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Vol. 8 - Issue 6
July 10, 2019

What Could Have Been: Can You Send A ROR Via E-Mail?
Sometimes a coverage case is poised to address some really interesting or unique issue.  But then comes the buzz kill – the court never reaches the issue because of some pesky procedural issue, such as it lacks jurisdiction or abstention.  That was the situation in Twin City Fire Ins. Co. v. Uland, No. 18-124 (W.D. Ky. May 14, 2019).  At issue was the appropriateness of an ROR sent to an attorney making a claim under a professional liability policy.  The underlying plaintiffs had lots of reasons for challenging the ROR sent to the insured-attorney, including, that it was improper to send the reservation of rights via email.  Instead, they argued that the letter should have been sent certified mail, return receipt requested to the insured as well as defense counsel.  Wow, I’ve never seen either of those issues addressed before.  It would have been great to see the court’s discussion of them.  But, alas, it was not meant to be.  The court, for various reasons, held that it did not have jurisdiction.                 

When Does The Statute Of Limitations Begin To Run For a Coverage Dispute?
Over the years courts have grappled with the question when does the statute of limitations begin to run for a coverage dispute?  The answer has not always been the same.  If you are addressing this issue, it is worth checking out Baltimore Scrap Corp v. Executive Risk Specialty Ins. Co., No. 18-2743 (D. Md. June 17, 2019).  It is a fairly detailed decision.  Here is the Tapas version: “Plaintiff’s cause of action for breach of contract accrued on May 1, 2015, when Executive Risk notified plaintiff of the denial of coverage.  Limitations was not tolled merely because the insurer indicated that the insured should contact the insurer with ‘additional or new information . . . .’  Refusal to pay a benefit ‘when due is sufficient to constitute a breach.’ The insurer’s assertion that it might reconsider if additional information were presented did not deprive plaintiff of its right to sue to enforce the contract based on the denial of the claim.”    


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