Kurchner v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co.

858 So. 2d 1220 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2003)

 

RULE:

Terms utilized in insurance policies are given their plain and unambiguous meaning.

FACTS:

Because one of the assignees was to undergo chemotherapy, the assignees decided to cryopreserve his sperm with the insured/assignor in the event that the therapy would make him sterile. The sperm was destroyed when a storage tank's cooling apparatus failed. The assignee eventually became sterile as a result of the treatment. After the assignees sued the insured/assignor, a declaratory relief action against the insurer was assigned to the assignees pursuant to a settlement agreement. The policy provided coverage for bodily injury, but excluded coverage for damage to personal property. The trial court ruled in favor of the insurer on the premise that sperm outside of the body is property and not part of the body.

ISSUE:

Whether damage to sperm samples can be considered bodily injury.

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The appellate court held that cases from other jurisdictions, Florida statutes, such as Fla. Stat. chs. 742.14, 742.17 (2002), and the common understanding of the relevant terms, demonstrated that sperm cells removed from a body no longer constituted part of the body. Instead, they constituted property whose destruction was not considered bodily injury. Therefore, the trial court properly awarded summary judgment to the insurer.

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