When you think of GEICO, you probably think of the cute gecko in their TV commercials. Now, however, you might think of something else that may be rather surprising.
A woman, identified only as M.O., sued GEICO after she contracted an STD while having sex in a vehicle that GEICO covered. She admitted that she had unprotected sex with a man, identified only as M.B., in his 2014 Hyundai Genesis, reports NPR. The man was her boyfriend. She claimed that the man didn’t tell her he had the disease, identified as human papillomavirus, or HPV, even though he’d had a throat cancer tumor that was confirmed to be positive for HPV.
GEICO denied the claim on the grounds that the “damages claimed did not arise out of the normal use of the vehicle.”
M.O. and M.B. agreed to submit the claim for arbitration. The arbitrator awarded M.O. the sum of $5.2 million saying it “would fairly and justly compensate” her. M.O. then went to Circuit Court in Jackson County, Missouri to have her arbitration award enforced, which the Court did. GEICO appealed.
Governor Mike Huckabee had a great take on the case. He tweeted: “Unless her boyfriend was the little lizard from Geico, this is THE dumbest court decision EVER! What’s next, sue Marriott if you get an STD while having sex in one of their hotels?”
In its appeal, GEICO argued that it hadn’t been given a meaningful opportunity to defend its interests. GEICO lost that, too. The Court of Appeals found, among other things, that GEICO did have the opportunity to defend itself and that it did not have the right to relitigate the findings of the arbitrator that were confirmed by the trial court.
There is now a case pending in Federal Court, after GEICO filed suit against both M.O. and M.B. That case is set for trial in October.
While few people like insurance companies, this award really does seem over the top. For that matter, so is the woman’s case. She’s either the smartest woman in the world, or the dumbest. Do you think GEICO should have to pay that award?