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The Court of Appeals of California has ruled that a vintage wine collector who accidentally purchased counterfeit wine was not owed a payout by his insurance company to cover the losses claimed after he discovered the wine was counterfeit. The case is Doyle v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., No. G054197, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 187 (Ct. App. Mar. 7, 2018).

David Doyle is a collector of rare, vintage wine. He has a world-class wine collection that is housed in a wine storage facility in Laguna Beach. In 2007, Doyle purchased a Valuable Possessions insurance policy from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to cover his expensive wine against loss or damage in case anything happened to the wine. The blanket policy limit was $19 million. Doyle renewed this policy eight times. During the eight years of insurance, Doyle purchased almost $18 million worth of supposedly rare, vintage wine from a man named Rudy Kurniawan. A law enforcement investigation revealed that Kurniawan had been filling empty wine bottles with his own wine blend, and putting counterfeit wine labels on the bottles. In 2013, Kurniawan was convicted of fraud and sent to prison for ten years.

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