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10/28/94 JACKSON COUNTY HOSPITAL v. ALABAMA

October 28, 1994

JACKSON COUNTY HOSPITAL
v.
ALABAMA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION TRUST



Appeal from Jackson Circuit Court. (CV-91-6). Robert L. Hodges, TRIAL JUDGE.

Rehearing Denied December 16, 1994. Released for Publication March 25, 1995.

Ingram, Maddox, Shores, and Steagall, JJ., concur. Houston, J., concurs specially.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ingram

INGRAM, JUSTICE.

This declaratory judgment action arose from a dispute over an insurance agreement between Jackson County Hospital (the "Hospital") and its insurer, Alabama Hospital Association Trust (the "Trust"). This Court has considered an earlier appeal in this action; see Jackson County Hosp. v. Ala. Hosp. Ass'n Trust, 619 So.2d 1369 (Ala. 1993) ("Jackson I ").

Two former employees of the Hospital, Gerri Adkins and Alice Webb, sued the Hospital; Adkins alleged that the Hospital had wrongfully terminated her employment in retaliation for her filing a workers' compensation claim, and both Adkins and Webb alleged that the Hospital had sexually discriminated against them. The Trust refused to provide the Hospital with insurance coverage for Adkins and Webb's claims; it then brought a declaratory judgment action to determine whether it was obligated to provide coverage under the Hospital/Trust insurance agreement. The trial court entered a summary judgment in favor of the Trust, holding that the Trust was not required to cover the claims. See Jackson I, supra.

In Jackson I, this Court affirmed the summary judgment as to the sexual discrimination claims filed by Adkins and Webb. The Court determined that the Trust had no duty to defend the Hospital, because, it held, the sexual discrimination claims resulted from intentional acts that were not covered by the "occurrence" provisions of the Hospital/Trust insurance agreement. However, the Court reversed the summary judgment as to Adkins's wrongful termination claim and remanded the cause for further proceedings. The Court held that the wrongful termination claim did not arise under the workers' compensation law for purposes of a policy provision excluding coverage for actions stemming from workers' compensation disputes.

After this Court issued its opinion in Jackson I, Adkins and the Hospital settled her wrongful termination claim. The Hospital sought coverage from the Trust for the settlement amount. On remand, the trial court again entered a summary judgment for the Trust on Adkins's wrongful termination claim. Citing the Jackson I holding as to the sexual discrimination claims, the trial court concluded that the Hospital's termination of Adkins was also an intentional act and, therefore, was not covered by the "occurrence" provisions of the Hospital/Trust insurance agreement. The Hospital now appeals from that summary judgment.

The dispositive issue is whether Adkins's wrongful discharge claim is based upon intentional conduct and therefore falls outside the coverage of the Hospital/Trust insurance agreement.

The applicable "occurrence" provisions of the Hospital/Trust agreement are as follows:

"The Trust will pay on behalf of members those sums which the member shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of any claim or claims first made against the member during the report year period because of:

"....

"AGREEMENT B: General Liability -Bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence which takes place subsequent to the retroactive date and prior to the end of the report year period, and

"AGREEMENT C: Personal Injury liability caused by an occurrence which takes place subsequent to the retroactive date and prior to ...


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