Do auto policies cover STDs contracted in a vehicle?


Geico argued that the auto policy only applied to bodily injuries arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of the automobile and that the claimant’s alleged damages are unrelated to ownership, the maintenance or use of the covered automobile. (Credit: NATHAPHAT NAMPIX / Adobe Stock)

In another example of someone testing Logic’s tensile strength, a Missouri woman sued Geico claiming she contracted a sexually transmitted disease from an insured after the two had sex in a car covered by the insurer. The case was heard by the US District Court for the District of Kansas.

According to the records, the anonymous parties, MB (the insured) and MO (the defendant) began having a relationship in late 2017. That relationship included participation in consensual sexual activity in MB’s 2014 Hyundai Genesis. MO alleges that MB was previously diagnosed with the highly contagious human anogenital papillomavirus (HPV), but he did not inform MB of the diagnosis and did not take action to prevent the transfer of the virus . During a regular pelvic exam in November 2018, MO was diagnosed with HPV and later learned that she had contracted the MB virus.

MB had two Geico insurance policies, an auto insurance policy, listing the Hyundai Genesis, and an umbrella policy. On February 25, 2021, MO sent Geico a formal notice asking for $ 1 million to settle his claim against MB, triggering this lawsuit.

MO and MB reached an agreement in Jackson County, Mo. Circuit Court, awarding MO $ 5.2 million but limiting MB’s liability to MO, leaving MO free to pursue collection from the insurer.

Geico’s investigation of the claim revealed that MB said he told MO on several occasions that he was diagnosed with HPV positive throat cancer, had sex partners other than MO during the period relevant and had sex in locations other than the insured vehicle.

The insurance company seeks a declaratory judgment that the two policies do not cover the alleged injuries of MO and, therefore, Geico has no obligation to defend or indemnify MB against the claims.

Geico argued that the auto policy only applied to bodily injury arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of the automobile and that MO’s alleged damages are unrelated to ownership, the maintenance or use of the covered automobile. The use of the vehicle is not the cause of his injuries. Rather, the cause was his inability to prevent the transmission of STDs through having unprotected sex. The umbrella policy also does not provide coverage, as it only applies if the auto policy provides coverage.

The court has yet to answer the substantive question, but there are many procedural questions to be answered before the court can deal with the substantive issue. These issues include whether MO and MB have entered into collusive arbitration of their dispute to sue Geico’s insurance products and extra-contractual money, whether MO is subject to Kansas jurisdiction, and, more interestingly, the ‘anonymity.

Regarding anonymity, the tribunal agrees with Geico and relies on the Tenth Circuit precedent. In the memo, the court acknowledged that many people would prefer to keep the details of their sex lives private, but the risk that a party might be embarrassed by being named in the pleadings is not enough to allow them to proceed in such a manner. anonymous.

“In general, parties claiming damages should expect some level of public exposure when resorting to the courts to resolve their disputes. The request for anonymity was denied on October 4, with Judge Angel Mitchell noting that the public interest outweighs any potential embarrassment MO or MB might feel.

The parties can proceed anonymously until the court rules on MO’s motion to dismiss Geico’s declaratory judgment for lack of jurisdiction.

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