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Insurance and Reinsurance

SRBC has been serving insurance companies and reinsurers for more than 75 years. Best Lawyers and U.S. News have consistently ranked SRBC as among the very top firms in Boston and Massachusetts for insurance law (more).

Our breadth of experience, expertise in insurance law, and skills in litigation and negotiation have enabled us to develop close, long-term relationships with numerous local and national carriers. We have advised clients on matters ranging from coverage, claims handling, insurance practices and regulatory compliance to employment and contract disputes, and we have represented them in litigation, arbitration and other dispute resolution proceedings with their insureds, with claimants, or with other insurers. Our experience in related areas of litigation, including commercial, employment, professional liability, environmental and tort cases, often gives us special insight and perspective in matters on which we provide insurance advice.

Insurance Coverage Advice and Litigation

Our attorneys regularly advise carriers on coverage obligations and represent insurers in litigation or appeal of coverage disputes. Our experience encompasses various types of policies and insurance lines, including:

  • Commercial general liability
  • Professional liability
  • Directors and officers liability
  • Excess and umbrella coverage
  • Errors and omissions coverage
  • Environmental coverage
  • Employment practices liability
  • Homeowners and personal lines, and
  • Title insurance.

In addition to providing coverage advice and representing carriers in coverage litigation, we frequently act as monitoring counsel in complex cases and assist in negotiating creative resolutions of high-exposure claims. We also represent carriers in “bad faith” and extra-contractual litigation arising out of claims-handling and settlement decisions.

We are proud of the confidence our clients place in us. We are the regional coverage counsel for the eastern half of the United States for a major insurer of attorneys, and New England regional coverage counsel for a national carrier for professional liability and CGL matters. And we have been primary coverage counsel for over twenty years for the largest homeowners carrier in Massachusetts.

Our recent insurance cases have involved issues as disparate as:

  • Scope of coverage under Additional Insured Endorsements in Commercial General Liability Policies in connection with construction claims, product liability claims, and premises liability suits
  • Actions for rescission based upon misrepresentations in policy applications
  • Exclusions for claims arising from pollution, intentional torts, fraudulent acts, or professional services
  • The scope and limitations of coverage for “advertising injury”
  • Prior-knowledge defenses under claims-made policies and “known loss” issues under occurrence policies
  • “Trigger” of coverage
  • Interpretation of “other insurance” clauses
  • Coordination and allocation of indemnity and defense payments between carriers and “stacking”
  • Application of “award property” and “alienated property” provisions
  • Limits of liability and number of occurrences
  • Late-notice, failure-to-cooperate, and consent-to-settle clauses
  • Waiver and estoppel
  • The right to reimbursement of defense costs.

Clients have often called on us for appellate cases addressing important insurance-law issues of first impression. We are also regularly sought out for a broad range of additional services, including:

  • Reviewing, revising and drafting insurance policies and endorsements
  • Risk analysis pertaining to the introduction of new insurance product lines
  • Assessment of statutory and regulatory requirements that affect our insurance clients and assistance in implementing compliance procedures
  • Analysis of the legal ramifications and risk control of various claims-handling and underwriting practices, and
  • Presenting in-house seminars and general advice concerning cutting-edge issues of coverage, claims-handling and excess liability.

While the bulk of our insurance work is for carriers, we also regularly advise small and large businesses and professional associations on their insurance needs and coverages. Our attorneys have also served as personal counsel in a variety of disputes.

Reinsurance

The other major component of our insurance law practice involves advising and representing both cedents and reinsurers in arbitration and litigation concerning the full array of underlying losses and conventional and cutting-edge issues confronting the reinsurance industry. We have handled reinsurance disputes arising out of catastrophic property and business-interruption losses, asbestos product and non-product and other mass tort liabilities, and environmental damage claims. Issues we have dealt with include:

  • The nature and scope of the duties of “utmost good faith” and “follow the fortunes”
  • The number of occurrences
  • Aggregation and allocation problems
  • Computation of premiums and commissions, the exercise of set-offs, and other accounting issues
  • The operation and effect of notice provisions
  • The enforcement and construction of arbitration clauses
  • The arbitrability of substantive and procedural disputes, including statutory claims, consolidation, and the appointment of umpires and party-appointed arbitrators
  • Privilege and relevance standards in the context of claim audits and arbitration discovery
  • The scope and enforcement of arbitral subpoena powers and the scope of arbitrators’ powers to impose sanctions
  • Confirmation and vacatur of arbitral awards
  • The confidentiality of arbitral proceedings, and its operation in post-arbitral judicial confirmation or vacatur proceedings
  • The preclusive effect of arbitral awards and judicial rulings in arbitration-related cases, and
  • Special issues arising in insurance insolvencies, such as jurisdictional abstention, reverse pre-emption of the FAA, arbitrability, and fixed rights and obligations.

Arbitration services

Several of the attorneys in our insurance and reinsurance group frequently serve as private arbitrators in insurance coverage matters and as arbitrator or umpire in reinsurance disputes. Our group includes members of AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society (ARIAS·U.S.), as well as members of other organizations that provide skilled mediators and arbitrators to parties in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Recent Reported Decisions:

Some of the cases we have handled recently that have resulted in published decisions are:

Rogers v. Rogers & Partners, Architects, Inc., CIV. A. 08-11730-NG, 2009 WL 5124652 (D. Mass. July 27, 2009)

Hingham Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Mercurio, 71 Mass. App. Ct. 21 (2008)

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd., (D. Mass. 2007) (reprinted in 17-22 Mealey's Litigation Report: Reinsurance 4 (2007))

National Casualty Company v. First State Ins. Group, 430 F.3d 492 (1st Cir. 2005)

Safety v. Day, et al., 65 Mass. App. Ct. 15 (2005)

Sevigny v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 411 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2005)

Clarendon Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Arbella Mut. Ins. Co., 60 Mass. App. Ct. 492 (2004)

Employers Insurance of Wausau v. First State Insurance Group, 324 F.Supp. 333 (D. Mass. 2004)

Chicago Ins. Co. v. Lappin, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 769 (2003)

OneBeacon America Ins. Co. v. Factory Mutual Ins. Co., No. 03-MDB-10239-GAO (D. Mass. 2003) (decision published in Mealey’s Litigation Report: Reinsurance, available at www.lexis.com/research, or by request from SRBC)

International Ins. Co. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 50 Mass. App. Ct. 1101 (2000)

Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Ass’n of Massachusetts v. Goldberg, 425 Mass. 46 (1997)

Canal Ins. Co. v. Carolina Cas. Ins. Co., 59 F.3d 281 (1st Cir. 1995)

U.S. Aviation Underwriters, Inc. v. Fitchburg –Leominster, Flying Club, Inc., 42 F.3d 84 (1st Cir. 1994)

Frohberg v. Merrimack Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 34 Mass. App. Ct. 462 (1993)

Merrimack Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Nonaka, 414 Mass. 187 (1993)

Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. McLaughlin, 412 Mass. 492 (1992)

Worcester Ins. Co. v. Fells Acres Day School, Inc., 408 Mass. 393 (1990)

For more information regarding our insurance and reinsurance expertise, and how we can help you achieve your goals, please contact Regina E. Roman (Co-Chair), at roman@srbc.com or Susan A. Hartnett (Co-Chair), at hartnett@srbc.com or (617) 227-3030.

Related Publications:

August 22, 2013 -
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Recommends Stay Of Underlying Action To Resolve Coverage Disputes
SRBC partner Samuel M. Furgang authored the following article, originally published in the Boston Bar Association's Financial Services Section Newsletter.

...
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December 19, 2011 -
Arbitration Wars in Insurance Insolvency
SRBC's Natasha Lisman writes on the enforceability of arbitration agreements after an insurer's insolvency in the ARIAS-US Quarterly, a journal devoted to subjects relating to arbitration of insurance and reinsurance disputes.

...
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June 23, 2009 -
Do Legal Malpractice Claims Against IP Lawyers Belong in Federal Court?
In an article in Andrews's Professional Liability Litigation Reporter, SRBC's William Boesch writes about three recent federal appellate decisions addressing whether legal malpractice claims against intellectual property lawyers necessarily implicate matters of federal IP law, and therefore may be brought ...
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May 15, 2009 -
First Circuit: Arbitrator May Revisit and Clarify Award
Arbitration rules typically prevent an arbitrator who has decided a dispute by issuing an award from later reconsidering the merits and revising the decision. The arbitrator usually may only make clerical corrections. But as SRBC's Paul White writes in a recent article in the Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar ...
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Related News:

December 04, 2014 -
SRBC Welcomes New Associate Kenneth Thayer
Sugarman, Rogers is pleased to welcome Kenneth Thayer as an associate of the firm. Ken is an experienced trial attorney concentrating his practice in the areas of complex business, tort, employment, real estate and insurance litigation. ...
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November 04, 2014 -
SRBC Receives High Rankings on "Best Law Firm" List
SRBC has been named to the 2015 list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. The firm received top "Tier 1" rankings in Boston across eleven practice areas:

...
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August 18, 2014 -
Fourteen Partners Earned Title "2015 Best Lawyers" and One Partner Named "Lawyer of the Year"
Fourteen SRBC partners have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. In addition, David Barry earned special recognition as "Boston Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. ...
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June 10, 2014 -
Summary Judgment Win for Malpractice Insurer in $215 Million Fee Case

A Delaware superior court has granted summary judgment for a lawyers' professional liability insurer represented by SRBC's William Boesch, in a dispute with an insured law firm over a claim seeking return of some $215 million in fees awarded in a securities class action.

...
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March 21, 2014 -
SRBC Insurer-Client Wins Coverage Dispute, Avoiding Reach of New York Notice Statute

SRBC partners Regina Roman and John O’Neill recently secured a summary judgment win for an insurer-client in a dispute over the insured's failure to timely report an international arbitration claim seeking 18 million euros for breach of a wind-turbine technology-licensing agreement.

...
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November 04, 2013 -
SRBC Ranked "First Tier" in Boston in 10 Practice Areas

The 2014 edition of the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers rates SRBC a "First Tier" firm in Boston in ten of its practice areas:

...
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October 22, 2013 -
25 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Twenty-five lawyers from SRBC, more than in any prior year, have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by ...
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September 16, 2013 -
SRBC Welcomes Two Associates
SRBC recently welcomed two new associates, Gwen Nolan King and Joshua D. Nadreau, to the firm. Gwen is in her fifth year of practice, with prior litigation experience at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston and at Sperling & Slater, a ...
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August 15, 2013 -
Fifteen SRBC Partners Named “2014 Best Lawyers” and Two Ranked “Lawyer of the Year”
Fifteen SRBC partners have been ranked at the top of their profession, including two partners earning special recognition as “Lawyer of the Year,” in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal ...
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July 01, 2013 -
Win for SRBC Insurer-Client in Lawyer Check-Scam Case

SRBC's William Boesch has obtained a summary judgment ruling from a New Hampshire federal judge on behalf of a professional liability insurer for lawyers, in a case involving a common e-mail check scam. A lawyer sought coverage under his malpractice policy after he fell victim to a ...
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May 03, 2013 -
Victory for SRBC Insurer-Client in West Virginia Coverage Case
The West Virginia Supreme Court has decided in favor of SRBC client Attorneys Liability Protection Society, Inc. (ALPS), a lawyers' professional liability insurer, in a case involving late notice under a "claims made" insurance policy. The court declined an invitation by the insured law firm to ...
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March 05, 2013 -
Anthony Agudelo: Winning Closing Arguments
SRBC Partner, Anthony Agudelo, and an all-star panel of top litigators put Michael Jackson, Star Wars, and the Boston Red Sox on trial.

...
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February 01, 2013 -
Susan Hartnett: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage
Susan Hartnett, an SRBC Partner, will join a panel of Faculty Members at the MCLE Seminar entitled "What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage."  Hosted on February 1st, the seminar will offer essential tools ...
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January 16, 2013 -
Susan Hartnett to Address What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage
Susan Hartnett, an SRBC Partner, joins a panel of Faculty Members at the MCLE Seminar entitled "What Every Lawyers Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage."  The seminar offers essential tools to spot and handle insurance coverage issues.  Susan and the panelists discuss the coverage ...
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November 13, 2012 -
SRBC Ranks High in "Best Law Firms" Survey
SRBC has received first-tier rankings in nine of its practice areas in the 2013 U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey. The firm was recognized as a National Tier 1 firm in Product ...
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October 24, 2012 -
22 SRBC Attorneys Recognized as "Super Lawyers"
Twenty-two SRBC lawyers have been listed among the top attorneys in Massachusetts in the annual Super Lawyers rankings.

...
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September 20, 2012 -
Best Lawyers: Regina Roman is "Boston Insurance Lawyer of the Year"
The 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America has named SRBC managing partner Regina Roman "Boston Insurance Lawyer of the Year." Of the process of selecting a lawyer of the year for each practice area and metropolitan region, Best Lawyers says: ...
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September 12, 2012 -
Fifteen SRBC Lawyers Named Best Lawyers in America
Fifteen of SRBC's partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers calls itself “the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.” The publication annually ...
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May 03, 2012 -
Hartnett Begins Presidency of Reinsurance Bar Group
SRBC partner Susan A. Hartnett has recently begun her term as president of the Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar Association (MReBA), a group dedicated to the sharing of ideas to improve the reinsurance dispute-resolution process, and lower its cost, while promoting ...
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March 21, 2012 -
Appeals Court Upholds Negligence Finding in Knifing Incident, Permitting Insurance Recovery
The Massachusetts Appeals Court has upheld a finding in a superior court bench trial that a defendant who wielded a knife in a street fight, and stabbed an adversary three times—including fatally in the heart—acted negligently but not intentionally. The decision entitled the victim’s surviving daughter ...
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February 15, 2012 -
Supreme Judicial Court Awards $22.6 Million in Punitive Damages for Insurer's Settlement Delays
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has once again emphasized the high stakes, under the state's consumer-protection statute, for an insurer who delays in settling a clear-liability case and allows the matter to go to trial. Read SRBC's analysis of the decision in Rhodes v. AIG Domestic Claims ...
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February 13, 2012 -
Appeals Court: Insurer Protected From Liability For Conduct of Its Lawyer In Subrogation Case
A recent decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court has extended the protection afforded to insurers against potential liability based on the conduct of the outside lawyers they hire. Read SRBC's assessment of Sandman v. Quincy Mutual Fire Ins. Co.

January 04, 2012 -
SRBC Welcomes New Lawyers Turner, Bográn-Acosta
SRBC recently welcomed two new lawyers to the firm. Alida Bográn-Acosta comes to SRBC as an of-counsel attorney in our employment litigation group. Alida has more than 17 years' experience advising clients in labor and employment matters. She was previously with the Boston office ...
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November 15, 2011 -
Susan Hartnett on Effective Insurance Claims
On November 15, SRBC partner Susan Hartnett, along with Andover, Massachusetts lawyer Robert Gilbert, will address the Greater Lynn Bar Association and the Essex County Bar Association with a presentation entitled "Presenting Effective Insurance Claims: Perspectives from Policyholders and ...
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November 08, 2011 -
Victory for SRBC Insurance Client in West Virginia Coverage Case
A West Virginia court has awarded a summary-judgment win to a professional-liability insurance carrier represented by SRBC's Regina Roman and John O'Neill, in a case involving a law firm's late reporting of a claim.

...
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October 26, 2011 -
Sixteen SRBC Partners Named 2011 Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Massachusetts Super Lawyers, an annual peer-review and independent-research survey designed to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state, has named 16 SRBC partners to its 2011 listing. Several of the partners were also distinguished on shortlists of top lawyers ...
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October 06, 2011 -
Susan Hartnett to Address Reinsurance Symposium
On October 6, SRBC partner Susan Hartnett will speak at the 2011 Annual Symposium of the Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar Association (MReBA). Susan will be a panelist for a session on "Right of Association" and "Claims Control" Clauses in reinsurance policies. The session will address provisions that govern ...
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September 09, 2011 -
Thirteen SRBC Lawyers Named to Best Lawyers in America
The 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, described as "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the U.S." and based on a nationwide peer survey of more than 3.9 million lawyers, has named 13 SRBC partners to its annual list. The partners, and the Best Lawyers ...
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August 03, 2011 -
Jessica Park Joins SRBC
SRBC recently welcomed new associate Jessica Park to the firm. Jessica is a 2004 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and practiced in California and Virginia before coming to SRBC. She has experience representing clients in insurance coverage matters, in ...
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April 02, 2011 -
Summary Judgment Victory for Malpractice Insurer
SRBC partners Regina Roman and John O'Neill have won summary judgment on behalf of a legal malpractice insurer-client in a dispute over coverage in a fee dispute between a lawyer and his former firm. After the lawyer left the firm with a substantial personal-injury case, the firm sued for a share of the ...
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January 26, 2011 -
Susan Hartnett: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage
On January 26, SRBC partner Susan Hartnett will be a panelist at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminar "What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Insurance Coverage." Susan’s practice is largely devoted to advising and representing insurers in matters arising out of claims for coverage under ...
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November 10, 2010 -
Summary Judgment for Insurer in Scammed-Lawyer Case
SRBC partners Regina Roman and William Boesch have assisted a professional liability insurer-client in obtaining summary judgment in a coverage lawsuit brought by a South Carolina law firm that fell victim to a familiar e-mail scam. The law firm responded to an e-mail purportedly sent on behalf of a ...
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October 20, 2010 -
SRBC Partners Named "Super Lawyers"
Sixteen of SRBC's partners have been recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the 2010 edition of the annual peer-review survey that seeks to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state. Many of the partners were also ranked among the very top lawyers ...
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October 04, 2010 -
U.S. News: SRBC Among Boston's Best Law Firms in Seven Practice Areas
According to survey results newly published by U.S. News and Best Lawyers seeking to identify the "Best Law Firms" in a number of metropolitan areas, SRBC ranks in the "first tier" of Boston law firms in ...
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October 02, 2010 -
Eleven SRBC Partners Named to Annual "Best Lawyers in America" List

Eleven SRBC partners have been named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an annual publication that calls itself "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States." This year's selections are based on surveys in which more than 3.1 million leading lawyers were ...
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October 01, 2009 -
Natasha Lisman and Paul White Present at Reinsurance Symposium
SRBC partners Natasha Lisman and Paul White will serve as panelists at the Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar Association’s First Annual Symposium on October 1, 2009. Natasha will present at the session “Mock Arbitration Panel Deliberation” and Paul will present at the session “Proposals to Increase ...
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September 22, 2009 -
Best Lawyers Again Ranks SRBC No. 1 in Insurance Law
For the second year in a row, the peer-review publication The Best Lawyers in America has ranked SRBC the number one Insurance Law firm in Boston and in Massachusetts. Four SRBC partners were recognized for their work in insurance law: Samuel Furgang, Susan Hartnett, Natasha Lisman and Regina ...
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May 27, 2009 -
Massachusetts Court Limits Fee-Shifting in Insurance Disputes
In a dispute between a liability-insurance provider and an insured over whether the company must provide a legal defense to its insured in a lawsuit by a third party, the insurance company runs the risk that it may ultimately be required to pay not only the ...
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May 27, 2009 -
Summary Judgment Win for Insurer on Prejudice Issue
SRBC's Susan Hartnett and Shanel Lindsay scored a recent summary-judgment victory for an insurance-company client, in a case where the insured landlord failed to report a slip-and-fall lawsuit in housing court, and allowed a default judgment to enter against him.

...
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May 26, 2009 -
Article Cites Natasha Lisman's International Human Rights Work
In a recent article on the Miller-McCune magazine website, Ken Stier writes about the groundbreaking pro bono work of the International Senior Lawyers Project, of which SRBC partner ...
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May 11, 2009 -
SRBC Partners Help Found Reinsurance Bar Association
Natasha Lisman, Paul White and Susan Hartnett, all partners in SRBC's reinsurance practice, are among the founders of a new bar group, the Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar Association. MReBA was formed to foster sharing ideas for improving the dispute-resolution ...
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February 03, 2009 -
Court Holds Malpractice Insurer Should Have Defended Lawyer in Sanctions Proceeding
SRBC partner William Boesch writes on a recent Pennsylvania federal case holding that a professional liability insurance company that refused to defend a lawyer in a sanctions proceeding, on the ground that sanctions were not "damages" covered by the policy, thereby breached its insurance ...
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December 10, 2008 -
First Circuit Allows New Lawsuit After Declaratory Judgment
SRBC's Samuel Furgang discusses the First Circuit's recent decision in Andrew Robinson Int'l, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co. that an insured who prevailed in a declaratory-judgment action against its insurer could then start a new lawsuit alleging violation of unfair claims-handling ...
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September 24, 2008 -
Win for SRBC Insurance Client in Coverage Dispute
SRBC's Susan Hartnett and Matthew Lyons obtained summary judgment for an insurance-company client in a case arising from a fight at a night club that resulted in serious injury. The coverage dispute centered on the policy's exclusion for "expected or intended" harm. The court agreed that the ...
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