Appeals Court: Insurer must pay legal tab from former Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White's 2009 sexual harassment trial
A second federal court has ruled that legal expenses incurred by former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White from his sexual harassment suit are covered by an insurance policy held by the county.
State National Insurance and Star Insurance companies had argued that the expenses shouldn’t be covered because White committed a “willful violation” of statute. They further contended that White’s claim should be treated separately from a claim by the county for reimbursement of its legal expenses in the case, triggering a separate $350,000 deductible.
The unanimous ruling from the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s opinion from October that White’s lawyers were entitled to $157,730 for expenses amassed defending White.
Alyssa Ogden, a former aide to White, claimed he fired her in 2007 for refusing his repeated sexual advances. A jury agreed, awarding her $75,000 in 2009 in a case that cost the county nearly $500,000 in damages and legal expenses.
White lost a reelection bid in 2010. A federal jury subsequently found him guilty of accepting bribes from tow truck drivers seeking his favor. He is currently serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in Atlanta.