California Supreme Court Resolves Coverage Dispute Over Interplay Between Intentional Acts Exclusion and Severability Clause


Scott Minkler sued David Schwartz and David's mother, Betty Schwartz, alleging that David, an adult, sexually molested Scott, who was then a minor. The complaint alleged several causes of action against David, including sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, along with a single cause of action for negligent supervision against Betty, based on allegations that David molested Scott in Betty's home, that Betty knew her son was molesting Scott, but that Betty failed to take reasonable steps to stop her son from doing so. Safeco Insurance Company of America insured Betty under a number of homeowners policies, in which David was an additional insured. Relying on the intentional acts exclusion, Safeco denied coverage as to both David and Betty. This insurance coverage issue eventually made its way to the California Supreme Court.

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