226 F.3d 951 (8th Cir. 2000), 99-3418, Sphere Drake Ins. v Trisko

Docket Nº:99-3418, 99-3468
Citation:226 F.3d 951
Party Name:SPHERE DRAKE INSURANCE PLC, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; UNIONAMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; COPENHAGEN REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; ST. PAUL REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; TERRA NOVA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANTS, v. ROBERT TRISKO, DOING BUSIN
Case Date:September 13, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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226 F.3d 951 (8th Cir. 2000)

SPHERE DRAKE INSURANCE PLC, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; UNIONAMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; COPENHAGEN REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; ST. PAUL REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; TERRA NOVA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANTS,

v.

ROBERT TRISKO, DOING BUSINESS AS TRISKO DESIGNER JEWELRY; TRISKO JEWELRY SCULPTURES, LTD., A MINNESOTA CORPORATION, APPELLEES.

SPHERE DRAKE INSURANCE PLC, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; UNIONAMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; COPENHAGEN REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; ST. PAUL REINSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY; TERRA NOVA INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., A FOREIGN INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEES,

v.

ROBERT TRISKO, DOING BUSINESS AS TRISKO DESIGNER JEWELRY; TRISKO JEWELRY SCULPTURES, LTD., A MINNESOTA CORPORATION, APPELLANTS.

No. 99-3418, 99-3468

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

September 13, 2000

Submitted: June 15, 2000

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Before Murphy, Heaney, and Magill, Circuit Judges.

Heaney, Circuit Judge

Robert Trisko, doing business as Trisko Designer Jewelry and Trisko Jewelry Sculptures, Ltd., sustained a loss of jewelry that was insured collectively by Sphere Drake Insurance, PLC, UnionAmerica Insurance Company, Ltd., Copenhagen Reinsurance Company, St. Paul Reinsurance Company, and Terra Nova Insurance Company (the insurers). The insurers brought suit in the district court seeking a declaratory judgment that the loss was excluded from coverage. The jury found for Trisko, and following post-trial motions, judgment was entered accordingly. The insurers appeal, arguing that evidentiary errors mandate a new trial, and alternatively that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury verdict. Trisko cross-appeals the district court's prejudgment interest calculation. For the reasons articulated below, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Trisko designs and sells unique pieces of jewelry. Trisko peddles these so-called "wearable sculptures" at art and jewelry shows throughout the country. He transports the jewelry from his home base in Waite Park, Minnesota, to various bazaars.

On the weekend of November 29 though December 1, 1996, Trisko and some of his employees were scheduled to attend shows in Florida. Because Trisko often frequents shows in Florida, he maintains a van there that he uses to transport the jewelry to shows. However, on this weekend, he had two shows to attend simultaneously, one in Miami and the other in Boca Raton. He decided that he and a fellow employee, Eric Liberacki, would work the Miami show, and other employees would work the Boca Raton show. He allowed the other employees to use the van, while he and Liberacki rented a car for the Miami show.

As dusk approached on Sunday, December 1, Trisko and Liberacki began to break down their display. They wrapped each

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piece of jewelry in its own plastic bag to avoid scuffing or scratching the pieces, and placed all the jewels in two small suitcases. The process of breaking down their display and preparing the jewelry for travel took roughly an hour.

After they finished breaking down the display, Trisko and Liberacki put the jewels in the trunk of their rented Buick, and waited for the other employees to join them following completion of the Boca Raton show. Trisko and Liberacki first waited outside the Buick, with their complete attention focused on the car. After about half an hour, they moved inside the vehicle. While inside the car, they played the radio, read...

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