Result Was The Same Under Massachusetts Or California Law.
In AIG Property Casualty Co. v. William H. Cosby, Jr., No. 17-1505 (1st Cir. June 7, 2018), the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district judge’s decision holding that, under Massachusetts law, AIG Insurance had to a duty to reimburse Bill Cosby for attorney’s fees and costs incurred in defamation suits by several plaintiffs asserting Mr. Cosby had defamed them by publicly denying their sexual molestation accusations. Mr. Cosby tendered the defense under both a homeowners policy and personal excess liability policy. The appeals court found that the sexual misconduct exclusions section was at least ambiguous under Massachusetts law such that there was a duty to defend. The same result likely would occur under California law, based upon a federal district court’s ruling to the same effect. (AIG Prop. Cas. Co. v. Cosby, 2015 WL 9700994, at *3-5 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 13, 2015).)
The First Circuit’s decision was authored by Associate Justice (Ret.) David H. Souter, who used to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court and who was sitting on the First Circuit by designation.