Mar 07, 2008 Robert A. Olson
False imprisonment coverage does not extend to sexual advances

Lyons v. Fire Insurance Exchange (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 880 (California Second District Court of Appeal, Division Two) [published]. A former professional baseball player and sometime network announcer made advances in a hotel hallway to a woman who had been flirting with him. He pulled her aside in order to do so. When she sued, he sought a defense under his homeowner’s policy, claiming that pulling her aside triggered the policy’s false imprisonment coverage.

The Court of Appeal affirmed a summary judgment for the insurer. Representing the insurer on appeal, GMSR successfully argued that the policy’s limitation to accidents governed the false imprisonment coverage and that the insured’s conduct could not have been deemed accidental. The Court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that, so construed, the false imprisonment coverage was illusory.