Washington Appellate Court Finds No Conflict of Interest for Law Firms That Represent Insurers and Defend Insurer’s Policyholders

Washington Appellate Court Finds No Conflict of Interest for Law Firms That Represent Insurers and Defend Insurer’s Policyholders

In a matter of first impression in Washington, the Washington Court of Appeals in a published decision, Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf, et al., Washington Court of Appeals Division II, May 3, 2016, held a law firm with an insurer for a client may defend that insurer’s policyholder in an unrelated matter without creating a conflict of interest, or even disclosing that it also regularly represents the insurer in coverage matters. 

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Competitor’s Claims That Broker Engaged in Unfair Business Practices Involve Professional Services and Are Not Precluded by the “Unfair Competition of Any Type” Exclusion

Applying Massachusetts law, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has held that unfair business practices claims brought against an insured insurance broker by a competitor involved professional services within the scope of its professional liability policy and that an exclusion for “unfair competition of any type” did not apply because the allegations did not involve consumer confusion. Utica Mutual Ins. Co. v. Herbert  H. Landy Ins. Agency, 2016 WL 1566644 (1st Cir. April 19, 2016).

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California to Decide Whether Policyholder Attorney Fees Are Included to Calculate Punitive Damages

California to Decide Whether Policyholder Attorney Fees Are Included to Calculate Punitive Damages

The California Supreme Court heard oral argument recently on an issue that is important to insurance policyholders forced to sue their insurers for bad faith and punitive damages: Whether an award of attorney fees should be included as compensatory damages for purposes of calculating the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages.

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