Court Denies Coverage For Privacy Claim Arising from Child Pornography
Abigail E. Rocap and Michael T. Skoglund achieved a victory in Doe v. Citizens Ins. Co. of Ill., a coverage action that was pending in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.
The homeowner at issue had pled guilty to violating Illinois’ criminal child pornography statute. While in prison, a $2 million civil judgment was entered against the insured, with the claimants seeking to collect from the homeowners’ insurer, Citizens. The homeowners’ policy provided coverage for “personal injury,” including invasion of privacy, caused by an “occurrence” but excluded coverage for any “[i]njury caused by a violation of a penal law or ordinance.”
Citizens argued, and the Court agreed, that there was no coverage for two reasons: (1) sexual mistreatment of a minor is not an “occurrence” under Illinois law; and (2) the Penal Law Exclusion precluded coverage because the injuries (invasion of privacy) were caused by a violation of the penal law (criminal child pornography statute).