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This program was recorded on December 14, 2020
When an injured, third party plaintiff sues a defendant who notifies its liability insurance company, and the insurer issues a reservation of rights, it always creates some conflicts of interest. If the reserving insurer also appoints its dependent counsel to protect the interests of the insurer and to defend the policyholder, dependent counsel must follow what is known as the Cumis Protocol and may be ethically disqualified from representing the policyholder. This course will explain how Rules of Professional Conduct, Rules 1.7 and 1.8.6 require dependent counsel to always investigate potential conflicts of interest created by a reservation of rights, always thoroughly analyze these conflicts, and accurately make written disclosure of the analysis to the insurer and the policyholder. Dependent counsel must withdraw from representation of the policyholder unless the policyholder gives informed written consent or the conflict analysis correctly demonstrates that no ground upon which the insurer has reserved its rights to deny coverage involves any disputed issue of fact or law in common with the third party liability dispute. The course will also explore numerous techniques to require ethically conflicted dependent counsel to obtain the policyholder’s informed written consent or quit, leaving the insurer obliged to promptly and properly pay for independent counsel selected and directed by the policyholder at the insurer’s expense. Known as Cumis Teeth, these techniques may include reporting dependent counsel to the State Bar, moving to recuse or enjoin dependent counsel, and suing for damages.
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.
0.5 General & 1 Ethics Credits
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Rule 1.8 & 1.8.6
Conflict of Interest Protocol
Californias Cumis Test
Develop Admissible Evidence
Report to State Bar