Parachute Jumping Exclusion Precluded Coverage of Lawsuit against Airport

June 21, 2016 | Insurance Coverage

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has ruled that a parachute jumping exclusion in an airport liability insurance policy precluded coverage for a lawsuit brought by a man injured in a skydive at the airport.


A man injured in a skydive sued Skydive Sussex, LLC, and Sussex Airport, Inc., which had authorized a drop zone for parachuting activities operated by Skydive Sussex on the southwest side of the Sussex Airport runway.

U.S. Specialty Insurance Company, which had issued an airport liability insurance policy to Sussex Airport, sought a declaration that its policy did not provide coverage for the lawsuit, relying on the parachute jumping exclusion in the policy. The insurer moved for summary judgment, arguing that the policy’s parachute jumping exclusion applied to any claims “arising out of” parachuting activities, including the operation of Skydive Sussex’s skydiving operations at the airport.

Conversely, the airport contended that the exclusion did not apply to the underlying lawsuit because it did not directly operate the skydiving activities at the airport; those activities were directed by Skydive Sussex.

The District Court’s Decision

The court granted the insurer’s summary judgment motion.

In its decision, the district court ruled that the parachute jumping exclusion was “unambiguous” and that it was not limited based on which party physically conducted the parachuting activities. According to the district court, the exclusion did not cover bodily injury arising out of the conduct of, participation in, or preparation for “any” parachuting activities.

Accordingly, the district court concluded, the exclusion applied to the claims in the underlying lawsuit given that they arose out of parachuting activities.

The case is U.S. Specialty Ins. Co. v. Sussex Airport, Inc., No. 14-5494 (SRC)(CLW) (D.N.J. May 9, 2016).

Share this article:
  • Robert Tugander

Related Publications

Get legal updates and news delivered to your inbox