Category: Family Law

Second Circuit Rules That Hartford Archdiocese is Entitled to Insurance Coverage for Prior Sexual Abuse by its Priests

Case Name: Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. v. Interstate Fire & Cas. Co. – Second Circuit

Date of Opinion: September 19, 2018

Opinion by: Judge Jacobs

Summary:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford (“Archdiocese”) purchased excess indemnity insurance policies from Interstate Fire & Casualty Company (“Interstate”) for the period between September 1, 1978 and September 1, 1985. The Archdiocese later sought reimbursement from Interstate for damages that it had to pay in a settlement agreement with four claimants seeking compensation for sexual abuse inflicted by priests in the Diocese. Interstate refused to pay on grounds that the priests’ molestation was not covered by the policy, because the policy had an exclusion for “assault and battery committed by or at the direction of such assured.” Interstate argued that the priests were among the assured, and so the policy did not cover their molestation (a form of assault and battery).

The Archdiocese ultimately sued in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleging that Interstate had breached its contract, breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violated the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The District Court ruled for the Archdiocese on the breach of contract claim, but for Interstate on the other claims. Both sides appealed.

The Second Circuit affirmed in full. As to the breach of contract claim, the court found that the “assault and battery” exclusion was inapplicable here, because it only applied to an assured “acting within the scope of his duties,” and the assailant priests (even if they could be considered assureds) were not acting within the scope of their duties. Similarly, the wording excluded coverage only to those assured who actually committed or directed the assault, and did not exclude coverage to the other assureds (such as the Archdiocese). Continue reading

Second Circuit Rules that the Temporary Physical Separation of a Minor Child Held in Pretrial Juvenile Detention Does Not Strip Parent of “Physical Custody” for Purposes of Determining Child’s Derivative Citizenship

Case Name: Khalid v. Sessions – Second Circuit

Date of Opinion: September 13, 2018

Opinion By: Judge Droney

Concurrence By: Judge Jacobs (joined by Judge Hall)

Summary:

Mohammed Hassan Aizan Khalid was a 17-year-old legal permanent resident living with his parents in the United States when he was arrested and then detained on terrorism-related charges. Khalid had been using the internet for several years to attempt to assist extremists in the United States and abroad, including by translating jihadist videos from Urdu into English and then posting the videos online.

During Khalid’s juvenile pretrial detention but prior to his conviction (and prior to his eighteenth birthday), his father became a U.S. citizen. Khalid later pleaded guilty to the charges and then extensively cooperated with the federal government. Because of his cooperation, he was sentenced to a reduced term of five years’ imprisonment. After Khalid served his sentence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated removal proceedings against him based upon his conviction. Khalid moved to dismiss the proceedings on the ground that he had acquired citizenship through his father.

The Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals concluded that Khalid was not in the actual custody of his father between the time the father obtained U.S. citizenship and Khalid’s eighteenth birthday, and that Khalid was therefore not a citizen. The Second Circuit, however, vacated the BIA’s decision. Continue reading