The insurance giant GEICO is facing a rather unusual claim, and one that could see it required to pay a Missouri woman $5.2 million after she said she contracted a sexually transmitted disease while having sex in the car of a man insured by the company.
The Associated Press revealed that earlier this week, a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Jackson County Court’s decision that affirmed an arbitrator’s finding that the woman was entitled to the award.
In response, GEICO has filed a federal lawsuit on the grounds that the woman’s claim is not covered by the man’s insurance policy. The Associated Press noted that in an email sent on Thursday, the company said the lawsuit will establish whether “there is coverage in this matter.”
According to court documents, the woman (identified only as M.O.) and the man were in a relationship when they had sex in the man’s car. She claims that she contracted HPV (human papillomavirus) as a result of the sexual activity because the man did not tell her he had the disease. In February 2021, M.O. notified GEICO that she planned to seek a $1 million insurance settlement against the man and argued that his auto insurance provided coverage for her injuries and losses.
The Associated Press noted that court documents reveal that GEICO refused the settlement under the grounds that the woman’s claim did not happen due to normal use of the vehicle. An arbitrator later determined she should be awarded $5.2 million for damages and her injuries. M.O. then filed a motion in Jackson County Court, looking to confirm the award.
The court documents also reveal that GEICO claimed it did not know the man and woman had entered into arbitration and that the insurer sought to intervene in the court case when it found out. The company argued that the arbitration award was reached through collusion and fraud, violated its rights to due process and was unenforceable.
The Associated Press revealed that the court documents show that the lower court rejected GEICO’s requests and confirmed the award, prompting the insurance company to appeal because it said it did not have a “meaningful opportunity” to defend its interests. Meanwhile, the appeals court found that GEICO did not have the right to “re-litigate” the issues after the award had been affirmed.