The homeowners policy did not cover the insured after he was sued for planting a hidden camera in the bathroom of his neighbors. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Rodriguez, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22161 (D. Haw. Feb. 5, 2021).
The insured’s neighbors brought suit alleging that the insured secretly installed a hidden miniature camera in their bathroom. The discovery of the camera shocked and outraged the neighbors and their girls, aware that someone had snuck into their home and placed a hidden camera in their upstairs bathroom. The underlying action alleged that the insured was arrested and had pleaded no contest to criminal charges. A SIM card from the camera revealed several pictures of the neighbors and their girls in the bathroom and a few pictures of the insured who appeared to be adjusting the camera as it was installed. The neighbors sued the insured.
The insured tendered to State Farm under his homeowners and umbrella policies. Coverage was denied and State Farm filed suit for a declaratory judgment that it had no duty to defend or indemnify.
The court found there was no occurrence under the homeowners policy. The underlying action alleged no “accident.” Under Hawaii law, an occurrence could not be the expected or reasonable foreseeable result of the insured’s own intentional acts or omissions. The underlying complaint described entirely intentional acts by the insured by placing a hidden camera without permission of the neighbors. Nor did the underling action alleged an bodily injury. The policy stated that bodily injury did not include “emotional distress, mental anguish . . . or any similar injury . . .” Even if the underlying complaint did allege a bodily injury, the injury would still be excluded as “either expected or intended by the insured” or “the result of wilful and malicious acts of the insured.”
Nor was coverage owed under the umbrella policy. Again, there was no accident because the insured’s acts were entirely intentional or knowing.