Insurance Law

Goodell, DeVries Wins Motion for Judgment for Insurance Company at the Close of Evidence in a Jury Trial

On January 15, 2015, at the close of all of the evidence, Judge Michael Mason of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland granted a Motion for Judgment in favor of National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., ruling that it had proven, as a matter of law, that it had been actually prejudiced by the insured’s failure to give notice for more than two-and-a-half years after it had been sued.  The insured had sought coverage for an underlying RICO lawsuit under a Directors and Officers  policy issued by National Union.  The court found that during the period of delayed notice, findings of fact and conclusions of law had been entered in a related case involving the insured that likely would have had a preclusive effect in the RICO case or, at a minimum, would have made that case significantly more difficult and expensive to defend and settle.
The case was tried by Linda S. Woolf and Joseph B. Wolf on behalf of National Union. 

Fourth Circuit Upholds Goodell DeVries Victory

Linda S. Woolf and Joseph B. Wolf obtained a favorable ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for their client Empire Fire & Marine Insurance Company. In its June 27, 2012 opinion in Forkwar v. Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company, 2012 WL 2402564, the Fourth Circuit held that the accident at issue in the case, came within an exclusion in the Empire policy covering accidents that occur when the truck is being used in the business of a trucking company.  The Fourth Circuit rejected Forkwar’s argument that the exclusion did not apply because Empire’s insured had not yet picked up the loaded trailer and was not yet “on the clock” at the time of the accident.  The Fourth Circuit also rejected Forkwar’s argument that a finding in the underlying tort action that the trucking company was not vicariously liable for Empire’s insured’s negligence precluded Empire from denying coverage based upon the exclusion.


Goodell DeVries Secures Win in Declaratory Judgment Action in Favor of Insurers

In CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Co., 680 A.2d 1082 (Md. 1996), Goodell DeVries, acting as lead trial counsel for a group of 19 insurers, obtained a jury verdict in favor of the defendants in a declaratory judgment trial arising from occupational hearing loss claims asserted by thousands of railroad employees. The decision was later affirmed by the Court of Appeals of Maryland.


Goodell DeVries Participates in Insurance Coverage Litigation Involving Defective Railroad Ties across Northeast

In Nationwide v. LaFarge Corp., the United States District Court for the District of Maryland heard a declaratory judgment action on coverage litigation initially involving 64 insurance carriers. While many issues were settled on cross-motions, an eventual three-week jury trial reduced the insured’s claimed defense costs, legal and expert fees by approximately $8 million. Sidney G. Leech represented Travelers Indemnity Company in this litigation.