Court Finds Regional Claims Administrator Qualifies as a “Managing Agent” of an Insurance Company, Justifying an Award of Punitive Damages

Posted in: Auto Insurance, Bad Faith, Breach of Contract, Duty to Settle, Insurance Litigation Blog, Punitive Damages May 29, 2019

When insurance companies, including those offering disability, life, health or accidental death policies, engage in conduct that is sufficiently egregious, a court may award punitive damages against the insurance company.  California Civil Code Section 3294 (“Section 3294”) provides that where the defendant is guilty of oppression, fraud or malice, the plaintiff may recover punitive damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.  If the defendant is a corporation, such as an insurance company, the defendant is liable for punitive damages if the act of oppression, fraud or malice was authorized or ratified by an officer, director or managing agent of the corporation or if the officer, director or managing agent was personally guilty of such …

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Insureds May Still Have a Claim for Insurance Bad Faith Even If Their Insurer Offered to Pay the Policy Limits

Posted in: Bad Faith, Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Settle, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog December 13, 2016

Under California law, an insurer has an obligation to, among other things, make reasonable efforts to settle a third party’s lawsuit against an insured.  As a recent decision rendered by the California Court of Appeals illustrates, “reasonable efforts” entail more than timely offering the policy limit to settle a claim from a third party.  The insurer’s conduct must be reasonable given the circumstances and they must do everything reasonably within their power to effect a settlement.  An insurer’s responsibilities are not necessarily complete when they offer to pay their policy limits or other amounts agreed-upon by the parties. …

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Ninth Circuit Severely Limits Known-Loss Doctrine in Insurance Cases

Posted in: Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Settle, Insurance Litigation Blog, Policy Interpretation July 11, 2015

Have you ever wondered whether the liability policy you purchased covers losses you already knew about before you bought the policy?  How much do you have to know?  What if you knew about certain property damage at a construction project you caused but not about other related damage your policy would otherwise cover?  A recent case from the Ninth Circuit sheds light on these issues, and it is good news for policyholders.…

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Policyholder Wins Handed Down in Insurance Decisions. Daily Journal Publishes McKennon Law Group PC Article.

Posted in: Breach of Contract, Case Updates, Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance News, Duty to Defend, Duty to Settle, ERISA, Insurance Bad Faith, News, Unfair Business Practices/Unfair Competition February 12, 2014

The February 10, 2014 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled:  “Policyholder Wins Handed Down in Insurance Decisions.”  In it, Mr. McKennon discusses six insurance decisions handed down in California and federal courts in 2013 that were favorable to policyholders.…

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Clearing Up Murky Waters: Insurer's Duty to Settle. Daily Journal Publishes McKennon Law Group PC Article.

Posted in: Breach of Contract, Duty to Settle, Insurance Bad Faith October 29, 2013

The October 29, 2013 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled:  “Clearing Up Murky Waters: Insurer’s Duty to Settle.”  In it, Mr. McKennon discusses the  California Court of Appeal’s decision in Reid v. Mercury Insurance Company, 2013 DJDAR 13436 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. Oct. 7, 2013).  The Reid case followed the uncertainty left by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Du v. Allstate Ins. Co., 697 F.3d 753 (9th Cir. 2012).  The Reid case resolved some legal issues relating to whether, in the absence of a settlement demand within policy limits, an insurer owes its insured a duty to settle a claim.  The article is posted below with the permission of the …

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Want to Open Up the Policy Limits on a Policy? Try Making a Section 998 Offer Above Policy Limits and You Just May Be Able to Do It

Posted in: Auto Insurance, Breach of Contract, Duty to Settle, Insurance Bad Faith October 18, 2013

Can a pretrial California Code of Civil Procedure section 998 offer to settle above an insurer’s policy limits result in opening up a policy’s liability limits?  Interestingly, a California Court of Appeal has said “yes” to this question under certain limited circumstances if the offer is reasonable and made in good faith.  In Aguilar v. Gostischef, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 816, 2013 WL 5592976 (Oct. 11, 2013) (“Aguilar”), the California Court of Appeal held that where an injured party rationally believed an insurer may be liable for excess judgment, and the insurer refuses to provide this third-party with the amount of policy limits when requested prior to litigation, a section 998 offer …

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Alas, A Very Hot Issue in California Insurance Law is Decided (At Least for Now): Insurers Have No Affirmative Duty to Settle as Long as They Do Not Foreclose the Possibility of Settlement and/or Absent a Within-Policy-Limits Settlement Demand

Posted in: Auto Insurance, Breach of Contract, Duty to Settle, Insurance Bad Faith October 18, 2013

One of the hottest issues in California insurance law has been whether a breach of the good faith duty to settle can be found in the absence of a within-policy-limits settlement demand, thus giving rise to an insurer’s liability for an excess judgment.…

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