- The Court recognized the tragic circumstances that Roberts had suffered but adhered to the plain language of the insurance contract which obligated Penn National, on behalf of Attsgood, to pay sums legally obligated to pay as damages because of “bodily injury…to which this insurance applies…”
- The Court reasoned that since Attsgood did not own the property for the last two months of the Penn National coverage period that Penn National’s pro rata share amounted to 22 of the 55 months exposure (40%) of the amount of the underlying verdict.
- In rejecting the “joint and several” tort analysis, the Fourth Circuit in its well reasoned opinion noted that Attsgood and Gondrezick were jointly and severally liable and that each was responsible for the entire judgment under long standing principals or tort law. However, the court held that insurance coverage disputes are “governed by contract law…” and the court could therefore find no rationale to support the imposition of “joint and several” liability upon the insurer. Moreover, the court held that though there was a distinct and full basis of Maryland cases to support this position, it further opined that not only was it “neither equitable or fair to require an insurance company to pay for coverage during the period for which effective coverage was not in force,” but would be disruptive for insurance markets as well. Ultimately, the Court reasoned that such a “joint and several” application would, in fact, ultimately, discourage tort feasors from buying insurance, and would create uncertainty which would result in significant costs on both insurance companies and policy holders.
 Including the Honorable Richard M. Gergel, United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina, sitting by designation.