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).
Bob Arnold and Ryan Rodman of WWM recently won an appeal in West Virginia that involved novel insurance coverage issues in a compelling factual context. The case arose out of the tragic death of Charleston WV police officer Jerry Jones, who was killed by a ricocheting bullet fired by another officer during a police pursuit.
In March 2011, Officer Jones’ Estate brought a declaratory judgment action in Kanawha County, West Virginia, seeking underinsured motorists (“UIM”) benefits from WWM’s client, an insurer of the City of Charleston. The declaratory judgment alleged that Patrolman Jones was killed in the early morning hours of September 13, 2009, at the conclusion of a car chase. Patrolman Jones and other officers had successfully surrounded an automobile driven by criminal suspect Brian Good. When Mr. Good was instructed to exit his car he revved his engine as if threatening to advance toward the police cruisers. After ordering Mr. Good to stop, several officers opened fire. Patrolman Jones was struck by a stray bullet and died as a result of his injuries. Continue reading