Tag Archives: bad faith

Washington Federal Court Goes Where None Have Gone Before on Excess Carrier Bad Faith

Late last month, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington faced an issue that appears never to have been addressed in Washington or any other state: Whether a policyholder may pursue a bad faith claim against its excess insurance carrier for refusing to defend when the insured’s primary carrier is insolvent. … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Overrules 40-Year Precedent on Covenant Judgments

Good news for policyholders today from the Oregon Supreme Court: the court overruled the 42-year-old Stubblefield decision, making it much easier for defendants in litigation to protect themselves if their insurance company fails to reach a reasonable settlement with the plaintiff. Today’s decision in Brownstone Homes Condo Ass’n v. Brownstone Forest Heights LLC means that … Continue Reading

Montana Case on Late Notice Calls Into Doubt Technical Coverage Defenses

In a new decision the Montana Supreme Court has confirmed that in order to avoid its coverage obligations based on a technical defense such as late notice, a liability insurer must show that it suffered “prejudice.”  The case is a good illustration of courts’ general skepticism toward “technical” coverage defenses asserted by insurers, but also of how … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Accepts Review of Two Important Insurance Disputes

The Oregon Supreme Court recently accepted for review two cases with potentially lasting implications for insurance coverage disputes in the state. The first case is a mandamus ruling – the court decided to accept for review a trial court’s ruling in Liberty Surplus Insurance v. Seabold Construction on a hot evidence issue important to bad-faith coverage … Continue Reading

Adjuster Read Canceled Policy, Denied Claim, Committed Bad Faith

One assumption that even many commercial-lines policyholders make is to assume that the insurance adjuster that they are dealing with is an “expert” on their insurance coverage (ref. “You’re in good hands…”).  As if anyone needed one more example that that simply is not a safe assumption to make, read in disbelief the case linked … Continue Reading

Washington Federal Court Permits Deposition of Carrier’s Former Coverage Attorney

On October 30, 2013 Judge Martinez of the Western District of Washington permitted the policyholder in a long-running bad faith case to take the deposition of the carrier’s former coverage counsel, Joanne Henry, about the coverage analysis that she performed for the carrier leading to the carrier denying the tender of defense.  This decision relied … Continue Reading

Washington Court Smacks Down Lloyd’s Effort to “Cook the Books”

Subcontractors on construction projects are commonly required to provide “additional insured” liability coverage to the general contractor.  The coverage is available to the extent that the general is liable because of the subcontractor’s negligence – which is the case most of the time.  In Oregon it is rare for a subcontractor’s carrier to actually agree … Continue Reading

Alabama Federal Trial Court Dismisses Bad Faith Claim Over Defense of PRP Letter

One of the issues that we cover closely is environmental coverage litigation, and particularly coverage issues similar to the coverage fights that are taking place about the massive Portland Harbor Superfund Site.  Our firm has been at the forefront of making good law on those coverage issues including the first decision establishing that carriers have … Continue Reading

Letter to Sen. Johnson Supporting SB414 – Small Business Needs Protection Beyond Environmental Claims

Here is the letter that I just sent to Senator Betsy Johnson urging her to support SB414, which has a work session scheduled for today.  In it I describe the experience of my client Anderson Brothers, Inc. with its attempt to get its insurance company to help defend it against an environmental claim, and explain that although … Continue Reading

Governor Signs SB814, amending Oregon’s unique environmental insurance coverage law

The Governor of Oregon has now signed into law far-reaching changes to ORS 465.475 et seq, the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act.  The changes include, most notably, addition of a specific cause of action against an insurer for bad faith denial of coverage, patterned on the Washington Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA).  Although constitutional challenges … Continue Reading

Washington and Now Idaho Limit Attorney-Client Privilege in Bad Faith Cases

My former colleagues at Bullivant Houser Bailey have done a nice job of summarizing two recent decisions, one from Washington and one from Idaho, limiting the application of the attorney-client privilege where outside coverage counsel participates in a fact investigation for coverage purposes.  Both decisions (Idaho’s Stewart Title v. Credit Suisse in federal court, Washington’s Cedell … Continue Reading

Oregon Senate Committee Makes “Do Pass” Recommendation for Insurance UTPA Bill

Reports of the demise of HB 3160, which would remove the exemption of insurance from claims under Oregon’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA), may have been wrong.  The Oregon Senate Consumer and Small Business Committee has made a “do pass” recommendation on the bill.  However, the measure has been referred to the Rules committee.  As … Continue Reading