Calling someone a “douche” may be bad manners but it does not give an insurance company grounds to disavow a policy protecting against defamation claims, a state judge has ruled. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith J. Gische ruled that because calling someone a “douche” or “douche bag” is an opinion, not a statement of provable fact, the Graphic Arts Mutual Insurance Co. must pay the legal costs of public relations firm owner Drew Kerr, who was sued by a rival.

The insurance coverage dispute arose after Kerr, according to an affidavit he submitted, sought to criticize a technique used by a competitor, Ronn Torossian. Mimicking Torossian’s practice of purchasing domain names containing the names of competitors, Kerr purchased the domain “www.ronntorossianpr.” On the site was posted a photo of a package of “Summer’s Eve Douche.” Torossian’s company, 5W Public Relations, according to its Web site, is the 21st largest public relations firm in the nation.

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