National Insurance Law Forum

National Insurance Law Forum

Published By The Attorneys of the National Insurance Law Forum

Tag Archives: Washington

Washington Supreme Court decision raises questions for law firms that both represent insurers and defend the insurer’s policyholders

Posted in Duty to Defend, Liability Coverage, Recent Cases
The Washington Supreme Court recently decided Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 911 (September 14, 2017), a case involving the ethical obligations of law firms retained by an insurer to defend the insurer’s policyholder.  While the Court of Appeals had held that a law firm with an insurer for a client may… Continue Reading

Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf

Posted in Appeals, Recent Cases
Washington’s Supreme Court Grants Review of Court of Appeals’ Decision Finding No Conflict of Interest for Law Firms that Represent Insurers and Defend Insurers’ Policyholders   We previously reported here on the Court of Appeals’ decision in Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf, 193 Wn. App. 731, 373 P.3d (2016) on May 5, 2015. On September… Continue Reading


Posted in Liability Coverage
One of the more common questions that clients ask coverage counsel is how a court will interpret a new policy provision. This is especially true of clients that make a point of using the latest endorsements which may not have been tested in a particular state's courts. The issue is complicated by the different policy interpretation approaches taken by different states, which make it difficult to apply out of state law even when the particular policy provision at issue is identical to one interpreted in a case from another jurisdiction. In states like Oregon and Washington, where case law interpreting newer policy language may be scarce, insurers can put themselves at increased risk if they rely too heavily on their own interpretation of the policy's "plain meaning" or their experience in other jurisdictions.… Continue Reading

Division I Of The Washington State Court Of Appeals Answers, In The Negative, The Much Debated Issue Of Defense Costs Recoupment

Posted in Recent Cases
In March of this year, we noted that whether an insurer can seek reimbursement of defense costs paid, where it is later determined there was no duty to defend, is an open issue in Washington. While the issue has still not been addressed by the Washington Supreme Court, in National Surety Corp. v. Immunex, 2011 Wash.App.… Continue Reading

Washington’s Supreme Court Finds Coverage For Actual Cash Value Includes State Sales Tax

Posted in Recent Cases
In Holden v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Wash., 2010 Wash. LEXIS 721 (September 9, 2010), the Washington Supreme Court held that because an “actual cash value” (“ACV”) provision in a Broad Form Renters Package Policy was ambiguous, it must be read in favor of the insured to include consideration of Washington State sales tax in… Continue Reading

Washington’s Supreme Court Overturns Law Requiring Plaintiffs to File a Certificate of Merit in All Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Posted in Recent Cases
In an opinion issued on September 17, 2009, the Washington Supreme Court struck down RCW 7.70.150, a law that requires plaintiffs to file a certificate of merit with regard to all medical malpractice lawsuits. In Putnam v. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, ___ Wn. 2d ___, (2009), the Washington Supreme Court reversed the trial court and… Continue Reading

The Washington District Court finds that the “Efficient Proximate Cause” Doctrine does not Automatically Trump Mold Exclusions when Mold is not the Efficient Proximate Cause of the Loss

Posted in Recent Cases
In AXIS Surplus Ins. Co., et. al v. Intracorp Real Estate, LLC, et. al., the Washington District Court, Judge Coughenour, recently ruled in favor of the Insurers on the application of Mold Exclusions irrespective of the fact that efficient proximate cause was potentially a covered peril. This coverage dispute arises out of a claim made… Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Tackles Tender and Prejudice Issues

Posted in Liability Coverage
Washington just got a little stranger.  (No, not Washington, D.C.–the other one).  In a lengthy and fascinating opinion that the Washington Supreme Court released on September 4, a unanimous court (unusual in any of itself) has ruled that defending insurers can pursue a claim for subrogation but not equitable contribution against a carrier who was… Continue Reading

Washington Court of Appeals, Division II, Will Consider the Propriety of a Settlement With a Covenant Not to Execute

Posted in Recent Cases
Water’s Edge Homeowners Association v. Water’s Edge Associates, et al., Superior Court of the State of Washington for Clark County, Case No. 05-2-03446-1 (2008) is a good example of how, when allowed adequate discovery, an insurer was able to reveal to the court the true collusive nature of a covenant judgment between the insured and… Continue Reading