Disgraced former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, while awaiting sentencing after his criminal defense failed to convince a jury, has a lot more to worry about. Apart from the flood of civil lawsuits that will be filed by Sandusky's victims, there is another sideshow trial in progress that was filed by Sandusky's insurers.
The State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., which holds Sandusky's homeowner's policy, filed suit in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania against Jerry and Dottie Sandusky. They want the judge to allow them to refuse coverage for the criminal defense case and claims related to Sandusky's "intentional" abuse of victims.
The insurer had to provide coverage as long as the charges were alleged, and not proven to be intentional. A homeowners' policy covers negligent acts by the insured, but not intentional injury claims. Since Sandusky has now been convicted by the court, the insurer has a right to reuse related claims.
Jerry Sandusky was arrested in 2011 and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over the last decade and a half. Sandusky was ultimately found guilty by a jury in June 2012 on 45 counts. Another lawsuit filed last year by Ohio-resident Travis Weaver accuses Sandusky of abusing him in the 90s. Two others have filed notice of an intent to sue, and four more have legal representation looking into the matter.
The court documents filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. in their lawsuit against Sandusky state they are defending Sandusky in the case filed by Travis Weaver, but state that they do not have an obligation to do so. If the insurer directly refused to provide coverage without court approval, they would open themselves up to damage claims for breach of contract.
Jerry Sandusky has not yet responded to his insurer's lawsuit, but his defense in this case is likely to be a mental disorder wherein he had no control over his own actions.