(CMR) Insurance giant GEICO has been ordered to pay a woman $5.2 million after she claimed she caught HPV while having sex in her boyfriend's Hyundai sedan insured by the company.
The Missouri Court of Appeals sided with the woman in the case that centers on the unique auto injury claim.
According to reports, the woman, identified in court papers as M.O., said a man, identified as M.B., infected her with human papillomavirus, or HPV when they had unprotected sex in his 2014 Hyundai Genesis in 2017.
The woman claimed the man was negligent and didn't tell her about his having a throat cancer tumor that was confirmed to be positive for HPV.
GEICO had responded to the woman's claim stating that its auto insurance coverage didn't apply because the “damages claimed did not arise out of the normal use of the vehicle.”
The two signed an arbitration agreement in March of 2021, agreeing to settle their dispute. Two months later, an arbitrator awarded M.O. $5.2 million, saying the sum “would fairly and justly compensate” her.
M.O. went to the circuit court in Jackson County, Mo., to enforce the arbitration ruling, and won her case, but GEICO then appealed to the higher state court.
GEICO said it was not given a chance to defend itself, violating its constitutional rights to due process and access to the courts. But in its ruling this week, two judges in the Missouri Court of Appeals' said GEICO had numerous chances to act on its behalf as the claim was submitted more than a year ago.
In April of 2021, GEICO sued both M.O. and M.B. in federal court, asking the court to rule that the insurance company isn't liable for the woman being infected with HPV and that it doesn't have a duty to defend the man from her claims against him.
GEICO wants the car owner's claimsto be dismissed because of “fraud, collusion, illegality, laches, and unclean hands.” The federal case is set for a jury trial in a Kansas City courtroom in October.