Articles by Steven Plitt

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Steven Plitt is the current successor author to Couch on Insurance, 3d. He maintains a national coverage practice with The Cavanagh Law Firm. He has been listed continuously as one of Arizona’s 50 lawyers by Southwest Super Lawyers. He can be reached splitt@cavanaghlaw.com. To read additional articles by Steven Plitt, go to www.insuranceexpertplitt.com.

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules That Statutory Attorney’s Fees Are Capped by the Policy Limit

The question of whether attorney’s fees awarded under Minnesota’s insurance unreasonable denial statute could exceed the policy limits of the policy was recently addressed by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Wilbur v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 892 NW2d …

Rhode Island Supreme Court Enforces Suit Limitation Provision in Policy

In the past, Rhode Island courts have upheld insurance policy provisions that require insureds to commence legal action against the insurance company within a time period that is less than the legislatively-enacted statute of limitations. See, e.g., National Refrigeration, Inc. …

Failing to Initiate Settlement Negotiations is Risky Business

Two recent cases have addressed insurance company extracontractual exposure for failing to initiate settlement negotiations. In Stalley v. Allstate Insurance Co., 2016 WL 1752764 (M.D. Fla. April 29, 2016) the court considered the so-called “Powell rule” where the insurance company …

Smooth Sailing for a Pollution Exclusion?

The question of whether carbon monoxide constitutes a pollutant for purposes of a standard policy pollution exclusion has been mixed among the courts. Whether carbon monoxide constitutes pollution is jurisdiction-specific and depends on whether the jurisdiction adopts a traditional or …

Oregon Supreme Court Decides the Meaning of ‘Recovery’ for Claims Under ORS §742.061

Under ORS §742.061, insurance companies are required to pay their insured’s attorney’s fees in Oregon if, in the insured’s lawsuit brought against the insurer, the insured obtains a “recovery” that exceeds the amount of any tender made by the insurance …

Investigation of Property Loss Doesn’t Establish Estoppel in Oregon

Under Oregon statute O.R.S. §742.056, an insurance company’s investigation of a loss or claim under the policy does not estop the insurance company from asserting any provision of the policy or any defense that the insurer may have under the …

Maine Supreme Court Discusses Allocating Between Covered and Uncovered Claims

In Harlor v. Amica Mut. Ins. Co., 2016 ME 161, 150 A.3d. 798 (2016), the court held that when an insurance company breaches its duty to defend, the insurer has the burden of allocating settlements reached by its insured and …

Massachusetts Bad Faith Statute Doesn’t Include Post-Judgment Interest in Multiplier

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Anderson v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. Pittsburgh, PA 476 Mass. 377, 67 N.E. 3d 1232 (2017) that post-judgment interest on a judgment against a driver and owner were not part of the …

Use of Employer’s Vehicle While Intoxicated Didn’t Exceed Scope of Permissive Use

Recently the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held, in Great American Alliance Insurance Co. v. Anderson 847 F.3d. 1327 (11th Cir. 2017) that an employee did not go beyond the scope of the employer’s permissive use of a …

S.D. High Court Permits Bad Faith Cause of Action Against Workers’ Comp Insurer

In Mordhorst v. Dakota Trucking Underwriters and Risk Administration Services, 886 N.W.2d 322(S.D. 2016) the South Dakota Supreme Court found that a workers’ compensation insurer could be found in bad faith, even though it relied upon an independent medical opinion …