November 23, 2010

Insurance is for Acts of God, not acts of priests

The said acts being occasionally distinguishable

Pertinent parts of today's Wisconsin court of appeals decision(s):
[T]en appeals and thirteen underlying lawsuits ... all arise out of allegations of sexual abuse committed by former priests of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In their respective complaints, all of the plaintiffs allege causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, stating that the Archdiocese represented that children were safe in the presence of the priests despite high-ranking personnel having knowledge of the priests' histories of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese argues that because it did not intend to harm the plaintiffs or intend to induce the plaintiffs into any action, the allegations in the plaintiffs' complaints are within coverage provided under the [Archdiocese's insurance] policy.

[W]e conclude that ... coverage for the negligent misrepresentation claims does not exist. Because the representations made by the Archdiocese constitute "volitional acts," they cannot be considered "occurrences" within the meaning of the [commercial general liability] policy.
John Doe 14 v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee

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