News: In the News

Insurer Must Defend Shooter's Estate, Pa. Justices Told

Offit Kurman Client Featured in Law360

By Matt Fair, Law360

Law360 (November 9, 2018, 7:32 PM EST) -- A man who was injured in a scuffle as he walked in on a murder-suicide is urging Pennsylvania's highest court to uphold a decision finding that Erie Insurance Exchange was responsible for the cost of defending the gunman's estate in a lawsuit over the incident.

Richard Carly, who said he was inadvertently shot as he struggled with Harold McCutcheon after McCutcheon murdered his ex-wife, argued in a brief on Thursday that Erie had based its bid to avoid coverage on a “self-serving” interpretation of the shooting as an intentional act despite the clear allegations in his complaint that the gun had discharged by accident.

Carly is represented by Meghan Finnerty of Offit Kurman PA.

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"Said Ms. Finnerty, 'At its heart, this is a duty to defend case about whether the insurance company has to accept the well pled facts as true, or whether they can choose to disbelieve those facts if the policyholder's alleged accidental conduct was committed in close proximation to a separate crime. Decades of settled Pennsylvania precedent says Erie is required to accept the allegations of the Complaint as true.'"


Ms. Finnerty is a commercial litigator with a varied practice, with an emphasis on assisting corporate and nonprofit policyholders as they navigate disputes with their insurance companies. Ms. Finnerty also has significant experience assisting companies in products liability and construction accident litigation. She has represented companies in fields such as energy, finance, construction, manufacturing and retail in commercial litigation disputes, and regularly serves as a sounding board for manufacturing clients on a wide variety of legal issues including, insurance losses, risk management, contractual indemnity, employee theft and collection issues.

Additionally, Ms. Finnerty analyzes available insurance coverage for her clients under environmental, boiler & machinery, professional, D&O, EPLI and commercial general liability policies when a company suffers a loss or is named as a defendant in litigation





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