Insurer Shirked Duty To Defend In Herpes Case

     BOISE, Idaho (CN) – State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. breached its duty to defend the owner of an insurance company, whose female employee accused him of coercing her to have unprotected sex with him and giving her herpes, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled.

     The court said State Farm should have defended its policyholder, because it has a duty to defend “where a complaint, read broadly, reveals ‘a potential for liability that would be covered by the insured’s policy.'”
     The woman claimed that her boss used his position to coerce her into having sex with him, resulting in her damages. Her boss’ policy covered “bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence which takes place in the coverage territory during the policy period.” Because herpes can be described as a bodily injury, the boss was accused of using his position to seduce his employee, “a broad reading of the complaint reveals a potential for coverage,” the ruling states.
     But the court denied compensation to the employee, saying she did not plead or prove any other damages resulting from the breach of contract.

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