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Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Salem County v. Flora Mari

April 27, 2011

FARMERS MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF SALEM COUNTY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
FLORA MARI, F/K/A FLORA ZARATE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND JAMES ZARATE, JONATHAN ZARATE, JOHN ZARATE, A/K/A JUAN ZARATE, ZAMCO, INC., DAVID PARKS AND LAURIE PARKS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATORS AS PROSEQUENDUM FOR THE ESTATE OF JENNIFER PARKS, DEFENDANTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-3282-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 22, 2011

Before Judges Carchman, Messano and St. John.

Defendant Flora Mari (Mari) appeals from a trial court order granting summary judgment to Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Salem County (Farmers), declaring that Mari is not entitled to coverage under her homeowner's insurance policy. Coverage was sought for a pending negligent parenting and supervision claim against her, brought by defendants David and Laura Parks (the Parks) and the Estate of Jennifer Parks, their daughter (Jennifer).*fn1 After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm, essentially for the reasons set forth in Judge David B. Rand's comprehensive oral opinion of September 1, 2009.

Mari is the mother of James Zarate, who has been found guilty of the murder of Jennifer. Mari sought coverage under her homeowner's policy, and Farmers brought a declaratory judgment action against Mari, disclaiming coverage and indemnification because James acted willfully or knowingly. Following extensive oral argument, Judge Rand granted summary judgment to Farmers.

Under the policy issued by Farmers, Mari was the named insured. The Farmers' policy defined an "[i]nsured" as, "residents of your household . . . your relatives." Mari's son James was a resident of her household during the relevant time period and therefore was an insured as defined by the policy.

The policy however contained the following exclusion of coverage provisions:

SECTION II D - LIABILITY NOT INSURED

We do not provide insurance under Section II for any sort of damages, expenses, liability, or loss directly or indirectly, wholly or partially, aggravated by, consisting of, or resulting from the following - even if an occurrence otherwise covered contributes to such concurrently or in any sequence.

4. ENDANGERMENT OR HARM EXCLUSION

We do not cover bodily injury or property damage, whether or not expected or intended by any insured, that is a consequence of an insured's willfully harmful act or knowing endangerment.

SECTIONS I AND II - OTHER LOSS AND LIABILITY NOT INSURED

We provide no insurance for any sort of damages, expenses, liability, or loss directly or indirectly, wholly or partially, aggravated by, consisting of, or resulting from the following - even if the loss or an occurrence otherwise ...


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