The Colorado Supreme Court determined that the insurer defending under a reservation of rights could not intervene in the underlying case after the insured assigned its rights to any bad faith claim against the insurer. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Bolt Factory Lofts Owners Ass'n, Inc., 2021 Colo. LEXIS 365 (Colo. May 24, 2021).
Bolt Factory initiated a construction defects lawsuit against various contractors. Several defendants filed third-party complaints against subcontractors, including Sierra Glass Company. Auto-Owners agreed to defend its insured, Sierra Glass, under a reservation of rights. Auto-Owners declined to settle with Bolt Factory for $1.9 million, within policy limits. Sierra Glass then retains independent counsel and entered into a settlement with Bolt Factory. The settlement allowed Sierra Glass to assign its bad faith claims to Bolt Factory in exchange for the right to pursue the insurer for payment of the excess judgment rather than Sierra Glass. Instead of entering into a stipulated judgment, Bolt Factory and Sierra Glass proceeded to an abbreviated trial.