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Laino v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co.

Decided: June 5, 1979.

KENNETH F. LAINO AND BETTY ANN LAINO, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County.

Matthews, Kole and Milmed.

Per Curiam

[169 NJSuper Page 66] Plaintiffs Kenneth F. and Betty Ann Laino, appeal from a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company,

(Nationwide) "dismissing that portion of the plaintiffs' complaint demanding coverage [under a Nationwide Homeowners insurance policy issued to plaintiffs] be afforded by defendant for the defense of Douglas Braun, minor son and stepson of plaintiffs" in a negligence suit pending in the Law Division, bearing Docket No. L-8744-76, arising from an accident involving a mini-bike*fn1 operated by Douglas. By an earlier order Nationwide was required "to defend and indemnify" Mr. and Mrs. Laino "from and against any and all claims" (of plaintiffs in the negligence suit) that they (Mr. and Mrs. Laino) "failed to supervise Douglas Braun, as a result of which" the accident occurred. It is undisputed that the accident occurred about one-quarter of a mile away from the Laino property.

The issue here is whether a mini-bike was a "motor vehicle" within the meaning of an exclusion clause contained in the homeowners policy. The trial judge found that Nationwide was not obligated to defend Douglas on the count of the complaint which alleged his own negligence because of a provision in the policy excluding coverage for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use of a "recreational motor vehicle."

The exclusion clause with which we are here concerned reads in pertinent part as follows:

This policy does not apply:

1. Under Coverage E -- Personal Liability and Coverage F -- Medical Payments to Others:

a. to bodily injury or property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, use, loading or unloading of:

(1) any aircraft; or

(2) any motor vehicle owned or operated by, or rented or loaned to any Insured; but this subdivision (2) does not apply to bodily injury or property damage occurring on the residence premises if the motor vehicle is not subject to motor

vehicle registration because it is used exclusively on the residence premises or kept in dead storage ...


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