Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, leader of the reggae band Toots and the Maytals, was hit in the head with a bottle May 18,2013, during a concert at the Dominion Riverrock festival in Richmond. —-

BY FRANK GREEN Richmond Times-Dispatch—

A federal judge has ruled that State Farm Fire & Casualty Company has no duty to pay for injuries suffered by a Jamaican reggae performer seriously injured by a bottle at the Dominion Riverrock Festival in Richmond last year.

During a performance on May 18, 2013, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, then 71, was struck in the head by a vodka bottle thrown by William Connor Lewis, then a 19-year-old college student.

Hibbert suffered a concussion and a wound requiring staples. Lewis, intoxicated the night he threw the bottle, pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six months suspended.

William Lewis

William Lewis

Hibbert filed suit in Richmond Circuit Court seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages.

State Farm issued the homeowner’s insurance policy held by Lewis’s mother. The company went to federal court seeking a judgment that it was not obligated to defend Lewis or pay any judgment against him.

The company argued that Lewis’s crime was intentional and therefore not covered by the policy.

In a nine-page opinion issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson agreed, holding “that Lewis’s intentional acts — and the resulting injury to Hibbert — are not covered by the policy.”

Toots Hibbert

Toots Hibbert

Hudson rejected Lewis’s claim that tossing the bottle over a crowd of people toward the stage when the band was performing was a mindless accident.

The judge noted that the policy excludes coverage for “bodily injury or property damage which is either expected or intended by the insured.”

“The State Farm homeowner’s insurance policy issued to Lewis’s mother provides no coverage for the injuries Hibbert sustained at the festival,” Hudson concluded.


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