In California, many liability insurance policies contain exclusions for injuries that result from intentional acts. This means that it can be difficult for injured victims to recover compensation when they are injured by the intentional actions of insured parties. In Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company Inc., Case No. S236765, the California Supreme Court recently addressed a case in which the employee of a construction company committed a sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl while he was working on a construction site at a school. The insurance company tried to assert that the exclusion for coverage applied because the act of the employee was intentional, and the company filed a lawsuit against the insurance company.
The Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company secured a contract from the San Bernadino Unified School District to complete a construction project at a middle school. The company hired a man named Darrell Hecht to serve as an assistant superintendent and assigned him to manage the construction project at the middle school. While Hecht was on site at the school, he sexually molested a 13-year-old girl. The girl’s family filed a lawsuit against the Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company alleging that the company negligently hired, supervised and retained Hecht.