HomeNewsLocalLAUSD Sues Insurers Over Alleged Sex Abuse Coverage Denial

LAUSD Sues Insurers Over Alleged Sex Abuse Coverage Denial

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles Unified School District is suing multiple insurance companies for allegedly balking at defending and compensating the district for more than 60 sexual abuse lawsuits filed under a 2019 law that allowed alleged victims to overcome the statute of limitations barrier.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Aetna Insurance Co.; Central National Insurance Co. of Omaha; Cravens, Dargan & Co., Pacific Coast; Pacific Indemnity Co.; and Providence Washington Insurance Co. Representatives for Aetna and Central National Insurance did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the breach-of-contract suit filed Wednesday.

In October 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 218, which created a three-year revival window for adult victims who were abused as minors to file civil sexual abuse lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

The bill’s passage “resulted in a flood of litigation against LAUSD, as plaintiffs asserted, and continue to assert, claims against the district involving alleged childhood sexual assault, abuse and/or molestation…” the suit states.

Each of the 61 underlying lawsuits were filed by victims of alleged childhood sexual assaults, allegedly by an LAUSD employee or someone affiliated with the district, according to the suit, which further states that the insurance policies at issue were taken out by the LAUSD in the 1950s, 1960s and early to mid-1970s.

For the most part, the insurance companies “have shirked their contractual responsibilities to defend and indemnify the district against the negligence claims asserted in these alleged sex abuse cases, choosing instead to abandon the LAUSD and sit on the sidelines…” the suit alleges.

The insurers have instead “constructed arbitrary and capricious obstacles to side-step their obligations and they have delayed, stalled, stonewalled and otherwise engaged in insurance coverage gamesmanship to attempt to avoid their contractual duties to defend and indemnify LAUSD against the underlying lawsuits,” the suit states.

Along with compensatory damages, the LAUSD is seeking recovery of attorneys’ fees and the benefits the district believes the insurance companies owe, according to the suit, which further alleges that the insurers may be liable as well for punitive damages.

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