HUNTINGTON – Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company is asking a federal court judge to declare that it is not responsible for the actions of two of West Tenampa’s employees who allegedly sexually harassed a female co-worker.
Lupe Jose Valencia, Artemio Perez and Amanda Maynus were also named as defendants in the suit.
On Sept. 13, 2016, a complaint was filed by Maynus against the other defendants for alleged discrimination in Kanawha Circuit Court, according to a complaint filed Aug. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. It was later transferred to Cabell Circuit Court.
West Tenampa has an insurance policy with Erie and, under that policy, neither Valencia or Perez qualify as insureds for the claims asserted in Maynus’ lawsuit.
In the summer of 2015, Maynus, a full-time college student studying at Marshall University and majoring in Spanish, studied in Spain in order to enhance her command of Spanish and, when she returned, she applied to work at West Tenampa in order to more fully develop her Spanish skills and obtain the necessary funds to pay for her college education.
In her lawsuit, Maynus claimed Valencia made inappropriate comments about her and his inappropriate behavior heightened, becoming physical—which was unwelcome, embarrassing and frightful to her and she resisted the behavior.
Maynus also claimed Perez said derogatory things to her and, at one point, grabbed her butt and came on to her.
The defendants’ actions in Maynus’ suit constituted sex discrimination and race discrimination, which violates the West Virginia Human rights Act.
Erie claims because Valencia and Perez do not qualify as insureds under its policy for claims asserted in Maynus’ lawsuit, there is no coverage under the Erie policy for their actions.
The allegations contained in Maynus’ complaint do not constitute an occurrence as defined by the Erie policy so as to trigger coverage for bodily injury or property damage liability, according to Erie’s suit.
Erie is seeking for the court to declare that Valencia and Perez are not insureds as defined by the policy and that the claims asserted against them in Maynus’ policy are not covered. It is being represented by Matthew J. Perry of Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-cv-03882