were Erin Huey, Diane Charnell, and Dawn Charnell.
Christopher obtained his homeowner's insurance from State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm"). The insurance policy would normally cover an injury to someone while at the swimming pool. An exception to the personal liability section, however, provides that coverage does not apply to "bodily injury or property damage which is expected or intended by the insured."
State Farm contends that Christopher's molestation of the three girls, which occurred repeatedly over a number of years, was intentional, and thus excluded from coverage under the policy. The defendants argue that Christopher's multiple sclerosis had become so advanced that it affected his ability to control his impulses and to understand the nature of his acts and their effect on the girls. Therefore, they assert, his actions were not intentional and are covered by the policy.
2. Legal Analysis
A. Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment
The standard for cross-motions for summary judgments is the same as for individual motions for summary judgment. The court handles cross-motions as if they were two distinct, independent motions. Rains v. Cascade Industries, Inc., 402 F.2d 241, 245 (3d Cir. 1968). Thus, in evaluating each motion, the court must consider the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Goodman v. Mead Johnson & Co., 534 F.2d 566 (3d Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 50 L. Ed. 2d 748, 97 S. Ct. 732 (1977). Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a court shall grant summary judgment if it finds that, "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
B. Interpretation of Insurance Policy Language
As a federal district court exercising diversity jurisdiction, we must apply the choice of law principles of the forum state in which we sit. Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Electric Manufacturing Co., Inc., 313 U.S. 487, 61 S. Ct. 1020, 85 L. Ed. 1477 (1941); Melville v. American Home Assurance Co., 584 F.2d 1306, 1308 (3d Cir. 1978). Pennsylvania has adopted a flexible conflicts methodology which takes into account both the grouping of contacts with the various concerned jurisdictions and the interests and policies of the concerned jurisdictions. Griffith v. United Air Lines, Inc., 416 Pa. 1, 203 A.2d 796 (1964); Melville, 584 F.2d 1306. Because all of the actions occurred in Pennsylvania, we will apply Pennsylvania's laws.
The rules of insurance contract construction are well settled. Under the rule that applies most directly to the facts of this case, a court must construe ambiguous language in favor of the insured. Totedo v. Banker's Life and Cas. Co., 670 F. Supp. 148, 149 (W.D.Pa. 1987).
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has considered an insurance contract with identical exclusionary language. In United Services Auto. Ass'n v. Elitzky, 358 Pa.Super. 362, 517 A.2d 982 (1986), app. denied, 515 Pa. 600, 528 A.2d 957, app. denied, 515 Pa. 600, 528 A.2d 957 (1987), the court found that the intent element of the exclusion clause could be interpreted to mean either that the insured must intend his actions or that the insured must intend the resulting injury. Id. at 517 A.2d 987. Consequently, the ambiguous language must be construed in favor of the insured. Id. The court found that:
Pennsylvania law is clear on at least one of the issues involved. In our state, the exclusionary clause applies only when the insured intends to cause a harm. Insurance coverage is not excluded because the insured's actions are intentional unless he also intended the resultant damage. The exclusion is inapplicable even if the insured should reasonably have foreseen the injury which his actions caused.