Allstate Insurance Co. v. Peasley – Case Brief Summary (Washington)

In Allstate Insurance Co. v. Peasley, 131 Wn.2d 420, 423-24, 932 P.2d 1244 (1997) James Peasley discharged a firearm, injuring Ardis Parker, a guest in his house. 131 Wn.2d at 423.

Both Peasley and Parker insisted the nonfatal shooting was accidental.

Criminal charges were filed against Peasley, though, and he ultimately pleaded guilty to the crime of second degree reckless endangerment in exchange for the prosecutor's recommendation of a suspended sentence. Id.

A majority of Justices held that Peasley's admitted act of recklessly discharging a firearm in a manner that caused a substantial risk of bodily harm or death to another person triggered the "criminal acts" exclusion in his Allstate insurance policy.

See Peasley, 131 Wn.2d at 429; id. at 437 (Madsen,J., concurring). Four justices signed the Court's plurality opinion, and Justices Guy and Alexander signed Justice Madsen's concurrence. This majority also rejected Peasley's claim that the phrase "criminal acts" was ambiguous or that it exclusively denotes intentional criminal acts. Id. at 429; Id. at 433 (Madsen, J., concurring).