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INSURANCE COVERAGE: District Court grants insurer’s motion for summary judgment, finding insurer not required to indemnify tortfeasor

The plaintiff brought suit against the tortfeasor for assault and negligence, claiming that the tortfeasor inappropriately touched her during a pre-arranged massage therapy appointment.  That suit resulted in an award for the plaintiff in the amount of $195,000 through a judgment by stipulation before a jury trial began.

The plaintiff then filed suit against the defendant’s insurer, seeking payment of the judgment and asserting a bad faith claim, arguing that the tortfeasor was an “enrolled member” under a policy issued to the American Massage Therapy Association.  The defendant insurer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, claiming that the policy contained an exclusion for sexual molestation/sexual assault and that this barred coverage for the plaintiff’s claim.  The plaintiff argued that because she had filed a claim for negligence against the insured party, her complaint stated grounds by which relief could be granted.

The Court found for the defendant, holding that the applicable exclusion under the policy encompassed sexual assault and negligent touching.

Wohlforth v. American Casualty Co. of Reading, Pennsylvania and CNA Ins., No. 3:17-cv-01247 (08/18/18)