The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding that claims against emergency responders arising out of alleged failure to render proper aid were all subject to a “healthcare professional services” exclusion as the plaintiffs’ causes of action would not have occurred but for the rendering of medical services. Gray v. Arch Specialty Ins. Co., 2014 WL 5376981 (Miss. Oct. 23, 2014).
Emergency responders were sued for wrongful death in failing to provide proper aid to motor vehicle accident victims, alleging negligent hiring and training and failure to implement appropriate triage protocol. A default judgment was entered, and the wrongful death beneficiaries brought a garnishment action against the emergency responders’ insurer.
The policy provided two types of coverage. The first was claims-made professional liability coverage that did not apply as there was no claim within the policy period. The second was general liability coverage of damages for bodily injury and property damage caused by an “occurrence,” but it excluded damages resulting from “the performance or failure to perform ‘health care professional services.’” “[H]ealth care professional services” included “medical … treatment,” which the wrongful death beneficiaries had alleged was improperly administered or not administered. The wrongful death beneficiaries argued that the exclusion did not apply for two reasons: (1) it applies only if the insured has formal accreditation, standards review, or an equivalent board involved in its hiring and training process, and part of the beneficiaries’ claim was that the insured did not; and (2) it does not preclude coverage for independent causes of action like negligent hiring, training and supervision. The Supreme Court held that no coverage existed because the injury would not have occurred “but for” the excluded service, so that the exclusion applied to all theories of liability.