BARNIES BAR & GRILL, INC.
UNITED STATES LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY
Argued: November 9, 2016
N. Frenette, Esq. (orally), Trafton, Matzen, Belleau &
Frenette, LLP, Auburn, for appellant Barnie's Bar and
C. Hatch, Esq., and Hillary J. Bouchard, Esq. (orally),
Thompson, Bowie & Hatch, LLC, Portland, for appellee
United States Liability Insurance Company
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN. JABAR, HJELM, and
Barnie's Bar & Grill, Inc., appeals from the entry of
a summary judgment in the Superior Court (Androscoggin
County, MG Kennedy, J.) in favor of United States
Liability Insurance Company ("USLIC") on a
complaint by Barnie's Bar seeking declaratory relief and
damages for a breach of contract. The Superior Court
concluded that USLIC had no duty to defend Barnie's Bar
in an underlying negligence action because policy exclusions
for assault and battery applied. We affirm the judgment.
The facts in this case are undisputed. On July 14, 2014,
Maurice Beaulieu filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court
seeking compensatory damages, interest, and costs from
Barnie's Bar in Lewiston for its alleged negligence. In
his complaint, Beaulieu alleged that he "was violently
attacked by a group of [other] patrons" while he
"was a customer, licensee and invitee" at the bar.
He asserted that Barnie's Bar was liable for the attack
for two reasons. First, Beaulieu contended that, although
Barnie's Bar "had general and specific notice of the
risk that an assault was imminent, " Barnie's Bar
breached its duty of care to prevent or interfere with the
assault by "failing to summons law enforcement and
otherwise failing to interfere with the assault and
battery." Second, Beaulieu claimed that Barnie's Bar
breached its duty of care "not to create a dangerous
circumstance on its premises" by "affirmatively
ejecting" him and his assailants into the parking lot at
the same time.
At all relevant times, Barnie's Bar held an insurance
policy from USLIC that included both commercial general
liability and liquor liability coverage. Both coverage
portions, however, contained comprehensive exclusions for
assault and battery. The commercial general liability
coverage, in relevant part, excluded
Any claim, demand or "suit" based upon any actual
or alleged "assault" or "battery", or out
of any act or omission in connection with the prevention or
suppression of any "assault" or "battery"
... whether caused by or at the instigation or direction of
an insured, its "employees", agents, officers or
directors, patrons or any other person. Further, no coverage
is provided for any claim, demand or "suit" in
which the underlying operative facts constitute
"assault" or "battery".
This exclusion applies to all "bodily injury",
"property damage" or "personal and advertising
injury" sustained by any person, including emotional
distress and mental anguish, arising out of, directly or
indirectly resulting from, in consequence of, or in any way
involving "assault" or "battery" whether
alleged, threatened or actual including but not limited to
"assault" or "battery" arising out of or
caused in whole or in part by negligence or other wrongdoing
with respect to:
. . . .
b. investigation or reporting any "assault" or
"battery" to the proper authorities; ...