Malicious Prosecution Claims: Trend Or Anomaly?

 Friday, September 18, 2020

 CLM Magazine

For years, courts have generally viewed the appropriate trigger of coverage for malicious prosecution claims as a binary choice: either the coverage trigger date for the malicious prosecution claim is the date when the wrongful prosecution against the claimant began, or it’s the date when the accused’s innocence is vindicated in a court of law.

Unsatisfied with this dichotomy, policyholders have sometimes argued that all policies in effect from the time the claimant was wrongfully arrested until the date of exoneration are obligated to provide coverage.

Until recently, courts had consistently rejected this approach, finding that the claim takes place at a distinct point in time.

However, in the past year, decisions by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, applying Kentucky law [St. Paul Guardian Ins. Co. v. City of Newport, KY, 19-5948, 2020 WL 1514837 (6th Cir. Mar. 30, 2020], and the Missouri Court of Appeals [Ferguson v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., WD 82090, 2019 WL 6703892 (Mo. Ct. App. Dec. 10, 2019)] have revived what looked to be a dead argument.

Although these two appellate decisions are unpublished, they could mark the beginning of a new trend in this area of coverage law.

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