Mt. Hawley Insurance complaint argues against coverage in apartment complex deaths

By Carrie Salls | Feb 7, 2018

HOUSTON – Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. argued in a lawsuit filed Jan. 16 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas that it should not have to cover damages incurred by an apartment complex owner after two people were allegedly killed at the complex by a contracted security guard.

According to Mt. Hawley’s complaint, defendant DCM Cancun LP is seeking coverage under a commercial general liability (CGL) policy issued by the plaintiff after it was sued in connection with the deaths of Alexis Silva and Victor Anaya Jr. The lawsuit against DCM Cancun was filed by Silva heir Maria G. Perez De Silva and Anaya estate representative Mary Helen Anaya.

“The Silva claimant and Anaya claimant allege in the underlying action that on Sept. 2, 2016, the Silva and Anaya decedents were lawfully at Cancun’s apartment complex, the Cancun Apartments at 1855 Wirt Road, Houston, Texas, when they were attacked and killed by Donnie Minnard,” Mt. Hawley said in its complaint.

Mt. Hawley said De Silva and Anaya allege that Minnard was an employee of either Watch & Ward Surveillance LLC or Green City Security LLC, which were hired by DCM Cancun “for security guard services at the Cancun Apartments,” and that Minnard was working security at the apartment complex on the day of the decedent’s deaths.

“Claimants allege… that Cancun was negligent in failing to control Minnard, in allowing an incompetent and violent security guard on the Cancun Apartments, and is otherwise responsible for the conduct of Minnard under the doctrines of respondeat superior or agency,” Mt. Hawley said in its complaint filed against DCM Cancun.

In its lawsuit, Mt. Hawley said the DCM Cancun policy specifies that the insurer “will have no duty to defend the insured against any ‘suit’ seeking damages for ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ to which this insurance does not apply.”

Mt. Hawley said these coverage limitations apply under a “Tenants and Contractors – Conditions of Coverage endorsement” included in DCM Cancun’s policy.

Coverage for bodily injury under the endorsement in question only exists if the insured “obtains a certificate of insurance prior to the contractor’s work that lists primary CGL coverage for the contractor with limits equal to or greater than the policy’s limits, the contract with the contractor provides for indemnity in favor of Cancun, the contract requires the contractor to obtain additional insured coverage for Cancun with limits equal to or greater than the policy’s limits and on a primary and noncontributory basis, and the contractor’s CGL insurer agrees to defend and indemnify Cancun on a primary basis,” Mt Hawley said in its lawsuit.

However, Mt. Hawley said in its complaint that DCM Cancun’s April 13, 2015, contract with Watch & Ward does not meet the conditions for coverage under the CGL policy. Mt. Hawley said the Watch & Ward agreement only requires the security company to “maintain insurance coverage of at least $200,000.”

“The Watch & Ward contract provides that no other insurance will be obtained and maintained by Watch & Ward,” according to the Mt. Hawley complaint. “Watch & Ward did not agree to maintain insurance limits of $1 million, indemnify Cancun, or add Cancun as an additional insured.”

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