Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Juvenile Law
Valley Forge Ins. Co. v. Field
An 11-year-old child suffered long-term horrific abuse and, in 2005, was beaten nearly to death by her adoptive mother and stepfather. The child's legal guardian, brought suit against Carson Center and one of its employees, a licensed social worker, alleging that they failed to detect or report signs of ongoing physical abuse. The state court suit led to insurance coverage litigation in federal court. Insurers sought a declaratory judgment that the allegations fell within exclusions to coverage. The First Circuit affirmed entry of declaratory judgment for the insurers. The language of the policy exclusions precludes coverage for abuse that occurs to anyone in the insureds' "care, custody or control." At the time of the abuse the victim was not in the physical custody of the insureds, but had been receiving bi-weekly outpatient therapeutic services from them for 14 months covered by the policies in question. The exclusions are unambiguous.