ProSelect Insurance Co. v. Levy

Plaintiff ProSelect Insurance Company filed this declaratory relief action to determine its duty to indemnify its insured in a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice and sexual assault. The trial court construed a policy exclusion to bar coverage and entered judgment in favor of ProSelect. Plaintiff Robyn Levy appealed that judgment, asserting that: (1) the malpractice claims are covered under the concurrent causation doctrine; and (2) the policy exclusion as interpreted by the trial court contravenes public policy. Plaintiff alleged she began psychiatric counseling with Defendant's insured, Dr. Peter McKenna from 2003-2005. In that time, Plaintiff alleged Dr. McKenna negligently failed to properly diagnose her psychological disorder, prescribed harmful medications, encouraged her to pursue "unhealthy lifestyle choices," failed to refer her to a community-based mental health program, and engaged in treatment "at variance with accepted professional protocols." In a separate count, Levy alleged that, "[i]n the course of . . . treatment," Dr. McKenna had committed sexual assault and battery. ProSelect filed suit seeking a declaration that its professional liability policy excluded coverage of Plaintiff's suit. The trial court reasoned that the underlying action was indisputably a "suit" that contains an allegation of sexual assault. Therefore, by its plain terms the policy barred coverage of the complaint in its entirety, "[e]ven assuming" that the medical malpractice count was—as Plaintiff claimed—"totally unrelated" to the sexual assault and therefore otherwise covered. The trial court thus granted ProSelect’s motion and entered judgment in its favor. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that Plaintiff's malpractice and assault claims could not be viewed as separate or independent causes, and coverage can not be grounded on the "concurrent causation doctrine." Furthermore, without a basis in the concurrent causation doctrine, there was no violation of public policy Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. View "ProSelect Insurance Co. v. Levy" on Justia Law