Between the Lines

A Discussion of Case Law and Statutory Law Affecting Commercial Lines of Insurance

Archive for Duty to Defend Category

Posted In: Duty to Defend, Duty to Settle

Massachusetts Appeals Court Addresses Insurer’s Duty to Appeal and Right to Settle

Holding:  Insurer’s Good Faith Settlement After Filing Notice Of Appeal Is Not A Defense to Policyholder’s Liability For Retrospective Premium.  Under a typical general liability policy the insurer has a…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Massachusetts Appeals Court Confirms the Right of a Liability Insurer Defending Without a Reservation of Rights to Control Defense and Settlement Even Where the Policyholder Disagrees with the Insurer’s Defense Strategy

The Court Also Confirms That Massachusetts Applies A Per Se Rule That A Reservation of Rights Creates A Conflict Entitling A Policyholder To Independent Counsel.  A dispute concerning liability insurance…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

General Liability Insurer Has No Claim Against Workers Compensation Insurer For Defense Of Suit Barred By Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity

  Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee against her employer for a workplace injury.  However, as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge recently concluded, the fact that a…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend, Intentional Conduct

Do Allegations of Intentional Conduct Relieve an Insurer of Its Duty to Defend?

In Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Casey, 2017 WL 1186467 (Mass. App. Ct. 2017), Casey, Williams, and others, teenagers, smoke marijuana and consumed alcohol at a fiesta, then left…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Does an Additional Insured Get Coverage When the Named Insured Has Done Nothing Wrong?

Interpreting the duty to defend broadly, a Massachusetts superior court case addresses when an additional insured is entitled to a defense – a frequently-occurring but always confusing scenario. Much hinged…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

A Chapter 93a Demand Letter Is Not a “Suit” and Therefore Does Not Trigger a Duty to Defend

In 1990, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a demand letter from the EPA to a potentially responsible party (PRP) under CERCLA is the functional equivalent of a suit…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Bill Cosby Scores Victory for Insureds Interpreting “Arising Out Of” Exclusions

AIG unsuccessfully sought to disengage itself from Bill Cosby by seeking a declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify Cosby in three underlying suits. The decision is…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Insurance for “Malicious Prosecution” Doesn’t Cover an “Abuse of Process” Claim

“Love thy neighbor” was obviously not the principle governing the behavior of the Kaplans and the Costellos, neighbors in Hull, Massachusetts. When the Kaplans sued, the Costellos’ counterclaimed alleging an…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Attorneys Fees – How Much Does the Insurer Have to Pay When It Reserves Rights?

When an insurer wrongfully refuses to defend, it largely gives up the right to contest the reasonableness of the insureds’ legal fees. So ruled a federal district court in Wisconsin,…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Does an “Intentional Acts” Exclusion Bar Coverage for a Housing Discrimination Claim?

Surprisingly, the answer is “no,” at least from the Supreme Court of Ohio. When a landlord was sued by an African American woman who claimed she was discriminated against in…

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