If you have been sued and your insurance carrier did not provide you with an attorney to defend you, then you may have a case against your liability insurance carrier. An insurance company’s failure to defend you can arise multiple ways including: your dog bites a neighbor and the neighbor sues you; you are in an automobile accident and the other driver sues you; you sit on the board of a homeowner’s association and one of the members sues the board; someone slips and falls at your place of business and sues you for their personal injuries; or for any other reason someone sues you or your business and the insurance company does not hire a lawyer for you. We have been very successful in trigging an insurance company’s duty to defend. Recently, in Roth v. Zurich, Zurich’s insured was sued seven times in similar lawsuits. Zurich defended three and denied a defense in four.
When Michael took over the case, it had been dismissed by the policyholder months before, but the insurance carrier had resurrected the case and dragged the policyholder back into federal court. Within months, Michael persuaded the court that the policy’s $1-million limit on defense costs did not apply to his client’s claims and that a duty to defend was owed on all seven lawsuits. In addition, even though the court had dismissed the policyholder’s claims for bad faith and extra-contractual damages the year before, Michael persuaded the court to reinstate those claims and allow them to be presented to the jury. After a three-week trial and just minutes before closing arguments were to begin, the case settled favorably for Mr. Roth.
For their work in this case, Michael and Heather were named finalists for the 2010 “Streetfighter of the Year” Award given by the Consumer Attorneys of California.