Insuring the unborn
A very surprising event has occurred in the legal system of the State of Missouri. A major court decision was handed down stating that the unborn child, still in the womb, or if you adhere to the current world view, the unborn fetus, was legally defined as the “resident” of a household due to a very sad turn of events.
The Missouri Court of Appeals in 2012 reviewed the following facts in Fire Insurance Exchange v. Horner. This case concerned Darrell and Gayle Mansfield. Mr. and Mrs. Mansfield were the parents of their daughter Misty. Misty and her boyfriend Seleb Horner were going to have a child together. The child, who was named Sydney, was stillborn on December 6, 2006. Unfortunately Misty also passed away due to problems from the birth.
Mr. and Mrs. Mansfield then proceeded to sue Seleb Horner for the wrongful deaths of their daughter Misty and their granddaughter Sydney. The lawsuit was tendered to Fire Insurance Exchange which sold Mr. Horner his homeowner’s policy.
A significant event then occurred. The Fire Insurance Exchange stated that Misty and Sydney were both “residents” of the residence premises, as it is defined in the homeowner’s policy. As a result, the exclusionary language in homeowners policies which denies coverage for bodily injury to residents of the named insured’s household, applies. To put it bluntly, Fire Insurance Exchange would not defend Mr. Horner in the lawsuit.
A homeowner’s policy provides the following definition for a resident of the residence premises---
"Insured" means you and residents of your household who are:
a. Your relatives; or
b. Other persons under the age of 21 and in the
care of any person named above.
The Missouri Court of Appeals in this case stated the term “resident” was not ambiguous as Mr. Horner was claiming especially in relationship to Sydney, and as a result the exclusion for residents of the household applied in relationship to Sydney, his unborn child, applied and his request to have his homeowners insurance defend him in the wrongful death lawsuit denied.
The court also made the following observation. “It would be unreasonable for Horner to believe that Misty, the mother of the unborn child, would fall within the exclusion, and yet the unborn child in Misty’s womb would be covered simply because it had not yet been born. Furthermore, the Mansfield’s underlying lawsuit is premised on the fact that Sydney was a person capable of suffering bodily injury or wrongful death. If Sydney was a person capable of sustaining bodily injury, then she was capable of having a residence. Sydney, who was in her mother’s womb at the time of her injuries, resided wherever her mother resides and therefore, Sydney resided with Misty in Horner’s household. Because the policy excludes coverage for bodily injury to residents of Horner’s household, Fire Insurance Exchange had no duty to defend or indemnify Horner in the underlying wrongful death action.”
The following two paragraphs I present without apology:
This article was presented to you in honor of Sydney Horner, who even though she did not feel the warming rays of the sun on her infant body or know the joys of childhood, was still given the honor of being declared “a person” by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
This article was also presented to you in honor of the estimated 54 million lives that we have ended in abortion due to the Supreme Court’s ruling 40 years ago in Roe v.Wade, and the established fact that these infants were not just pieces of flesh or inorganic fetuses, but “persons” in their own right.