Insurers for Companies Involved in All Good Music Festival Tragedy Sue One Another

camping.jpegThis blog has previously discussed the tragedy that took place at the 2011 All Good Music Festival. The festival is a three-day music event that is typically held in July, at a campground near Masontown, West Virginia. In 2011, tragedy struck the event when one guest crashed his truck into the tent of three other guests from South Carolina. Nicole Miller died in the accident, while her friends, Yen Ton and Elizabeth Doran, were injured. The driver, Clay Lewin, claimed that he lost control and blamed parking and security staff for guiding him to the steep, grassy slope that was near so many tents.

The families of the dead and injured girls eventually sued the campground operator and three security providers. Now insurance companies are getting involved in filing lawsuits: American Insurance Company and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company have filed suit against St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company and RSUI Indemnity Company.

Initially, two of the girls’ families filed personal injury suits against Event Staffing, Inc. and Walther Corporation. Walther Corporation was doing business as the All Good Music Festival, while Event Staffing, Inc. was in charge of providing guest service personnel, including ticket takers, door attendants, parking attendants, perimeter security, overnight security, and state-certified security guards. The lawsuit claimed that Event Staffing, Inc. had a duty to observe and monitor the campsite, which included requiring Lewin to move the truck, which had been improperly parked. By failing to do so, Event Staffing, Inc. breached its duties under the security service contract.

In accordance with the terms of the security service contract and Walther’s insurance policy with American and Fireman’s Fund, the tort actions against Walther were tendered to Event Staffing, Inc. and its insurers for the purpose of defense and full indemnification.

However, Event Staffing, Inc.’s insurer, St. Paul, claimed that there would be no coverage under the Event Staffing, Inc. policy to the extent that Walther was solely negligent. What was more, St. Paul allegedly would not defend and indemnify Walther, nor would it reimburse Fireman’s Fund and American for costs incurred defending Walther, or for a $2,000 settlement. Soon, RSUI Indemnity Company followed suit and refused to pay. In their lawsuit, American and Fireman’s Fund seek compensatory damages.

Insurance companies are frequent players in personal injury lawsuits. While it is not uncommon for insurance companies to sue one another to collect on a payment, it seems more typical for insurance companies to be sued by individuals in order to get the payment for their injuries that they deserve. Because insurance companies can often be very difficult for individuals to reach, they hire West Virginia insurance claims attorneys who can determine whether the insurance company is treating them fairly or offering a fair settlement, and what the individual’s rights are if he or she is not being treated fairly. If the insurance company is not being fair to the individual, the attorney could then file a lawsuit against the company to recover the money that the individual deserves.