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Insurance Coverage & Defense Litigation

When a Policy Limits Demand can be Abusive

Demands for insurance policy limits frequently generate substantial concern for  insurers.  A properly executed policy limits demand that is rejected by an insurer will “open the policy” and expose the insurer to liability in excess of its policy limits.  The timing and form of the demand, however, are as important as the demand itself.

A policy limits demand must meet five criteria before a court is likely to hold that an insurer acted in bad faith in rejecting the demand:

  • The settlement terms must be clear enough to create an enforceable contract if accepted. Coe v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 66 Cal.App.3d 981, 991 (1977);
  • All claimants must join in the settlement demand. Coe, 66 Cal.App.3d at 992-93;
  • All insureds must be released. Strauss v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 26 Cal.App.4th 1017, 1021 (1994);
  • The settlement amount demanded must be both within policy limits and “reasonable.” Comunale v. Traders & General Ins. Co., 50 Cal.2d 654, 661 (Cal. 1958); and
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Legal Alert: Multiple ADA Lawsuits Target Central Coast Businesses

A recent string of lawsuits have many local businesses again paying close attention to their own compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). One individual, along with the same attorney in each case, appears to be targeting restaurants and retail businesses across the Central Coast. The two individuals have filed a number of lawsuits alleging violations of the Act in SLO County and down south as far as Ventura. As you may know, under California law, any violation of the ADA is considered a civil rights violation and subject to a minimum statutory penalty of $4,000, plus attorney’s fees.

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C&N Closes Significant Deal for Prominent Central Coast Insurance Firm


Carmel & Naccasha LLP attorneys recently facilitated the integration of a highly regarded employee benefits agency and brokerage on the Central Coast with the strength and resources of a leading global insurance brokerage. Here’s what the owner of the agency had to say once the deal was completed:

“It has been an exciting time at my company with a recent transition and merger. We could not have done it without the expert assistance of Carmel & Naccasha. All of their people, especially Ziyad Naccasha, worked tirelessly to bring our transaction to conclusion in a timely manner. It was not unusual to get an email from them at 10 pm, still working on our behalf. They concluded our transaction in 12 days while normally this type of thing would have taken months. Top-notch service, expert advice, working on our behalf, ethical proceedings, polite and thorough….what more could you want from your professional team?”

-Connie Framberger

To read more about the team of attorneys at Carmel & Naccasha LLP who handle business and corporate matters, click here.

To read the full story about the merger as covered in the Insurance Journal on May 12, 2015, click here.

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Recent Court Decision Regarding the Collateral Source Rule

On August 18, 2011, a decision came down from the California Supreme Court in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, No. S179115. This decision set a limit on the defendant’s liability for special medical damages and the amounts recoverable by a plaintiff. This means that, where a medical provider has accepted as full payment of his/her bill a lesser sum pursuant to a pre-existing contract with the injured person’s health insurer, only the amount actually paid will be recoverable as economic damages, not the larger amount originally billed.

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A California Law Primer on the Duty to Defend

The following link includes a survey of recent California cases on the duty to defend prepared by and posted with the permission of the Insurance Coverage Litigation & Counseling Practice Group at Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson, LLP.  The attached survey identifies and elaborates on the following seven fundamental issues that may assist claims professionals, insureds and counsel in making decisions about how to appropriately respond to complaints or claims tendered for a defense:

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Dismissal Results in Win for Defendant

Dismissal pursuant to Evidence Code 402 results in another successful outcome by attorney Donald Wilson on behalf of the defense as noted in the November 1, 2010 edition of Verdict Search.

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Winning At Trial… Before the Jury Sits Down

Pssst! I have a “secret” for you… well, it’s not exactly a secret, but it is a winning device that is underutilized in California – the Evidence Code 402 motion.

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A Renewed Push for Cameras In The Courtroom

Media coverage of court proceedings has been a controversial subject for years because it presents potential conflicts between the public’s right to be fully informed of public proceedings and the parties’ right to a fair trial.  With the advent of media outlets like Court TV, the controversy over cameras and other recording devices in courtrooms has taken on an even higher profile. 

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Contractor and Sub­contractor’s Construction Claims – Litigation Defense Strategies

It is not likely a “news flash” to most trial attorneys; but, I’ll restate it anyway… con­struction defect litigation is “complex litiga­tion”.

There are two reasons for that… the first is because of the numbers of parties typically involved, the volumes of paper that can be generated and the statutory regulatory schemes and case law which apply.

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Investigating the “Routine” Auto Case

Auto vs. Auto Mechanism of Injury

This is one in an occasional series dealing with important, but often overlooked, claims investiga­tion issues which just could be vital to you and your defense counsel in their efforts to win a verdict for you when the claim goes to litigation.

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