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In State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. The Estate of Thomas W. Mehlman , 2009 WL 4827027 [C.A.3 (Pa.)], the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, addressed the issue of whether, for purposes of a liability insurance policy, a person’s intentional act is rendered accidental because one commits the act while inebriated.

The insured, Mehlman, became intoxicated and walked to the home of his girlfriend, Phyllis Sauter, carrying a backpack containing a handgun. At the home he encountered her roommate, Iacono, who explained that Sauter was out of town. Mehlman became agitated and aggressive and tried to shoot Iacono. Mehlman’s gun repeatedly misfired, but, after Iacono fled the house, Mehlman committed suicide.

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