Insurance Coverage Law in Massachusetts

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Williams & Son installed and serviced an oil tank in Shirley Gilbody’s house.  After an oil spill, Bunker Hill Insurance Company, Gilbody’s homeowner’s insurer, paid for full remediation of the property. Bunker Hill then sought reimbursement for the loss twice.  First, it sought reimbursement directly from International Insurance Company of Hannover.  Hannover was Williams’ insurer, and its policy listed Gilbody’s house as an insured location.  Because Gilbody’s house was an insured location, Gilbody was essentially…
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has quoted me in an article about a recent Massachusetts Superior Court case, Crosby Valve, LLC v. OneBeacon America Insurance Co.  The decision is not published on Westlaw, but if you need a copy of it send me an email and I will send it to you.  This case builds on a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision from last year, OneBeacon Ins. Co. v. Celanese Corp., 92 Mass. App. Ct. 382 (2017),…
I wrote here about the case of Shepperson v. Metropolitan Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 2018 WL 2324089 (D. Mass.), in which the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed the innocent coinsured doctrine.  That doctrine applies to property policies that insure more than one person.  If one of them commits an intentional act that causes damage to the insured property, that insured is not covered because damages from intentional acts…
A builder called 689 Charles River, LLC built a single family home in Needham, Massachusetts.  The purchasers of the house sued, alleging “spectacularly shoddy and stunningly substandard design and construction” and “serious latent defects” caused by “improper design, material and/or workmanship” that combined to make the house “unfit for human habitation.”    Charles River sought coverage under a Builders’ Risk policy issued by Zurich, and a declaratory judgment lawsuit followed.  In 689 Charles River, LLC…
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly quoted me in an article about a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case, Oliveira v. Commerce Ins. Co., 94 Mass. App. Ct. 276 (2018), which addressed the meaning of “related by blood” in underinsured motorist coverage.  The injured plaintiff had a child with his partner, and the three of them lived with his partner’s mother and stepfather.  He sought coverage under an auto policy issued to his partner’s mother and stepfather.  The…
I’m in the process of developing presentations for insurance adjusters and in-house attorneys on coverage and bad faith issues.  Let me hear from you — what topics would you like to receive trainings on?  Anything from basic education for new adjusters on how to respond to 93A demand letters to obscure coverage issues. Respond in the comments or send me an email. …
On July 9, 2015, water infiltrated the electrical system of Interstate Gourmet Coffee Roasters, Inc., knocking out all power.  The business was suspended for thirteen days.  During that time Interstate’s employees “redirected their efforts” to restore regular business operations.  Hourly employees were paid their regular rate and overtime pay.  Salaried employees were given additional vacation time to make up for the weekends they worked. Interstate submitted a claim to Phoenix Insurance Company, it’s insurer.  The…
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly quoted me in an article about a recent U.S. District Court case on coverage under a lawyer’s professional liability policy for a claim arising from the breakup of a law firm.  The departing attorneys sued the firm, alleging in part that the firm refused to release client file materials and property to their new firm.  In Governo v. Allied World Ins. Co., __ F. Supp. 3rd __, 2018 WL 4685566 (D.…
Attorney Simon Mann settled a legal malpractice claim brought against him for failure to file a wrongful death claim within the statute of limitations.  As part of his settlement he assigned to plaintiff Kenneth Perreault his rights against AON, the malpractice insurance broker that had sold to him or his firms three consecutive insurance policies.  At issue was whether there was a special relationship between Mann and AON, such that AON had a duty to make certain that Mann had adequate…
Daniel Brown purchased a life insurance policy from SBLI.  Ten years later, the premium on the policy was due to increase by more than ten times.  An SBLI sales agent left Daniel and his wife Michelle a voicemail message pointing out that the premium was going through the roof and that they had options available to keep the coverage going.  He recommended that they purchase a new policy.  Daniel did not pay the increased premium, so his policy…