Florida Court Rules on Question of Insurance Coverage for Negligence and Wrongful Death Claim: Maryland Casualty Company v. Smartcop, Inc.
The alleged failure of software used to monitor police vehicles, which formed the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit against the software developer, is not covered by the developer’s liability insurance policy, according to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Maryland Casualty Company v. Smartcop, Inc., et al. The estate of a sheriff’s deputy killed in a police vehicle sued the software developer, and the developer’s insurance company filed a declaratory judgment action to establish its obligations to its insured. The court granted the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment on Friday, September 21, 2012, ruling that the underlying lawsuit was excluded from coverage under the policy.
Maryland Casualty Company sued Smartcop, which did business as Consolidated Technology Solutions (CTS), and Lazaro Guerrero, who represented the Estate of Melissa Powers, to determine its duty to defend or indemnify CTS in a state lawsuit filed by Guerrero. The state lawsuit arose from the death of Powers, a Monroe County sheriff’s deputy, in a car accident in Key Largo on the night of June 22, 2010.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Powers was driving in emergency mode at about 106 miles per hour when she swerved to pass another vehicle. She reportedly lost control of her patrol car and hit a parked truck. Monroe County subsequently changed its policies regarding when its officers may drive in emergency mode. CTS had provided software to the county sheriff’s department to monitor its vehicles in 2002. Guerrero filed a lawsuit against various parties, including CTS, alleging that Powers’ death resulted from CTS’s negligent failure to maintain or update the software.