Monday, February 11, 2013

Maine Supremes Smack Title Insurer For Stiffing Policy-Holding Homeowner On Its Duty To Defend Against Neighbor's Title Challenge Relating To Alleged 'View' Easement

From US Law:

  • [Homeowner] purchased title insurance for a condominium unit she had recently purchased. [Homeowner]'s neighbor subsequently initiated a lawsuit against [Homeowner] alleging that [Homeowner]'s property was subject to a view easement.

    [Homeowner] tendered the complaint to her title insurance company (Insurer) requesting a defense pursuant to her title insurance policy. Commonwealth denied [Homeowner]'s request based on certain exclusions in the policy.

    [Homeowner] sued Insurer alleging a breach of contract and requesting a declaratory judgment that Insurer had a duty to defend [Homeowner] against her neighbor's complaint. The superior court granted Insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that the policy specifically excluded the view easement from coverage.

    The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that due to the broad nature of the duty to defend and the law's requirement that insurance-policy interpretation be focused on the insured, Insurer had a duty to defend [Homeowner] in the underlying litigation.
Source: Opinion Summary - Cox v. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co.

Fro the ruling, see Cox v. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co.

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