As part of a recent New Mexico personal injury case, insured property owners sought from their insurance company a defense under a landlord protection policy. The property owners’ need for a defense arose after an alleged carbon monoxide leak in a property that they had rented out to a husband and wife seriously injured the husband and killed the wife.
Following those tragic events, the husband and the estate of his wife filed a state court complaint against the insurance company and other defendants, asserting claims of negligence, gross negligence, wrongful death and loss of consortium in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The insurance company then sought a declaratory judgment from a federal court, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, providing that the insurance company was not obligated to defend the insured property owners in the state court case or indemnify them.
The insurance company’s position was that carbon monoxide poisoning fell within under the insurance policy’s pollutants and contaminants exclusion and the insurance policy’s expected or intended act or omission exclusion.