Overhead view of a person signing a homeowners insurance document. (Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com)

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts last week reversed a lower court’s judgment in favor of an insurance company, finding a single push in an unprovoked attack by the insured did not preclude coverage relating to the term “physical abuse” in the context of the abuse and molestation exclusion.

In Dorchester Mutual Insurance Company v. Miville, 2023 Mass. LEXIS 84 (Mass. 2023), the justices unanimously reversed a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Dorchester Mutual Insurance Co., after the insured, 30-year-old William Brengle, initiated an unprovoked attack on Leonard Miville, 61, by punching him in the head and repeatedly kicking him, causing serious injuries.

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