Topic: Massachusetts Developments

Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds Upholds Summary Judgment on Behalf of Insurer Based on a Prior Acts Exclusion and Inaccurate Statements in the Policy Application

The Appeals Court of Massachusetts recently issued a coverage decision captioned Hurley v. Comproni, et al., 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1101, 3 N.E.3d 615 (Mass. App. Ct. 2014) (unpublished) (available here). The decision stemmed from an insured lawyer’s repeated failure to complete service in an underlying personal injury action, resulting in that action being time-barred. 

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Massachusetts Appeals Court Finds That Policyholder’s Misrepresentations Limit Coverage

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has upheld a lower-court judgment severely limiting the amount of coverage available to a motor vehicle policyholder, writing that the policyholder’s failure to control who operated the car constituted a misrepresentation that invalidated coverage even in the absence of an intent to deceive. 

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Massachusetts Legislative Committee Considers Reinsurance Credit Requirements

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services is due to report next week on HB 881, An Act Relative to Reinsurance Requirements. Sponsored by Representative Michael Costello of Newburyport, the bill closely tracks the NAIC’s Revised Credit for Reinsurance Model Law, which has already been adopted in eighteen states, including New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. 

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New York Federal Court, Applying Massachusetts Law, Holds that Defense Costs Should be Allocated by the Joint and Several Method Rather than the Pro Rata Method

The Southern District of New York has issued an interesting opinion for allocation disputes decided under Massachusetts law. The case, which concerns long-tail environmental damage, is The Narragansett Electric Co. v. American Home Assurance Co., No. 11-8299 (S.D.N.Y., Feb. 18, 2014). A copy of the opinion is available here

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Massachusetts Federal Court Dismisses Suit Seeking to Hold Carrier Liable for Cost of Bond After Exhaustion of Policy Limit

A Massachusetts federal court dismissed a coverage lawsuit against a liquor liability insurer, holding that the “supplementary payments” clause in its policy did not require the carrier to furnish a bond to discharge an attachment against the insured’s liquor license. The court agreed that, because the carrier had already paid out its entire limit of liability, it had no obligation to pay either pre-judgment interest or the cost of the bond. 

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