Litigation

08 Aug: Best Practice: When to Stay in an Insurance Coverage Action

BEST PRACTICE: WHEN TO STAY IN AN INSURANCE COVERAGE ACTION I recently came across this helpful article by fellow insurance attorney for policyholders, Erica Villanueva at the fine firm of Farella Braun + Martel LLP here in San Francisco.  Her summary of recent appellate court decisions includes pointers for attorneys in seeking a Motion to Stay an insurance coverage action: “When a liability insurer wishes to avoid all coverage obligations with respect to a claim against its insured, it may seek an adjudication that it has no duty to defend or indemnify the policyholder.  If the insurer files for such declaratory relief while the underlying litigation is still pending, California insureds will frequently move to stay the coverage action, pursuant to Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Superior Court, 6 Cal. 4th 287 (1993) (“Montrose I”).  The purpose of such a Montrose stay is to avoid the risk of prejudice to the insured in…

03 Aug: Using Expert Witnesses in Bad Faith Litigation

I am pleased to announce that I will present in an upcoming Strafford live webinar, “Using Expert Witnesses in Bad Faith and Coverage Litigation: Evidentiary Rules, Expert Opinions, and Objections to Testimony” scheduled for Wednesday, August 30, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm EDT. Expert witnesses play a critical role in coverage and bad faith litigation, both for policyholders and insurers. Insurance experts typically are underwriters, claims handlers, brokers, regulators and attorneys with knowledge of insurance industry customs. Claims adjusters are typically used in bad faith litigation to opine as to the reasonableness of another claims adjuster’s conduct. Underwriters are typically experts in coverage litigation providing an opinion on underwriting specific risks and the interpretation and intent of specific policy provisions. Litigators must be careful to avoid the pitfalls of using expert witnesses whose credibility might be attacked based on previous testimony or due to his or her relationship with a particular insurance…