Pa. hockey dad convicted of punching the wife of his son's coach might not have insurance for civil lawsuit

By Charmaine Little | Feb 6, 2019

PITTSBURGH - An insurance company wants no part of a civil lawsuit filed by the wife of a youth hockey coach against the man who allegedly punched her in the face in a dispute over playing time.

Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co. has asked the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to rule that it doesn’t have to represent Timothy Hanna, a father accused of physically assaulting Christie Kelly. Hanna was found guilty of assault and originally sentenced to at least 11 1/2 months in jail, though that was later changed to a sentence of house arrest.

Nationwide filed the declaratory judgment action on Jan. 14 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County amid the underlying case against Hanna filed by coach Doug Kelly and wife Christie. 

Kelly and his wife are suing Hanna after Christie Kelly allegedly suffered major injuries such as memory loss, dizziness, headaches and peripheral vertigo, following Hanna’s hand allegedly hitting her head during an intense post-game moment, the Pennsylvania Record reported previously.

Nationwide wants to escape having to defend Hanna in court. 

“The conduct of Mr. Hanna was not an ‘occurrence’ as that term is defined in the policy as it was not an accident,” said Nationwide in the declaration. 

“The bodily injury to Ms. Kelly is clearly is connected to and in relation to the intentional conduct of Mr. Hanna which could reasonably be expected to result from a 6-foot-1 man striking a 5-foot-3 woman violently in the face.”

Nationwide reiterated that because this alleged incident isn’t an “occurrence,” it’s not covered in Hanna’s policy, and therefore Nationwide shouldn’t be obligated to defend him. It added that Hanna’s alleged conduct could be construed as criminal and whether or not he was arrested, Nationwide does not indemnify criminal activity.

Kelly also verified that he received the declaration from Nationwide, and that to the best of his knowledge, all of the statements and facts inside of it are true and valid.

The Kellys blamed Hanna for the injuries stating he could have stopped himself from getting physical with Christie Kelly. Hanna was later convicted of aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

During the criminal proceedings, Christie Kelly gave a very detailed account of what occurred during her interaction with Hanna. 

She said Hanna looked in her direction and said something, but she couldn’t hear what. She said he got closer and then said he was going to “kill” her husband and that she would watch. By that point, she testified, he was bending over her and spitting on her. 

“He was telling – continuing to tell me he was going to kill my husband and that I was going to watch,” said Christie Kelly. “He was calling me every name in the book.” 

She testified that she told him to back up, and Hanna refused to listen and told her not to tell him what to do. She then put her hand up to her face, as Hanna was reportedly spitting on her. 

“He hauled off and punched me in the side of the head,” she testified.

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