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Grams v. IMT Ins. Co.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

CHRYSTAL GRAMS, Individually and as Next Friend to ASHLYNN GRAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
IMT INSURANCE COMPANY, and CHRISTINA TEGTMEIER, Defendants-Appellees

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D. Stochl, Judge. A plaintiff contends the court erred in concluding a business exclusion contained within a daycare provider's homeowner's policy was applicable in this case in connection with injuries her daughter received when she was bitten by her daycare provider's dog.

John W. Hoffmeyer III, Oelwein, for appellant.

Brian L. Yung and T. Cody Farrens of Klass Law Firm, L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellees.

Heard by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Mullins, JJ., but decided by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

OPINION

VAITHESWARAN, P.J.

Christina Tegtmeier operated a daycare business in her home. One day, her dog bit a child under her care, leaving a scar on the child's face.[1]

The child's mother filed suit against Tegtmeier's insurer, IMT Insurance, seeking a declaration that the policy covered the injury. Both sides filed motions for summary judgment. The district court granted IMT's motion after concluding that a " business exclusion" precluded coverage. The mother appealed.

The relevant policy provision states coverage does not apply to:

" Bodily injury" or " property damage" arising out of or in connection with a " business" conducted from an " insured location" or engaged in by an " insured", whether or not the " business is owned or operated by an " insured" or employs an " insured" .

The policy continues:

This Exclusion E.2. applies but is not limited to an act or omission, regardless of its nature or circumstance, involving a service or duty rendered, promised, owed, or implied to be provided because of the nature of the " business" .

There is no question that Tegtmeier's daycare operation was a business; an endorsement to the policy confirmed that fact, stating, " If an 'insured' regularly provides home day care services to a person or persons other than 'insureds' as their trade, profession or occupation, that service is a 'business.'" The only question is whether the child's injury arose " out of or in connection with" the business. The child's mother argues the language " excludes only liability arising out of business activities" and " [t]he ownership of a dog is not a business activity." IMT ...


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