Was GEICO was forced to pay over $5 million to a woman because she contracted an STD in the vehicle?
No – despite the alarm-raising clickbait headlines from various media outlets, GEICO was not forced to pay the $5 million award (not yet anyway). Furthermore, this was not a jury verdict. Like so many other stories pushed by “tort reform” alarmists, 1) there is more to the story, and 2) the premise of the headlines is not true.
Below, we will take a look at the GEICO $5 million award case in Missouri, including:
On June 7, 2022, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, decided M.O. v. Geico. M.O. does not stand for Missouri, by the way – it is the initials of the Plaintiff’s name, redacted for privacy concerns due to the nature of the case.
M.O. (the plaintiff) claimed that Insured (GEICO’s customer) negligently infected her with HPV (human papillomavirus). The case went to arbitration, GEICO refused to defend against the claim, the arbitrator found that Insured (the defendant accused of transmitting the virus, not GEICO) was liable for negligently transmitting the STD, and the arbitrator awarded the plaintiff $5.2 million in damages:
Insured and M.O. entered into an agreement pursuant to section 537.065, RSMo,1 and agreed