WWM attorneys Robert P. Conlon, Christopher A. Wadley, and Ryan J. Rodman successfully represented RSUI Indemnity Company before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a lawsuit alleging that RSUI failed, in bad faith, to settle an underlying claim. In the lawsuit, West Side Salvage, Inc. alleged that RSUI breached a duty to settle an underlying lawsuit arising out of a grain bin explosion at a ConAgra facility in Chester, Illinois. In response, RSUI argued that it did not breach a duty to settle because either the claim was not covered or, even if covered, it did not act in bad faith. The trial court entered summary judgment in RSUI’s favor, concluding that the claim was covered, but that RSUI did not act in bad faith as a matter of law. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that the claim was excluded from coverage under the policy’s exclusion for damage to property on which the insured was performing operations. Accordingly, the court held that RSUI did not breach a duty to settle. West Side Salvage, Inc. v. RSUI Indem. Co., No. 16-3928 (7th Cir. Dec. 18, 2017).
WWM attorneys Robert Conlon and Christopher Wadley won an appeal on behalf of WWM’s client, a professional liability insurance carrier, in the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington, Division Three. The ruling affirmed the reasonableness of a reduced consent settlement ruling of the lower court, potentially saving the client more than $3 million.
A motion was filed by the claimant and an individual attorney insured under a professional liability insurance policy, in which the claimant and insured sought court approval of a proposed $3.8 million consent judgment to be entered against the insured without the consent of the insured’s liability carrier. WWM successfully opposed the motion and the court found the proposed $3.8 million judgment to be excessive and reduced the amount to $688,875. As the claimant and insured’s first settlement was not final, they entered a second settlement over a year later for $2.9 million or whatever lesser amount the court deemed reasonable. Claimant then filed a “Petition for Finding New Settlement Reasonable and/or Motion for Reconsideration of Verbal Ruling.” WWM moved to strike the petition, arguing that it was untimely and did not identify a basis in fact and law seeking reconsideration as required by CR 59(b). The court denied the new motion and granted WWM’s motion to strike. The Judge entered an order finding that the reasonable settlement value of the consent judgment was $688,875, which claimant appealed.
On appeal the claimant attempted to argue that not having a hearing on the second settlement was improper under CR 59 and that the court failed to explain how it applied the individual reasonable factors delineated in Glover v. Tacoma Gen. Hosp., (98 Wn.2d 708, (1983)). The Washington Division III Court of Appeals panel disagreed. “He provides no legal authority suggesting that any of the three matters he relies upon is a reversible abuse of discretion and his arguments are unpersuasive.” Accordingly, the court affirmed the lower court’s judgment.
WWM Attorneys Robert Conlon and Christopher Wadley successfully defended, on appeal before the Ninth Circuit, a trial judgment they obtained in favor of a legal malpractice liability insurer in a complex, multimillion-dollar coverage and bad faith lawsuit. Weinstein & Riley, P.S. v. Westport Ins. Corp., Nos. 11-35325, 11-35341, 2012 WL 2024770 (9th Cir. June 6, 2012).
The case arose out of two underlying lawsuits involving the insured attorney. The first action, which was filed against the insured attorney in Oregon, involved the forced sale of a company that the attorney owned and controlled, and the separation of that company from the insured attorney’s law firm. The second action, which was filed against the insured attorney in Washington, involved malpractice claims against the insured attorney and his firm brought by the company he formerly owned and controlled, after the insured attorney sold his interests in the company. The insured attorney sought coverage from his legal malpractice carrier for approximately $2 million in attorney’s fees incurred in the underlying lawsuits. Continue reading