The insurance will not cover a federal claim if the city loses News, sports, jobs

The city of Williamsport cannot rely on its current insurance to defend a federal lawsuit filed by a recently retired police officer who claims that revenge is the reason he is being ignored for a raise.

U.S. Central Judge Matthew W. Bran said in a ruling that “Switching insurance providers can be difficult.” on the insurance coverage of the case by former Lieutenant Stephen Helm, according to PennLive.

In court documents, Bran said individual insurance policies – drawn up and contracted with different providers – may not necessarily be aligned, creating coverage gaps that could leave even the most well-meaning policyholders fully exposed, the judge said.

The city changed providers for its civil liability insurance in January 2019. It was then sued in 2021 by Helm, who sought revenge based on previous lawsuits he had filed against the city in 2017 and 2018.

Accordingly, the employee filed the previous lawsuits during the coverage period of the former insurer in the city, State National Insurance Company Inc.

He filed a lawsuit for 2021 during the coverage period of the city’s current insurer, The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co. However, the current insurer refuses to cover claims in any way actually related to previous cases brought outside the coverage period.

The former insurer does not follow the same practice and, which is critical here, waives any obligation to defend or indemnify the city for any future claims arising from pending or previous litigation.

Read together, Charter Oak and State National insurance policies are leaving town “No luck: Despite maintaining non-stop liability insurance, the city has no cover for the officer’s suit for 2021.” Bran wrote.

Bran dismissed the city’s request for a pleading and upheld the cross-claim of Charter Oak and State National, seeking the same for the following reasons: On April 15, 2021, Helm sued Williamsport and its current and former mayors, Derek Slaughter and Gabriel Campana. of his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

According to Helm, between December 2018 and December 2020, he was repeatedly denied promotion to the police department due to previous lawsuits he had filed against the city.

In particular, Helm sued Williamsport and his police chief in April 2017 for violating his rights to freedom of association under the First Amendment, alleging revenge for his activities as president of the Police Union.

Helm then filed a second action for one point in November 2018, bringing the same action on the basis of similar conduct.

In the end, Helm and Williamsport settled these cases through a settlement agreement.

But by filing these cases, Helm claims, he became a marked man.

After the city police chief announced his retirement in the fall of 2018, then-mayor Campana refused to promote Helm to that position, Helm said. Campana has since repeatedly rejected efforts to appoint Helm as assistant chief.

After Slaughter became mayor in January 2020, he followed suit, refusing to promote Helm to assistant chief or captain of the patrol division.

According to Helm, current and former police officers believe so “obviously” that Helm was to be appointed chief in December 2018 and that he “He was the most qualified man for assistant chief and captain of a patrol unit.”

Helm is seeking more than $ 50,000 in damages.

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