Insurer Compelled to Provide Defense to Homeowners Over Drug Overdose

In the fall of 2018, Adam Kramer invited Michael T Murray, Jr., to his parents’ home outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while his parents were out of town. Kramer was a known drug user and dealer. In a tragic turn of events, Murray was found dead of an overdose at the residence the next morning. His mother, Laurie S. Cruz, filed a wrongful death suit against the son and his parents. The parents turned to their homeowner’s policy with Nationwide for a defense. Nationwide refused due to a policy exclusion for damages arising from the use of controlled substances. The parents filed suit against Nationwide. In summary judgment, a judge with the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of the homeowners. On appeal, the Superior Court agreed stating that if one claim in a suit triggers coverage, the insurer must defend the policyholder from all of the claims. The suit included allegations of negligence which triggered coverage. Read more about the case here.