By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Two insurers are seeking a
court order relieving them from paying the legal costs of a
Brooklyn prep school accused in a civil lawsuit of covering up
allegations of child sex abuse.
The lawsuit, unsealed Tuesday, was filed in Brooklyn federal
court against Poly Prep County Day School and current and former
The lawsuit stems out of another lawsuit initially filed in
2009. The plaintiffs include 10 former students and two men who,
while still underage, attended the school's summer camp. They
claimed they had been abused by Philip Foglietta, a football
coach at the school from 1966 to 1991. No criminal charges were
ever brought against Foglietta, who died in 1998.
They said Poly Prep and several former and current
administrators and directors swept reports of Foglietta's abuse
under the rug for years to protect the school's reputation. The
school denied covering up allegations of abuse.
In 2010, Poly Prep sent Travelers Casualty and Surety
Company of America and the Automobile Insurance Company of
Hartford Connecticut -- both units of The Travelers Companies
Inc -- a notice seeking coverage for defense and indemnification
costs under policies allegedly issued to the school between 1966
and the present, according to the insurers' lawsuit.
The insurers disclaimed coverage under the alleged policies
in several letters to Poly Prep and then brought a lawsuit
against the school, former headmaster William Williams, current
headmaster David Harman and former administrator Michael
Novello. It was initially filed under seal on Dec. 6 and was
unsealed on Tuesday.
The insurers said the defendants had not proven that Poly
Prep had taken out insurance policies that would cover liability
stemming from the alleged abuse. Even if they had, the insurers
argued, the notice of claim -- filed a year after the initial
lawsuit -- was late.
The insurers also said that the alleged policies excluded
coverage for "bodily injury" that was "expected or intended."
According to the allegations in the abuse lawsuit, Poly Prep
officials had received complaints about Foglietta as early as
A spokesman for Poly Prep and a lawyer for the insurers
declined to comment. A lawyer for the defendants could not be
reached for comment.
Insurers also tried to disclaim coverage stemming from the
sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant
football coach at Penn State who was convicted of molesting
young boys and sentenced to 30-60 years. The insurers for
Sandusky and Penn State both filed lawsuits seeking to disclaim
coverage in connection with the alleged abuse. The suits are
pending in Pennsylvania state and federal courts.
The case is Travelers Casualty and Surety Insurance Co of
America v. Poly Prep Country Day School, U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of New York, No. 12-6015.
For the plaintiffs: Alan Eagle and Joanne Engeldrum of
For the defendants: John Fried of Fried & Epstein.
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