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State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. A.S.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

December 28, 2016

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
A.S., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHY BISSOON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         For the reasons stated more fully below, Plaintiff State Farm Fire and Casualty Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 10) will be granted in part and denied as moot in part.[1]

         I. MEMORANDUM

         BACKGROUND

         State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“Plaintiff” or “State Farm”) seeks a declaration, pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28. U.S.C. § 2201, et. seq., that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Defendant A.S. for the Underlying Action captioned Jane Doe, a minor, by and through her parents and natural guardians, Mary Joe and John Doe v. Neshannock Township School District, et al., Civil Action No. 15-1089, under State Farm Homeowners Policy No. 38- LF-1916-0 and that it has no obligation to Defendants A.S., Anthony Staph or Shellie Staph for any portion of any award that constitutes punitive damages. (See Pl.'s Mot. (Doc. 10)). The underlying action was initiated by a classmate of A.S.'s, Jane Doe, who alleges that A.S. and three other classmates sexually assaulted her during a Neshannock High School field trip.

         Plaintiff argues that its “duty to defend, as it is defined under Pennsylvania law, has not been triggered as to Defendant A.S., as the Underlying Complaint does not allege that A.S. engaged in conduct that could be considered accidental and thus there was no occurrence as is required by the policy.” The Underlying Complaint asserts seven counts in total, with three pertaining specifically to the Defendant A.S.[2] The relevant general factual allegations in the Underlying Complaint are as follows:

46. As Jane Doe slept, defendants G.R., T.S., A.S. and D.R. conspired to touch plaintiff's body without her permission until she awoke.
47. At or around 12:15 a.m., Jane Doe awoke to T.S.'s hand rubbing her vaginal region over Jane Doe's pants, and G.R. touching her buttocks under her pants, while A.S. and D.R. coached the acts.
48. When Jane Doe awoke, T.S. and G.R. immediately stopped touching Jane Doe and returned to their respective seats.
49. Following the assault, Jane Doe moved to the seat in front of her, and sat with her friend and fellow student on the trip, H.B., whereby Jane Doe sobbed the entire way home.
50. Jane Doe's previous seatmate, P.L., became aware of the assault and walked to the front of the bus in an attempt to inform defendant chaperones of the incident.
51. A.S. forcibly stopped P.L., and prevented P.L. from walking to the front of the bus to inform defendant chaperones of the incident.
52. At or around 2:00 a.m., the bus arrived at Neshannock where parents waited to pick up their children.
53. As Jane Doe exited the bus, defendant A.S. stopped her, telling her not to tell her parents or school officials, as he and Jane Doe's boyfriend ...

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