Sexual Assault Was “Occurrence” or Preclusions Rendered Meaningless

Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Ass’n of R.I. v. Charlesgate Nursing Ctr., L.P. (R.I., June 5, 2015)

The Supreme Court of Rhode Island held that a commercial general liability insurer was required to defend the insured against negligence claims arising after an employee allegedly assaulted a resident in the nursing home which they operated. In coming to its decision, the court rejected the insurer’s arguments that because of the intentional nature of the assault, there was no “accident” and therefore no “occurrence”stating that this contention ignored the policy’s exclusions for sexual acts and intended injury. The court stated that these exclusions would have no purpose if all intended injuries and injuries arising out of sexual acts were excluded based on there not being an “occurrence.”