Keith Warzecha v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company

Appellate Court upheld SJ for Insurer who denied a coverage (legal defense and indemnity) for its insured who faced an underlying action which included a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The Appellate Court confirmed the trial courts interpretation of the Policy that they only provided coverage for ‘physical injury’ and does not include ‘mental injuries’ such as ”emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, mental distress, or any similar injury unless it arises out of physical injury to the person claiming mental injury”. 

Court read this language to mean “the plaintiff’s policy must be read as providing coverage only for damages that result form bodily injury. Bodily injuries, including mental injuries that arise out of physical injuries and physical injuries that arise out of mental injuries, are covered under the policy. Mental injuries along, however, will not trigger coverage.” 

As the underlying plaintiff only alleged that the mental illness could cause physical injury, this was insufficient to trigger coverage.