Home > News > Firm Wins Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of a National Carrier Client!


Firm Partners Chris Maile and Stacey Miller recently won a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of a Firm national carrier client!

The case in question involved a claim for contribution from another carrier for a $3 Million Dollar Judgment rendered in an underlying civil litigation. Plaintiff carrier alleged that the Firm's client was obligated to contribute to the Judgment and the defense of a mutual insured. [The client carrier had issued a homeowners' policy to the insured and the Plaintiff carrier had extended a defense and indemnification to the insured as an employee of the Plaintiff carrier's primary insured.]

The mutual insured, with the approval of the Plaintiff carrier, stipulated to Binding Arbitration without a cap on damages and stipulated to liability. All of this occurred prior to the Plaintiff carrier providing notice of the claim to the Firm's client.

After investigation and discovery, Firm Litigators Chris Maile and Stacey Miller filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that there was no coverage for the claim under the "business pursuits and professional services" exclusions contained in the homeowners' policy issued by its client. In addition, they noted that equity did not favor the Plaintiff carrier as it had failed to provide notice to the Firm's client until after significant defense strategies had been decided - thereby leaving the client with no avenue to protect its interests at the time of notice.

The Trial Court agreed and found that the "business pursuits" exclusion contained in the homeowners' policy of insurance excluded coverage for the loss. Further, the Trial Court noted that the actions of the Plaintiff carrier and its late notice to the client prejudiced the Firm's client from participating in the underlying litigation.

The area of coverage litigation can be fraught with complicated analysis of both the insurance policy and the law applicable to its interpretation. An error or delay by a carrier can lead to liability for policy proceeds, interest, and possibly bad faith. Mr. Maile and Ms. Miller have counseled and represented numerous carriers on all aspects of coverage and coverage litigation, including coverage opinions, contribution actions, breach of contract claims, and bad faith. This representation has been in both State and Federal Court as well as in Binding Arbitration.

If you would like to discuss what Tharpe & Howell can do to assist you in your insurance matter, please contact Mr. Maile at (818) 205-9955.

Related Attorney(s):
Christopher S. Maile
Stacey A. Miller

Related Practice Area(s):
Bad Faith and Coverage

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