Big Bro's Insurance Woes: Update in School Spy Case

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on April 27, 2010 2:45 PM

The folks at the head office of the Pennsylvania Lower Merion School District must think karma is a, well, you know. The latest hit in the long parade of such, since Blake Robbins and family sued the school for allegedly spying on the high school sophomore with the webcam on his school issued computer, is that their insurance company is -- out. The Graphic Arts Insurance company claims it has no duty to pay for damages arising from or provide a defense in the Robbins v. Lower Merion case. 

According to an Associated Press report, the insurers, Graphic Arts Mutual Insurance Company says the school's insurance policy just does not cover alleged spying. In their Complaint for Declaratory Judgment filed April 16, Graphic Arts asks the U.S. District Court to declare that they have no responsibility under their policy with the school district to pay for either the legal defense or the monetary damages stemming from the actions of the district which allegedly caused the suit.

The policy, at least as quoted by the Company, provides some good and bad news for the school district. The good news: the policy does cover bodily injury, property damage and personal injury. Here, personal injury includes "injury including mental anguish ... arising out of ... oral or written publication of material that violates a person's right of privacy." Now the bad news: according to the Company, the policy does not cover acts "caused by or at the direction of the insured with the knowledge the act would violate the rights of another and would inflict 'personal injury...'" This is likely going to engender a small fight over "what did the district know and when did they know it."

The upshot? Now Lower Merion must cope with their legal opponents and with their own insurance company. Just another day at the office.

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