Diocese’s Insurance Does Not Cover Abuse Claims

Courthouse News Service


(CN) – The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix’s insurance policy does not cover sexual abuse claims, the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday.

After settling with four men who say they were sexually abused by priests in the 1970s and 80s, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix sought indemnification for excess liability from its insurance company, Interstate Fire & Casualty Company.

The insurer shot back with its own request for a judgment stating that the Diocese’s policy excluded liability for assault and battery.

U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake ruled for the Diocese in Phoenix, finding that the exclusion applied only the offending priests and did not necessarily deny coverage for sexual abuse claims.

A divided appellate panel reversed on Wednesday.

The question came down to the relative meanings of the words “any” and “such”.

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