The city of Santa Monica is suing multiple insurance companies for allegedly breaching contracts to fully pay defense costs and indemnify the city for millions of dollars in expenses related to lawsuits brought by young victims of sexual abuse by a Police Activities League volunteer who later committed suicide.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought Thursday against the Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, Insurance Co. of the West, Lexington Insurance Co., Axis Surplus Insurance Co., Arch Specialty Insurance Co. and TIG Insurance Co.
A representative for Insurance Co. of the West did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Since the fall of 2018, the city has faced dozens of claims and lawsuits brought by over 100 participants in the PAL alleging that they were sexually abused by the late Eric Uller, the suit states.
Uller killed himself in November 2018 after being charged with molesting four boys.
Each of the insurers had and still has an obligation defend and/or indemnify the city against the Uller lawsuits, but none have fully done so, the suit alleges.
“Left without the defendants’ assistance, the city has been, and continues to be, wrongfully forced to spend over $100 million dollars of its own much needed resources in defending against and resolving claims in the … litigation,” the suit states.
The city is asking a judge to order the insurers to honor their alleged obligations to the city as well as a declaration of the rights, duties and liabilities of the parties with respect to the litigation.
The city also seeks damages and other relief “for the harm caused by the defendants’ breaches of their contractual and other obligations, including punitive damages in an amount to deter similar bad faith behavior by the defendants in the future,” the suit states.