Carolina Casualty Insurance v. Nanodetex Corporation, et al, No. 12-2110 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The New Mexico Supreme Court recognized a new tort called "malicious abuse of process," which subsumed causes of action for malicious prosecution and abuse of process. Nanodetex Corporation and two of its principals (the Insureds) were successfully sued for malicious abuse of process. They then sought indemnification from Carolina CasualtyInsurance Company, which covered the Insureds under a management liability policy (the Carolina Policy). Carolina denied the claim, relying on an exclusion in the policy for losses arising from claims for "malicious prosecution." It sought a declaratory judgment that it was not liable for the damages arising from the malicious-abuse-of-process judgment. On Carolina's motion for summary judgment, the district court agreed with Carolina and also rejected the Insureds' counterclaims. The Insureds appealed. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit reversed the declaratory judgment, holding that the term "malicious prosecution" in the exclusion does not encompass all claims of malicious abuse of process, but only claims whose elements are essentially those of the common-law cause of action for malicious prosecution. Because the judgment against the Insureds in the tort case was affirmed on appeal on a claim that was not substantially the same as common-law malicious prosecution, the exclusion in the Carolina Policy did not apply.