BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– An insurance company for the Diocese of Buffalo in the 1970s says it should not be held liable for any Child Victims Act claims.
The Continental Insurance Company filed the lawsuit in Erie County Supreme Court.
It states the policy would have only covered “accidents” not intentional acts of sexual abuse.
“They have taken a strong position – the insurance company – and said that, in effect, the diocese has not complied with their obligations under the contract, or some of these priests they have transferred are responsible for being pedophiles,” explained attorney Michael Taheri. “Those are intentional acts, they are not negligent acts and don’t fall within the scope of any policy.”
The lawsuit could go on for years, however, legal experts say if the judge does eventually rule in favor of the insurance company, it would impact victims who filed claims which happened during the coverage period.
Specifically, the amount of money the diocese has set aside to pay victims would be smaller.
“There is a smaller pool because the insurance company is no longer standing next to the diocese saying ‘we’re defending you and we’re indemnifying you making payments,'” Taheri said.
Legal experts tell News 4 it wouldn’t be surprising to see other insurance companies file similar claims against the diocese in the future.
In a statement, the Buffalo Diocese says it’s hired an attorney to address any disputes with any insurance carriers and it intends to take all necessary steps to enforce insurance contracts.