohagans claimed the undefined term aggregate maximum limit of insurance made the clause ambiguous, as it could mean that $1 M from each policy was the aggregate. But this ignored the other language which said that the coverage would not exceed the highest limit of any one policy.
Moreover, the other insurance clause applied when there were policies issued by different insurers, not policies issued by the same insurer.
Summary judgment to the insurer was affirmed.