both the requirements of the policy: it was unintentional and it took place on the insured premises. That is to say, we did not intend for Woods to molest Shawn when we hired him and we hired him on insured premises.
The court finds this argument to be internally inconsistent, however. Either the act Cab Co. committed was hiring Woods, in which case it probably did take place on the insured premises but it could not have been unintentional (see discussion above re "accidentally" hiring someone), or the act was the molestation of Shawn, which was probably unintentional ("accidental") (from the standpoint of Cab Co.) but did not take place on the insured premises. In any event, it was not the hiring of Woods, negligent or otherwise, which caused Shawn's injury but rather it merely created the danger that Woods would victimize his passengers.
The court finds defendants' reliance on Underwriters v. Purdie, 145 Cal. App. 3d 57, 193 Cal. Rptr. 248 (1983) to be misplaced. Underwriters was a personal injury action brought by a deliveryman and his wife. The deliveryman was shot by a liquor store clerk with a gun kept on the premises with the permission of the insured store owner. The plaintiffs sued the insured, inter alia, for negligently hiring and supervising the clerk who was known to be vicious and violent.
The policy included a firearm exclusion which stated that the policy did not extend to liability arising out of damage caused by possession of a firearm by insured or its agent or employee. The claim was brought under a paragraph which was essentially the same as the one at issue in the case at bar.
The court of appeal held that the exclusion did not preclude coverage because the liability of the insured arose from its independent negligent acts and not from the use of the firearm. The court held that the dispositive issue was whether the events giving rise to liability are indivisibly related to the excluded risk. It then concluded that the policy provides coverage for injury jointly caused by an excluded (firearm) and an insured (negligent hiring) risk, citing a 1973 California Supreme Court opinion which stated that when independent, negligent acts concur to produce one injury, each act should be viewed separately to determine liability. State Farm v. Partridge, 10 Cal. 3d 94, 109 Cal. Rptr. 811, 514 P.2d 123 (1973).
The arguments implied by the citing of this case fail to counter the conclusion that the policy at issue simply does not extend to liability for negligent hiring. The court has interpreted the policy to extend only to liability arising out of the condition or maintenance of the building. Thus, although this might indeed be a case of joint causes, neither of them is an insured cause.
The only real issue that Underwriters raises is whether the conclusion that negligent hiring is not covered is an erroneous one. The policy in Underwriters contained essentially the same language with regard to coverage for bodily injury and property damage as the policy in the instant case. However, the Underwriter's policy was a broader, liability insurance policy and the policy in this case is a concededly narrower Owner's, Landlord's & Tenant's policy.
The issue here is not whether Cab Co. should have to answer for its allegedly negligent hiring of potential child molesters to ferry vulnerable children from place to place but rather whether it purchased the right insurance policy to protect itself from liability in the event that something like this occurred. The court finds that it did not.
For the foregoing reasons the motion for SUMMARY JUDGMENT is HEREBY GRANTED.
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