Teacher’s Malicious Prosecution Lawsuit Dismissed

I notice that in this story, about a teacher whose reaching for pills in his pants was incorrectly interpreted as lewd behavior, the school’s liability insurer was involved, although I doubt a civil claim alleging only malicious prosecution (a willful act) would have been covered.
UPDATE: Insurance Coverage Law Blog has a great group of readers. Thanks to Kevin Kotch, a lawyer in Philadelphia, who alerted me to a misleading statement I made in this post. I was relying on something I had read in Ledford v. Gutoski, 319 Or. 397 (1994), an Oregon case that found no duty to defend or indemnify against allegations of malicious prosecution. However, Ledford considered a homeowners’ policy, not a Commercial General Liability (CGL). As Kevin points out, in a CGL, malicious prosecution is defined as a covered “personal or advertising injury” under Coverage B. Moreover, Kevin says, some insurers who have attempted to exclude intentional injury from their malicious prosecution coverage grants were rebuffed, with the courts finding ambiguity and coverage. For example, see Imperial Cas. and Indem. Co. v. State of Conn., 246 Conn. 313, 714 A.2d 1230, 1237 (Conn. 1998).
Kevin says that “some insurers still argue that malicious prosecution claims should not be covered if the injury was intentional. The practical effect is that many insurers will provide a defense for malicious prosecution claims but will make noises when it comes time to pay indemnity for the claim,” arguing it is against public policy to provide insurance for intentional injury. Thanks to Kevin for the information.

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