Mississippi Court Holds No Coverage for Voyeurism Claim Under E&O Policy

In its recent decision in Tudor Ins. Co. v. Manchester Educ. Found., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8458 (S.D. Miss. Jan. 22, 2013), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi had occasion to consider the application of an exclusion for bodily injury in a professional liability policy.
Tudor Insurance Company insured the Manchester Educational Foundation under an educational errors and omissions insurance policy. Manchester operated the Manchester Academy in Yazoo, Mississippi. During the time the Tudor policy was in effect, several former students brought suit for battery and invasion of privacy against the school, various administrators, and a teacher-coach whom the students claimed subjected them to unlicensed physical examinations and also spied on them while they were changing. In a separate criminal proceeding, the perpetrator plead guilty to several counts of voyeurism and as a result was sentenced to fifteen years of probation and was required to register as a sex offender.
Tudor brought suit against Manchester and the various individual defendants, seeking a declaration that it had no coverage obligations in the underlying civil suit as a result of various policy exclusions, most notably an exclusion barring coverage for:
D.        any damages, whether direct, indirect or consequential, arising from or caused by, bodily injury, personal injury, sickness, disease or death, mental anguish or emotional distress[.]
Tudor settled with Manchester and each of the individual defendants with the exception of the perpetrator, who defaulted in the coverage action.
Notwithstanding the default, the court considered the substantive coverage issue on Tudor’s motion for summary judgment, and agreed that the underlying civil suit constituted a claim falling wholly within the scope of the exclusion, noting that several courts, including the United States Courts of Appeals for the First and Fifth Circuits held similar exclusions applicable in analogous factual scenarios. Winnacunnet Coop. Sch. Dist. v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co., 84 F.3d 32 (1st Cir. 1996); Foreman v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 770 F.2d 487 (5th Cir. 1985).  As such, the court concluded that Tudor had no duty to defend or indemnify in connection with the underlying suit.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.