American Legion Post No. 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co. of New York, No. 84-066

CourtSupreme Court of New Hampshire
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation125 N.H. 758,485 A.2d 293
PartiesAMERICAN LEGION POST # 49 v. JEFFERSON INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK et al.
Decision Date30 November 1984
Docket NumberNo. 84-066

Page 293

485 A.2d 293
125 N.H. 758
AMERICAN LEGION POST # 49
v.
JEFFERSON INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK et al.
No. 84-066.
Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
Nov. 30, 1984.

Snierson, McKean & Mattson P.A., Laconia (Edgar D. McKean, III, Laconia, et al.

Page 294

on the brief, and Edward B. Mulligan, IV, Concord, orally), for plaintiff.

Sulloway, Hollis & Soden, Concord (James O. Barney, Concord, on the brief and orally), for defendant Jefferson Ins. Co.

DOUGLAS, Justice.

In this declaratory judgment action, we must decide whether a clause in an insurance contract, which excludes from coverage injury resulting from the sale of alcoholic beverages by an [125 N.H. 759] organization engaged in the business of selling alcoholic beverages, applies to a non-profit organization which derives substantial revenue from the regular sale of alcohol.

The facts in this case are not in dispute. The plaintiff, American Legion Post # 49 (the Legion) is a private veterans' association granted non-profit status by the federal government for income tax purposes. The Legion operates a bar which sells alcoholic beverages each day and evening and derives substantial profits from these sales. These profits make up the bulk of the Legion's revenue and are used to meet its operating expenses, provide benefits to its members, and fund its social, civic, and community activities.

A suit for damages was filed against the Legion by James Petelle for injuries he sustained on January 26, 1979 as a result of the Legion's alleged negligence in serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron and allowing him to drive away in that condition. The defendant Jefferson Insurance Company (Jefferson), liability insurer of the Legion, declined to provide a defense in that suit. In doing so, it relied upon an exclusionary clause in its policy with the Legion which provides as follows:

"This insurance does not apply ...

(h) to bodily injury or property damage for which the insured or his indemnitee may be held liable

(1) as a person or organization engaged in the business of ... selling or serving alcoholic beverages ...

if such liability is imposed ...

(ii) by reason of the selling, serving, or giving of any alcoholic beverage ... to a person under the influence of alcohol or which causes or contributes to the intoxication of any person ...."

The Legion filed a declaratory judgment action to determine insurance coverage. The Superior Court (Dunn, J.) ruled that the policy exclusion was...

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18 practice notes
  • Sprangers v. Greatway Ins. Co., No. 92-1617
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 18 Abril 1994
    ...Rod & Gun Club v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 123 N.H. 179, 459 A.2d 249 (1984), and American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co., 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293 (1984), and a [182 Wis.2d 533] Massachusetts decision, Newell-Blais Post No. 443 v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2......
  • U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co. v. Country Club of Johnston County, Inc., No. COA94-1044
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 5 Julio 1995
    ...Dealers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Lower, 979 F.2d 1411, 1415 (10th Cir.1992); but see American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co. of New York, 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293, 294 (1984); Newell-Blais Post No. 443 v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2d 1371, 1373 Applying the plain langua......
  • Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Gordon, No. 1020, Sept. Term, 2014.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 27 Abril 2016
    ...of the phrase “in the business of.” Other courts, however, have defined the term. In American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Insurance Co., 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293, 294 (1984), the New Hampshire Supreme Court opined that “in the business of” has two ordinary meanings: (1) “any regular act......
  • Auto Owners Ins. v. Sugar Creek Mem. Post, No. WD 62120.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 30 Septiembre 2003
    ...States, Inc. v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2d 1371 (1986); American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co. of New York, 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293 (1984); Laconia Rod & Gun Club v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 123 N.H. 179, 459 A.2d 249 (1983). In Laconia, a patron of a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Sprangers v. Greatway Ins. Co., No. 92-1617
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 18 Abril 1994
    ...Rod & Gun Club v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 123 N.H. 179, 459 A.2d 249 (1984), and American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co., 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293 (1984), and a [182 Wis.2d 533] Massachusetts decision, Newell-Blais Post No. 443 v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2......
  • U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co. v. Country Club of Johnston County, Inc., No. COA94-1044
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 5 Julio 1995
    ...Dealers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Lower, 979 F.2d 1411, 1415 (10th Cir.1992); but see American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co. of New York, 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293, 294 (1984); Newell-Blais Post No. 443 v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2d 1371, 1373 Applying the plain langua......
  • Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Gordon, No. 1020, Sept. Term, 2014.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 27 Abril 2016
    ...of the phrase “in the business of.” Other courts, however, have defined the term. In American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Insurance Co., 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293, 294 (1984), the New Hampshire Supreme Court opined that “in the business of” has two ordinary meanings: (1) “any regular act......
  • Auto Owners Ins. v. Sugar Creek Mem. Post, No. WD 62120.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 30 Septiembre 2003
    ...States, Inc. v. Shelby Mut. Ins. Co., 396 Mass. 633, 487 N.E.2d 1371 (1986); American Legion Post # 49 v. Jefferson Ins. Co. of New York, 125 N.H. 758, 485 A.2d 293 (1984); Laconia Rod & Gun Club v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 123 N.H. 179, 459 A.2d 249 (1983). In Laconia, a patron of a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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