Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
D.M.A. by Next Friend, TINA PARSLEY-HUGHES, Appellant,
MICHAEL HUNGERFORD, Defendant, and MISSOURI UNITED SCHOOL INSURANCE COUNCIL, Respondent
from the Circuit Court of St. Charles County. Honorable Jon
APPELLANT: Matthew B. Heath, Trial Attorney, LLC, Kansas
RESPONDENT: Daniel E. Sakaguchi, Jonathan R. Shulan, Laurence
R. Tucker, Armstrong, Teasdale, LLP, St. Louis, Missouri.
DEFENDANT: Steven B. Garner, Strong Garner Bauer, PC,
M. Hess, J.
insurance coverage dispute, D.M.A. (Plaintiff) appeals the
Circuit Court of St. Charles County's order and judgment
granting the Missouri United School Insurance Counsel's
(MUSIC) motion for summary judgment and denying
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. In a single
point on appeal, Plaintiff argues that the trial court erred
in granting MUSIC's motion for summary judgment because,
contrary to the trial court's interpretation, the policy
covered sexual misconduct. We affirm.
Hungerford was a special education teacher at the Forsyth
R-III School District (the District). In 2008, he molested
one of his students, D.M.A. (Plaintiff). Hungerford was
convicted of first-degree child molestation and sentenced to
ten years' imprisonment.
brought a civil action against Hungerford, the District and
two administrators. The District had an insurance
policy--" Combined Liability Coverage Agreement"
--through MUSIC. Pursuant to the insurance policy (the
Policy), MUSIC provided a defense to the District, the
administrators, and Hungerford in his official capacity.
However, MUSIC did not defend Hungerford for Plaintiff's
claims against him as an individual. Plaintiff entered into a
settlement agreement with the District and the
administrators. Plaintiff then amended her petition against
Hungerford, pleading a claim for " sexual
misconduct." Hungerford did not answer the petition and
the trial court entered a default judgment against him for
Plaintiff filed a separate action to garnish insurance funds
from MUSIC to satisfy her $10,000,000 default judgment
against Hungerford. Both parties filed motions for summary
judgment. The trial court granted MUSIC's motion. In its
order, the trial court concluded that: 1) Hungerford was not
a " Covered Person" under the policy; 2)
Hungerford's intentional sexual molestation of Plaintiff
was not an " Occurrence" under the policy; 3)
Hungerford's intentional wrongful acts were excluded
under the insurance plan; 4) Missouri precedent excludes
liability coverage for teachers who assault students; and 5)
there was no ambiguity in the insurance policy regarding
whether sexual molestation is covered. Plaintiff appeals.
interpretation of an insurance policy, and the determination
whether coverage and exclusion provisions are ambiguous, are
questions of law that this Court reviews de novo. Seeck
v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., 212 S.W.3d 129, 132 (Mo. banc
2007). This Court also applies a de novo standard of review
to a trial court's grant of summary judgment. Am.
Std. Ins. Co. v. Hargrave, 34 S.W.3d 88, 89 (Mo. banc
2000). " An order of summary judgment may be affirmed
under any theory that is supported by the record."
Burns v. Smith, 303 S.W.3d 505, 509 (Mo. banc 2010)
(citation omitted). We review the record in the light most
favorable to the party against whom summary judgment was
granted. Woodling v. Polk, 473 S.W.3d 233, 235 (Mo.
App. E.D. 2015).
present case, Plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in
granting MUSIC's motion for summary judgment.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that Hungerford is a "
Covered Person" under the Policy; 2) sexual misconduct
is an " Occurrence" under the Policy; 3) the Policy
is ambiguous; 4) the exclusions do not cure the policy of its
ambiguity; and 5) Todd v. Missouri United School Ins.