That Wasn’t an Abduction?, Bank Asks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CN) – M&T Bank says two insurance underwriters refused to cover injuries to a teller and her family “stemming from a horrific incident in which the family was subject to a home invasion and abduction in the middle of the night.” And the insurers did it despite a policy specifically covering “kidnap/ransom,” the bank says.

     M&T claims in Erie County Supreme Court that Liberty Insurance Underwriters and Professional Indemnity Agency failed to honor the “Special Coverages Policy” that covers “‘All Employees/Officers/Directors’ ‘worldwide’ against losses resulting from numerous hazards, including kidnap/ransom, extortion bodily injury, detention and extortion property damage.” [Sic.]
     Patricia Westervelt worked as a line teller at an M&T branch in Harrisburg, Pa. She lived in Mount Joy, Pa. with her husband David and 12-year-old son Chad.
     “On or about Oct. 3, 2005, in the middle of the night, armed intruders entered the home of the Westervelt family and woke up Patricia, David and Chad,” the complaint states.
     “At gunpoint, the intruders placed Chad into the trunk of their car. Seeing this, David attempted to intervene. He tried to wrestle the gun away from one of the intruders but failed, then attempted to flee. …
     “David was shot in the back as he fled. …
     “Patricia was forced into a vehicle, but not the same vehicle as Chad. …
     “Chad was locked in the trunk of an intruder’s car for three hours and then driven to a Wal-Mart in Carlisle, Pa. where he was left alone in the parking lot in the early hours of the morning. …
     “Patricia somehow managed to escape from the vehicle were she was being confined by jumping from the moving vehicle, despite the fact that the car was traveling an estimated 120 mph on a state road. …
     “She was later found along the highway by a passing motorist. …
     “Patricia suffered serious injuries, including brain damage, hearing loss, problems walking and emotional afflictions as a result of the abduction. …
     “Patricia is permanently and totally disabled as the result of this incident.”
     (All ellipses indicate omission of the phrase, “Upon information and belief”.)
     M&T demands punitive damages for breach of contract and bad faith.
     Its lead counsel is R. Scott Atwater with Gross, Shuman, Brizdle & Gilfillan.

%d bloggers like this: