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County's insurers must pay ex-Hillsborough commissioner's legal bills, appeals court rules

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 a county insurance policy.

State National Insurance and Star Insurance companies had argued that the expenses shouldn't be covered because White committed a "willful violation." 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 this week by the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a lower court's opinion from October that White's lawyers were entitled to $157,730 for expenses amassed defending him.

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 a 2009 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 influence. He is currently serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in Atlanta.

County's insurers must pay ex-Hillsborough commissioner's legal bills, appeals court rules 07/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:37pm]
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