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This program was recorded on November 8, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals who become embroiled in complex civil litigation annually can get the most from liability insurers and their lawyers by understanding and acting upon the three things that liability insurers fear more than bad faith exposure. This advanced course will explain the fundamentals of conflicts of interest that complicate a liability insurer’s duty to defend its policyholder in all 50 jurisdictions and will provide useful practice pointers to guide lawyers for policyholders and plaintiffs to answer this question: When a policyholder cries “Help!” and the insurer responds “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe”, how can the policyholder and the plaintiff achieve their goals by motivating wayward insurers and their lawyers to fund prompt and equitable settlements at no cost to the policyholder?
Principal fields of study include: duty to defend, conflicts of interest, reservations of rights, Cumis counsel, lawyers’ ethical obligations, reasonableness of attorney fees, insurer reimbursement claims, good faith reliance on counsel, insurer good or bad faith, insurance coverage in construction defect, professional liability, personal injury, many business and personal torts, products liability, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, libel, slander, wrongful eviction, invasion of privacy, discrimination, sexual harassment, and pollution claims. Represented insurance companies or policyholders in coverage disputes. Defended policyholders for insurers in a wide variety of liability suits.
3 General Credits
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- Fundamentals of Liability Insurance, the Duty to Defend, and Bad Faith Law.
- Liability Insurers’ Fears: 1) The Unknown; 2) Making Bad Law; 3) and Regulation.
- Analytical Matrix: TABGAP3.4 – Timing, Applicable Law, Burdens, Goals, Alliances, Power, Three Tussles, and Four Fears.
- Power of the Policyholder and the Plaintiff: 1) Beneficiary of Fiduciary Duties; 2) Witnesses; 3) Develop Admissible Evidence; 4) Frame Legal Issues; 5) Enforce Regulations; 6) Push-Back; and 7) Progressive Pleading.
- Practice Pointers:
- The Weakness of Bad Faith Exposure: 1) Corporate Bad Faith[?]; 2) Specialized Bad Faith Defense Lawyers; 3) Refusal to Pay Tort Damages in Settlement; 4) Profit in Delay; 5) Naive Policyholder Settlements; and 6) Inadequate Coverage Retainer Agreements.
- Hypothetical #1: Notified of a bodily injury claim, an automobile liability insurer agrees to defend and indemnify its policyholder, but policy limits may be insufficient to satisfy an adverse judgment and the insurer refuses to settle promptly. (“Yes”)
- Hypothetical #2: Notified of claims by a policyholder’s employee, an Employment Practices Liability insurer denies all coverage, refusing to defend or indemnify its policyholder. (“No”)
- Hypothetical #3: Notified of construction defect claims against its policyholder, a business liability insurer agrees to defend it policyholder under a reservation of rights to later deny coverage, appoints dependent counsel to represent the policyholder and the insurer, but refuses to pay for independent counsel, and delays settlement. (“Maybe”)