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September 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Insurer wants to deny coverage to New Rochelle man accused of sexual assault

An insurance company is asking Westchester Supreme Court to declare that it has no duty to defend or compensate a New Rochelle man accused of sexually assaulting a disabled  neighbor.

IDS Property Casualty Insurance filed the complaint May 15, claiming that the accused man’s home and umbrella policies do not cover injuries caused by him or based on sexual abuse or harassment.

In December, NP, the disabled woman, sued JM, her neighbor, for $10 million, alleging sexual assault, harassment, assault and battery and stalking.

JM did not immediately respond to a telephone message asking for comment on the IDS Property Casualty lawsuit. In January, he filed counterclaims against NP, demanding $10 million for infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium with his wife, and slander and defamation. He claimed in another pleading that any injuries NP suffered were attributable to her own conduct.

The Business Journal is not disclosing their names because the validity of NP’s allegations and JM’s counterclaims have not been adjudicated.

The IDS policies require the company to defend JM in liability cases, by hiring an attorney, investigating and, if appropriate, settling claims.

IDS Property Casualty hired an attorney, but last month the company notified JM that it was disclaiming coverage, because all of the alleged conduct is excluded from coverage.

NP, according to her complaint, is 100 percent disabled. She has been diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer, has had both knees replaced, a hip replacement and a rod implanted in her spine to correct severe scoliosis.

NP moved in the New Rochelle building in 2015, to a unit a few feet away from JM’s apartment. He frequently subjected her to lewd jokes, obscene gestures and sexual propositions, and tried to hug and kiss her, she alleges, as she waited for the elevator or in the parking garage.

Last April, she claims, he grabbed her hand, pressed it against his erect penis and tried to kiss her in the garage. In May, when she exited the elevator on their floor, he allegedly grabbed her and forced two fingers into her vagina.

She called New Rochelle police last June and got a temporary protection order against him. He was arrested and charged with forcible touching and harassment.

NP also accused JM’s wife of verbally harassing her, and the owner of the apartment building and building employees of negligence for allegedly not responding to her complaints about JM.

In January, Seneca Insurance Co., the apartment building’s insurer, filed a lawsuit just like IDS’ compliant. The company asked Westchester Supreme Court to declare that it has no duty to defend or compensate the building owner.