This decision involved the differences between intentional and negligent acts. The case stemmed from an off-duty police offer’s arrest of a man at a flea market. The market’s operator employed the officer to provide security, and the man sued the flea market operator for personal injuries, claiming negligence in connection with the officer’s alleged use of excessive force during the arrest. The operator’s insurer filed an action to determine if it had to provide coverage and a defense, arguing that the man’s claims fell within a policy exclusion for assault and battery.
A trial court concluded that the insurer owed coverage and a defense, but the Second District reversed. The appellate court determined that the officer’s alleged use of excessive force was an intentional and not negligent act that triggered the policy’s battery exclusion.
The case raises some interesting questions about the protections the law gives to police officers and how those protections impact others when an officer acts as another’s agent.