The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, applying Kentucky law, has held that incarceration is a continuous injury sufficient to trigger a duty to defend in a wrongful conviction lawsuit under law enforcement liability policies in effect during the claimant’s incarceration.  St. Paul Guardian Ins. Co. v. City of Newport, 2020 WL 1514837 (6th Cir. Mar. 30, 2020).

Continue Reading Incarceration Constitutes Continuous Injury Triggering Duty to Defend

The Eighth Circuit, applying Missouri law, has held that a law enforcement liability insurer has a duty to defend a county and law enforcement officials in a suit alleging violation of the plaintiff’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because charges were first filed against the plaintiff during the policy period, even though the complaint against the insureds included a count for an unlawful seizure that occurred before the policy period.  Argonaut Great Cent. Ins. Co. v. Lincoln Cty., 2020 WL 1264213 (8th Cir. Mar. 17, 2020).  The court also held that neither the policy’s intentional conduct exclusion nor application of Missouri public policy precluded a duty to defend.

Continue Reading Arrest and Filing of Charges Triggers Wrongful Conviction Defense Coverage

This article was originally published in Law360

In Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois resolved a split in state and federal decisions applying Illinois law on trigger of coverage in the context of wrongful incarceration.[1]

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the City of Chicago Heights’ insurers had no coverage obligation under policies in effect when the claimant was retried for murder and exonerated, two decades after the initiation of the prosecution. As a result, Illinois law on trigger of coverage for wrongful incarceration lawsuits is now on all fours with decisions by courts nationwide.


Continue Reading Ill. Ruling Clarifies Wrongful Incarceration Insurance Triggers

This article was originally published in Law360 on July 10, 2019.

In a long-running insurance coverage dispute, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently issued a decision addressing trigger of coverage in the context of three wrongful convictions in Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Mitchell.


Continue Reading 5th Circ. Insights On Wrongful Conviction Insurance Coverage

A Nebraska state trial court, applying Nebraska law, has held that law enforcement liability coverage for malicious prosecution claims is triggered solely when an individual is charged, rejecting several alternate trigger theories put forward by the insured county.  Gage Cty., Neb. v. Neb. Intergovernmental Risk Mgmt. Ass’n, No. CI 17-0339 (Neb. Dist. Ct. Oct. 10, 2018).  In so holding, the court joined a majority of jurisdictions that have considered the issue.

Continue Reading Nebraska Court Rules Injury from Malicious Prosecution Occurs at Time of Charging

A Missouri federal district court, applying Missouri law, has held that an insurer had an obligation under a law enforcement liability policy to defend a county and law enforcement officials in a suit alleging violation of the plaintiff’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights based on the initiation of prosecution of criminal charges, even though the investigation by the law enforcement officials commenced prior to the policy period.  Argonaut Great Central Ins. Co. v. Lincoln County, Mo., No. 4:17-CV-00762 JAR (E.D. Mo. Aug. 8, 2018).  In addition, the court held that an exclusion for malicious conduct did not preclude coverage for the claim.

Continue Reading Law Enforcement Liability Policy Triggered by Suit for Violation of Constitutional Rights