An insurance company doesn’t want to pay damages in Emilie Olsen’s death so it’s suing the family of one of Olsen’s classmates accused of bullying the 13-year-old into suicide.
Allstate is asking a Butler County judge for a declaratory judgment that would take it off the hook if Olsen’s family wins its civil lawsuit against more than three dozen students, teachers and staff, including the former Fairfield City Schools superintendent and middle school principal.
Eight unnamed minor classmates at Fairfield Middle School are being sued by the Olsens, and one of their families has $100,000 family liability protection with Allstate, the company said in a court filing. Because the student is cited in five counts of the lawsuit, Allstate is presumably worried that it could be on the hook for $500,000.
In its court filing, Allstate argues that its liability policy specifically “excludes coverage for bodily injury or property damage intended by, or which may be reasonably expected to result from the intentional or criminal acts or omissions of any insured person.”
In Allstate’s filing, the insurer says the Olsens’ lawsuit accuses the unnamed girl of engaging in a pattern of bullying, harassing, assaulting, battering and discriminating against Emilie. It says the girl contributed to Emilie’s death and intended to cause Emilie and her family emotional distress and mental anguish.
Allstate is asking the court to rule that the company is not required to defend the girl or indemnify her or anyone else from any claims arising from Emilie’s death.
Last week, the Journal-News reported that the actions of Fairfield Schools personnel, alleged in the lawsuit to be connected with Emilie’s suicide, are being reviewed by the Ohio Department of Education.
Officials at the state department’s Office of Professional Conduct said Dec. 12 they were “made aware of the situation and is already in the process of reviewing the matter. We cannot provide anything further at this time,” said department spokeswoman Brittany Halpin.
According to the website for the Office of Professional Conduct, officials there investigate “allegations involving criminal convictions or conduct unbecoming the teaching profession.”
If the office decides there was misconduct involving a teacher or school official, that educator could lose his or her license and employment.
In their multi-count claim against the Fairfield district, the Olsens allege a failure at every level — from teachers to guidance counselors, assistant principals, principals and the district superintendent — to provide a safe learning environment for their daughter.
Fairfield Schools officials have declined to comment, saying they do not make statements on pending litigation.