Two insurance companies have launched a lawsuit against a New York school district and a sexual assault victim in order to maintain that they are not obligated to fund claimed sexual abuse claims, a move that has been described as “traumatizing” and “unconscionable.”
The Amherst Central School District had just settled three Child Victims Act lawsuits involving alleged sexual abuse by school attendance officer and assistant principal Jack M. Koch – one for $1 million paid out of the district’s own pocket, and the other two for undisclosed amounts through insurance. There are two further CVA complaints pending against the district, both of which are related to Koch’s alleged misconduct.
Attorneys for Graphic Arts Mutual Insurance Company and Utica Mutual Insurance Company, on the other hand, claimed in court filings this week that the two companies are not compelled to cover another abuse claim brought by plaintiff AB 514. The insurers claim that the district was aware of the abuse at the time but did not alert the firms until three decades later. In their lawsuit, the corporations also identified AB 514 as a defendant.
The insurers further claimed that Koch’s alleged acts of abuse were intentional rather than accidental, and thus did not qualify for coverage under a commercial general liability policy purchased from Graphic Arts and in effect from 1980 to 1982.
In her complaint, plaintiff AB 514 claimed that Koch began assaulting her when she was a sophomore at Amherst High School and that the abuse continued until she graduated in 1982. According to The Buffalo News, her case will go to trial in July.
Attorney Julia Hilliker, who represents the school system, said the insurance companies’ decision to suit was “unfortunate.”
Hilliker stated, “We believe the insurance company is compelled to insure the district under the policy that it admits existed at the time.”
The insurance companies’ action, according to AB 514’s attorney Steve Boyd, is “traumatizing” for his client.
“It’s not required.” “They should just sue the Amherst district if they have a disagreement with the district,” Boyd added.