Insurance company says racial discrimination claim isn't its problem

By John O'Brien | Apr 27, 2006

WINFIELD - An insurance company is saying it shouldn't have to cover any damages that its insured accrues because of a racial discrimination claim.

Markel Insurance Company filed a lawsuit April 14 in Putnam Circuit Court that lists Lambert Transfer Company of Poca as the defendant.

Barbara J. Keefer of Charleston law firm MacCorkle, Lavender, Casey and Sweeney is representing Markel, which says its commercial general liability policy should not cover insurance for claims made by Tyrone Smith.

Smith alleges that Lambert Transfer on Nov. 16, 2004, engaged in employment discrimination on the basis of race. He filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

Lambert requested that Markel extend coverage for the claim by Smith.

"Under the relevant terms of the Markel policy, there appears to be no duty on the part of Markel Insurance Company to provide coverage for the claim asserted by Tyrone Smith against Lambert Transfer," the complaint says.

"An actual, justiciable controversy exists as to the respective rights and duties of the plaintiff and the defendant under the terms of the Markel policy."

Markel requests a finding that states it is under no obligation to provide coverage or a defense in connection with Smith's claims.

Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding has been assigned the case.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 06-C-127

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