Geico orders to pay Missouri woman, M.O,$5.2 million after she contracted STD in a car KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Saturday, June 11, 2022

Geico orders to pay Missouri woman, M.O,$5.2 million after she contracted STD in a car

Geico must pay a Missouri woman $5.2 million after she caught HPV from unprotected sex with her then-boyfriend in his insured automobile, a state appellate court ruled. (Read More Here).

In an opinion published Tuesday, the Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri affirmed the multimillion-dollar payout against the insurance company, best known for its ubiquitous TV ads that frequently feature a talking gecko.

The woman — identified in court papers only as "M.O." — said that she "engaged in unprotected sexual activities in Insured's vehicle" in November and December 2017 and that he "negligently caused or contributed to" her catching the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection, court papers said.

After Geico turned down her claim, M.O. took the matter to an arbitrator, who found in her favor before a court affirmed the $5.2 million judgment, the appeals court said.

Geico appealed, claiming it never had a chance to contest the claim.

"But GEICO did have the opportunity to participate and defend its interests — including the ability to challenge liability and damages — by entering a defense of Insured," according to the appeals court opinion, which put the word "did" in bold italics.

In April 2021, GEICO denied coverage and refused her settlement offer, according to the Missouri Court of Appeals filing. The case was then sent to an arbitrator.
The arbitrator determined that "there was sexual activity in (insured's) automobile" that "directly caused, or directly contributed to cause" the woman to be infected with HPV, despite her former partner's knowledge of his positive HPV diagnosis, according to the filing.

The arbitrator subsequently submitted that $5.2 million would fairly compensate the woman for damages and injuries. GEICO then appealed the Jackson County Circuit Court's confirmation of the arbitration award, asserting that the court didn't give GEICO "a meaningful opportunity to defend its interests," the filing stated.
The three-judge panel responsible for reviewing the appeal confirmed the circuit court's settlement decision of $5.2 million, despite GEICO's appeal efforts, according to Tuesday's filing.
"At the time of Geico's intervention, liability and damages had been determined by an arbitrator and confirmed by the trial court. GEICO had no right to relitigate those issues," the opinion stated.
The panel also wrote that Geico could have defended its interests by entering a defense of the insured individual. "GEICO did not take advantage of this opportunity, and instead denied coverage and refused to defend Insured," the opinion said.
CNN has reached out to the attorneys for both the woman and GEICO but did not immediately hear back.

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