Insurer's In-House Counsel's Involvement in Coverage Decision Opens Door to Discovery

Door with key in lock

Attorney Tred R. Eyerly discusses Travelers Pro. Cas. Co. of Am. v. 100 Renaissance, LLC.

January 11, 2021
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the insurer must produce written communications from and make available for deposition the in-house counsel who orchestrated the denial of coverage. Travelers Pro. Cas. Co. of Am. v. 100 Renaissance, LLC, 2020 Miss. LEXIS 409 (Miss. Oct. 29, 2020).

An unidentified driver struck a flagpole owned by the insured Renaissance, causing $2,134 in damages. Renaissance filed a claim with Travelers for uninsured-motorist coverage. The Travelers' claims handler, Charlene Duncan, determined there was no coverage because the flagpole was not a covered auto. Before corresponding with the insured, Duncan sought legal advice from Travelers' in-house counsel, Jim Harris.

Renaissance sued Travelers for coverage and bad faith. Renaissance then took Duncan's deposition and asked that she explain both the denial letter and the reasons Travelers denied the claim. Duncan repeatedly said she did not know the basis of the denial and that she had consulted with Harris.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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