NU Online News Service, May 19, 12:08 p.m.EDT

|

A defense firm that lost a court bid to have St. Paul defend itagainst suits by former Iraqi prisoners alleging its employeestortured them would not comment yesterday on whether it wouldchallenge that decision.

|

"We are still considering our legal options, therefore we don'thave a comment at this point in time," said an e-mailed statementfrom CACI International spokesperson Jody Brown.

|

The ruling against the company came on a 2-1 decision by athree-judge panel.

|

CACI had sought coverage under a $2 million commercial generalliability protection policy issued by St. Paul Fire and MarineInsurance Company.

|

Last Thursday the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appealsin Richmond, Va., found that the events in question at Abu Ghraiband other prisons in Iraq did not involve events that happened inthe coverage territory.

|

A spokesperson for St. Paul would not comment on the case,maintaining the firm does not discuss policyholder information.

|

Two suits against Arlington, Va.-based CACI have been filed byIraqi detainees and their survivors. The first suit accused CACI ofinvolvement in a "torture conspiracy" to profit by extractingintelligence through torture including stripping them, threateningthem with dogs, kicking them and forcing them to watch torture offamily members.

|

The second suit made similar allegations, according to thedecision.

|

Language in the St. Paul policy related to damages for coveredpersonal injury limited the "coverage territory" to the UnitedStates, its territories and possessions, Canada and PuertoRico.

|

Events in the rest of the world would be covered if theyresulted from activities of a person whose home is in the coverageterritory but who is away from there for a "short time" on companybusiness.

|

CACI had argued the suits accused it of negligent hiring andsupervision, which it said occurred in the United States, but thecourt found the suit "does not allege that the negligentsupervision took place outside Iraq."

|

The court said for purposes of insurance it is where the injuryoccurs, not some "precipitating cause," that determinescoverage.

|

It also rejected the CACI argument that the alleged prisonermistreatment was performed by persons away for a "short time,"finding that this "covers a brief, discrete event such as aseveral-day business trip abroad" and applies only to a singleemployee. The suit, it was noted, alleged a "long-term approach tointerrogation."

|

The decision written by Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III drew adissent from Judge Dennis W. Shedd, who found that an insurer has aduty to defend when there is "any possibility" a judgment will becovered under the policy.

|

He wrote that the allegations in the suits "do not foreclose thepossibility that one or more CACI employees traveled to Iraq for ashort time and caused covered injuries" and the short-timeexception should apply.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All PropertyCasualty360.com news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including BenefitsPRO.com and ThinkAdvisor.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.