Lexis Nexis - Case Brief

Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Law School Case Brief

State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. S.S. - 858 S.W.2d 374 (Tex. 1993)

Rule:

Insurance coverage is not avoided by an intentional act exclusion unless the insured has acted with intent to cause a bodily injury. When the act itself is intended but the resulting injury is not, the insurance exclusion has no application. A reasonable possibility that an actor is contagious does not compel the conclusion that it is highly certain a particular act of his will result in the infection of another.

Facts:

This case involved the applicability of the intentional injury exclusion of a homeowner's policy to a claim resulting from the transmission of genital herpes. Respondents, a claimant and the insured, engaged in consensual sexual intercourse, and the claimant contracted the herpes virus. She requested that the insured compensate her for her injuries. The insured informed insurer State Farm, which investigated and rejected the claim. The insurer filed an action seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to pay the judgment because the claim fell within the policy's intentional injury exclusion. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer but the appellate court reversed and remanded holding that the insurer failed to meet its summary judgment burden because it did not produce conclusive evidence that the insured intended to transmit herpes to the claimant.

 

Issue:

Is the transmission of genital herpes an intentional injury that comes within the “intentional injury exclusion” of a homeowner’s policy?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court of Texas held that a reasonable possibility that an actor is contagious does not compel the conclusion that it is highly certain a particular act of his will result in the infection of another. Insurance coverage is not avoided by an intentional act exclusion unless the insured has acted with intent to cause a bodily injury. When the act itself is intended but the resulting injury is not, the insurance exclusion has no application.

Access the full text case Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.
Be Sure You're Prepared for Class