Pennsylvania Record

Friday, April 10, 2020

Insurance co. seeks declaratory judgment that it need not indemnify bar facing personal injury claim

By Jon Campisi | Jul 10, 2012

Kenneth m. portner

An Illinois-based insurance company has filed a civil action against the owners of a

Philadelphia bar seeking declaratory judgment that the plaintiff is not responsible for defending or indemnifying the defendant in a personal injury case stemming from an accident in the business’s parking lot.

Founders Insurance Co. seeks to have a judge prevent the business from indemnifying Bustleton Spirits Inc., which owns and operates General Grant’s American Bar and Grill, located in Northeast Philadelphia.

Bustleton Spirits was hit with a personal injury complaint in January 2011 by Philadelphia resident Kimberley Galbraith, a bar patron who claims she was struck by a car and injured while walking to her own vehicle in the business’s parking lot back on Jan. 22, 2009, at about 2:20 in the morning.

That lawsuit alleges that the driver of the car had been seen drinking heavily at the bar prior to the accident.

The complaint further claims that Bustleton was partially responsible for the accident because it served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, an act that contributed to the vehicle/pedestrian accident in the parking lot.

On July 5, attorney Kenneth M. Portner, of the Philadelphia firm Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, filed for declaratory judgment on behalf of Founders Insurance Co., which claims that the insurance policy it holds for Bustleton contains an exclusion that states the insurer doesn’t have to pay out a claim if a customer does not have a valid liquor license.

The suit claims that Bustleton’s license to sell alcoholic beverages expired on Oct. 8, 2008, and therefore wasn’t in effect during the time of the accident.

“Bustleton did not maintain a valid license as required under Pennsylvania law on January 22, 2009, the date of the Accident,” the complaint states. “The injury asserted in the Underlying Action is subject to the Exclusion because it arises out of the selling, serving or furnishing of alcoholic beverages after Bustleton’s license to sell alcoholic beverages had expired.”

The prior lawsuit claimed that Galbraith, the bar patron who was injured by the alleged drunk driver, sustained a fractured left tibia that required surgical repair, acute left ankle sprain, lumbar disc herniation, and other injuries, some of which required additional surgeries.


The case ID number is 120700648. 

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