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A Zealous Defense Can Affect Insurance Coverage

2/2/2015 Blog

A law firm asked us for advice a few months into a fast-moving intellectual property lawsuit.  The complaint alleged trademark and copyright infringement claims against the company and two of its officers.  They noted that while the defense was being provided under the D&O policy based on the allegations against the individual officers, plaintiff had only served the company.  The judge was now putting pressure on plaintiffs to “clean up the pleadings” and either serve the individuals or dismiss them. 

We immediately told defense counsel to call plaintiffs and offer to accept service on behalf of the individuals.  Why?  Because private company D&O policies provide broad coverage for the individuals,including for intellectual property claims.  For these claims, individuals are covered but the company is not.  A dismissal of the individuals would give the insurer an excuse to withdraw the defense.  Unfortunately, plaintiffs that same day had already filed a dismissal of the individuals without prejudice.  As expected, the insurer withdrew its defense over our protests.

Read the full blog post: The Case of the Zealous Defense Counsel

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