S.C. Supreme Court Reverses S.C. Court of Appeals; Holds Methamphetamine Is Not a Narcotic
|Post by Logan Wells|
The plain and ordinary meaning of narcotic in an insurance policy does not include methamphetamine according to a June 12, 2013 opinion of the S.C. Supreme Court. Finding the use of the term “narcotic” created, at a minimum, an ambiguity, the S.C. Supreme Court reversed a decision of the S.C. Court of Appeals.
In Hutchinson v. Liberty Life Insurance Co., the beneficiary of a mortgage life insurance policy brought suit against the insurer after it denied her benefits under exclusion (h) for injury resulting from the insured’s being “under the influence of any narcotic.” The term “narcotic” was not defined in the policy. It was undisputed that the insured was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of his accidental death.
As you may recall from our October 18, 2011 post, the circuit court granted the plaintiff summary judgment holding methamphetamine is not a narcotic; however, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding, based on its widespread illegal use, a layperson would commonly understand methamphetamine to be a narcotic drug.