United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, an Illinois Corporation, Plaintiff,
BARBARA PIKE, and JANE DOE, by and through her next friend, KIM PIKE, Defendants.
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON PLAINTIFF'S MOETION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOCKET NO. 31)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE.
Pike (“Pike”) sexually abused his granddaughter,
Jane Doe. Subsequently, Jane Doe brought a claim against her
grandmother and Pike's wife, Barbara Pike
(“Barbara”) for negligently allowing Pike to
abuse her. Barbara sought defense and indemnity from her
insurer, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State
Farm now seeks declaratory judgment that the policies do not
provide coverage for abuse that occurred while the policies
were not in effect and regardless of the number of incidents
of abuse that occurred while the policies were in effect,
only one “occurrence” or “loss”
occurred under the meaning of the policies. Further, State
Farm moves for summary judgment on Jane Doe's
counterclaim that State Farm breached its duty to make a
settlement offer where liability is reasonably clear.
reasons stated below, State Farm's motion (Docket No. 31)
Court's review of the record is in the light most
favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.
Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp.,
217 F.3d 46, 50 (1st Cir. 2000).
Doe is a minor female resident of Massachusetts who was
sexually abused by her grandfather, Pike. Jane Doe previously
sued Pike and judgment was entered against him in the amount
of $5, 000, 000. See Doe v. Pike, 15-CV-40057-TSH.
Barbara, Pike's wife and Jane Doe's maternal
grandmother, occasionally cared for Jane Doe while her
mother, Kim Pike (“Kim”), was at work. Although
Kim requested that Barbara supervise Doe, Pike would
accompany Barbara to Jane Doe's home.
sexually abused Jane Doe at her home. Jane Doe further
alleges that abuse occurred at her homes in Upton and
Centerville, Massachusetts, and Pike and Barbara's condo
in Laconia, New Hampshire. Pike made Jane Doe do headstands
and, while Jane Doe was upside down, put his mouth on her
vulva. Pike admits that he performed oral sex on Doe up to
six times. On one occasion in 2010, Pike kissed Doe and
inserted his tongue into her mouth. Pike also made Jane Doe
play the “penny game” where Pike would hide a
penny in the foreskin of his penis and make Jane Doe find it.
Jane Doe suffered significant and enduring emotional distress
as a result of the abuse. She lost her motivation to attend
school and her desire to socialize. The emotional distress
also had physical manifestations and symptoms such as stomach
pain, headaches, and nightmares.
the abuse occurred while Barbara was supposed to be
supervising Jane Doe but was instead napping, reading
outside, or otherwise occupied. According to Jane Doe,
Barbara was also present during some of the abuse. For
instance, Doe described one incident when she was being
molested by Pike under a blanket and Barbara walked in and
made eye contact with her. Barbara, however, alleges that she
first learned about the abuse when her son Scott called her
in 2014. Barbara also observed Pike playing the “turn
on the radio” game with his grandchildren, where Pike
would twist their nipples. Jane Doe alleges Barbara watched
Pike play this game with her. Barbara testified, however,
that she did not specifically recall Pike playing the game
with Jane Doe and that she thought the game was simply
innocent horseplay. Barbara was also aware of the 1998
allegations against Pike of sexual abuse of another
the abuse began, Jane Doe attempted to avoid Barbara and Pike
when they were at her home. She locked herself in her room
and put duck-tape on the door. Jane Doe befriended neighbors
so she could leave the home while Barbara and Pike were
there. According to Jane Doe, Barbara became angry that Jane
Doe avoided her and Pike and pressured Jane Doe to spend more
time with them. Barbara never told Kim that she had left Jane
Doe alone with Pike or informed Kim about the risk that Pike
State Farm Policies
Farm issued three insurance policies that are the subject of
this litigation: A Condominium Unitowners Policy with an
effective date of October 1, 2009, a Homeowners Policy with
an effective date of September 23, 2009, and a Personal
Liability Umbrella Policy with an effective date of October
1, 2009. See Docket No. 32-10, at 3-102.
January 4, 2017, Jane Doe, as a third-party beneficiary under
the Policies, sent a demand to State Farm pursuant to Mass.
Gen. Laws ch. 93A and ch. 176D, demanding that State Farm
make a fair and reasonable settlement offer. On February 28,
2017, State Farm refused to grant relief following receipt of
Jane Doe's demand letter because ...