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Paraplegic can’t sue insurance company

A Toronto mother of three left paralyzed after a high-profile drive-by shooting lost her bid yesterday to sue her car-insurance company for benefits.

A Toronto mother of three left paralyzed after a high-profile drive-by shooting lost her bid yesterday to sue her car-insurance company for benefits.

In a ruling on Louise Russo’s claim under part of her auto policy, the province’s top court found her bodily injury could not be directly linked to an inadequately insured motorist.

“Automobile insurance does not cover injuries caused by robbers inside a bank even though the driver of the getaway car may be legally liable ... for the damages suffered,” the court said in its ruling.

In April 2004, Russo, then 45, parked outside a California Sandwiches restaurant, left her daughter in the car and ducked inside to grab a snack.

Outside, gunfire erupted in what was later determined to be a deliberate attempt on the life of a patron seated in the restaurant.

A bullet fragment hit Russo in the spine, leaving her paraplegic.

Evidence later emerged that Mark Peretz drove the van towards the front of the restaurant and his two passengers, Antonio Borrelli and Paris Christoforou, opened fire from the parking lot using a Colt semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.

Russo made a claim against her auto insurance company under the OPCF endorsement, or family protection coverage, which covers injury caused by an under-insured motorist.

The insurance company, the Personal, argued Russo’s injuries did not result “directly or indirectly from the ownership, use or operation” of an automobile.

 
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