Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold


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Queen’s Palace Inc. and NYC Kazi Office Inc. lease and operate a nightclub in premises owned by Rosewood Realty LLC. Insurer Northfield’s general commercial liability policy to Queen’s Palace—limiting liability to $1 million per occurrence and $2 million in the aggregate—contained an Assault and Battery Exclusion. During the policy’s coverage period, Rojas was beaten to death while standing in line to enter defendants’ premises. He was allegedly “assaulted, dragged, pistol whipped, and killed” by armed individuals being removed from defendants’ premises by security officers. A state court wrongful death action by Moran, the administratrix of Rojas’s estate, sought damages from defendants Rosewood, Queen’s Place, and NYC Kazi for negligently failing to provide proper security at the premises. Insurer Northfield sought a declaration it need neither defend nor indemnify defendants in that underlying lawsuit. It claimed coverage was preclude because Rojas’s wrongful death resulted from an assault and battery. The court granted Northfield summary judgment. Because estate’s claims sounding in negligence in its underlying lawsuit would not exist “but for” the assault against Rojas, the Assault and Battery Exclusion applied.