Homeowner Insurer Files Coverage Action in Sandusky Matter (PA)

On Monday July 23, 2012, State Farm filed a declaratory judgment action in federal court requesting that the court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania declare that State Farm has no duty to defend Jerry Sandusky in either the criminal or civil cases filed against him.  In addition to his criminal conviction of 45 counts of sexual abuse against 10 male victims, also pending is Doe A v. Second Mile, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas civil case that was filed against Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile, and Sandusky individually.

According to State Farm, the homeowner policy which covered Sandusky and his wife from 1991 through 2008 holds that there is no coverage for a bodily injury if it is due to the “willful and malicious acts of the insured.”   Furthermore, it alleges that the 45 counts of sexual abuse that Sandusky is charged with do not count as occurrences, as Sandusky’s actions were deliberate and intentional.

State Farm previously denied Sandusky’s tender for his criminal defense, and although Sandusky did not challenge State Farm’s decision, State Farm is now looking for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to confirm its right to deny coverage for both the civil and criminal defense.

As this case proceeds, WCM will continue to provide updates on the court’s decisions.  WCM previously commented on the Sandusky litigation.  For more information see: Sandusky litigation.

Thanks to Remy Cahn for her contribution to this post.  If you would like more information, please write to mbono@wcmlaw.com.