The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that coverage for claims by a father against the molester of his daughter was excluded by a policy’s definition of “bodily injury,” which excluded bodily injury arising out of the actual, alleged or threatened sexual molestation of a person. N.C. Farm. Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., Inc. v. Phillips, 805 S.E.2d 362 (N.C. Ct. App. 2017).
An individual was charged with and plead guilty to molesting a minor girl. The father of the victim sued the molester and the molester’s wife alleging that the molestation impeded his relationship with his daughter and deprived him of services provided by the child and caused him independent injury. The molester’s homeowners’ insurer filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling that coverage was excluded. The trial court ultimately held the insurer had a duty to defend and indemnify the molester and his wife. The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.
The court reasoned that the policy plainly excluded from the definition of “bodily injury” harm that arises out of the actual, alleged or threatened sexual molestation of a person. The court concluded that “but for” the molestation, the father’s claims would not exist. Therefore, regardless of the title of the claims, the court reasoned the claims arose out of sexual molestation and were not included within the definition of bodily injury. The court reversed and remanded for an entry of a declaratory judgment that the homeowners’ insurer had no duty to defend the molester and his wife.