We recently obtained a victory for one of our clients, a developer on the Oregon Coast, in a duty to defend fight with a very aggressive and creative opponent, Catlin Specialty Insurance Company. Magistrate Judge Coffin’s findings and recommendations, adopted by Judge Aiken, relied on the Oregon Supreme Court’s Bresee decision to find a duty to defend where the allegations in the underlying case were unclear about whether the property damage fell into a policy exclusion. This is a difficult case because according to the insurance company the policy has both an “owned property” exclusion and a “products-completed operations” exclusion, meaning (according to the insurance company) that the policy excluded all damage to the condo units before they were sold to customers, and after they were sold to customers – meaning that nothing would be covered! The case is ongoing, but it was gratifying to have a federal judge (again) recognize the Bresee decision’s impact on this area of coverage law.
*Disclaimer: success in this case, or any other case, does not guarantee success in any other case.