Browse recent news and blog posts related to insurance law below. If you need insurance related legal services or wish to browse our attorneys visit our Utah insurance law practice page.

Gary Johnson Receives G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award

August 2018

Gary Johnson has been selected as this year’s DRI recipient of the G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award. This award honors the author of the most outstanding defense related article published in For The Defense or In-House Defense Quarterly in 2017. His article “Planning the Future: Blockchain Technology and the Insurance Industry published in the In-House Defense Quarterly Fall 2017 issue, has achieved this highest standard.

The award will be presented at “A Celebration of Leadership” at the 2018 DRI Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Richards Brandt congratulates Gary on his remarkable achievement.

Read article here: https://www.richardsbrandt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/16J1065-GLJ-BLOCKCHAIN-TECHNOLOGY_.pdf

 

 

 

Insurance Law

INSURANCE LAW


PRACTICE AREA / UTAH INSURANCE LAW ATTORNEYS

Richards Brandt serves the legal needs of clients requiring lawyers with experience and knowledge about the complexities of insurance law in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our clients seek our assistance regarding questions of coverage for different lines of insurance, including both first party and third party claims.

INSURANCE LAW ATTORNEYS IN UTAH



The law firm of Richards Brandt serves the legal needs of companies whose representatives are looking for lawyers with a high level of experience and knowledge in insurance law. Many insurance questions are essentially contract disputes. Our clients seek our assistance regarding questions of coverage for different lines of insurance, including both first-party and third-party claims.

Our insurance lawyers have cumulatively been practicing insurance law for 100 years. We have handled cases involving almost every type of insurance law issue. Our continuing legal education in the area includes in-depth analysis of the history of insurance and changing laws affecting best practices in the insurance industry. We frequently attend and deliver seminars on topics pertaining to insurance coverage such as:



First-Party And Third-Party Coverage



Insurance policies can offer first-party coverage and/or third-party coverage. First-party coverage refers to protection for the insured for losses sustained by the person named in the policy. Third-party coverage is also called liability insurance.

Third-party insurance coverage is generally evoked where a claim or suit has been initiated against the insured because of injury or property damage to a third party.

Analyzing our clients’ rights and duties under their policy and evaluating varying legal principles is a critical part of representing our clients.



First-Party Property Insurance Disputes



Richards Brandt provides both advice and representation for its clients in complex matters related to insurance coverage disputes, policy interpretation, and the application of policy exclusions. We have experience in providing coverage opinions and litigating coverage matters on behalf of the insured.



Best Claims Practices and Insurance Bad Faith Claims



Our experience in assisting insurance clients throughout the claims process, representing them in trial, arbitration, and mediation throughout the intermountain west is second to none. We regularly consult, litigate, and try bad faith claims for a variety of insurance products.

The stakes are high in large claims, often in excess of a million dollars. It is important the attorney you work with has years of experience in insurance law. While your general practioner has experience across multiple fields of law, which may be helpful during the normal course of business, once an insurance dispute arises, it is in your best interest to find the most experienced attorney who understands your industry and insurance law.

RECENT INSURANCE LAW UPDATES



2016 Yancey Memorial Award



INSURANCE LAW ATTORNEYS AT RICHARDS BRANDT IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH



Standard Commercial Liability Insurance

Commercial Liability or Commercial General Liability coverage is a standard insurance policy issued to businesses to protect them against claims involving bodily injury/property damage and personal/advertising injury. These claims may occur on or at the company’s place of business, during operations, as a result of using a product, or a claim may involve some kind of advertising liability. Each of these types of claims requires specialized knowledge of different aspects of the law.

For-profit and not-for-profit organizations face significant risk throughout the life of a business. Working with an attorney to evaluate your coverage is a critical step in a good risk management plan. Preparing for the inevitable claim before it happens provides every organization the piece of mind and confidence that they have protected their business and livelihood.

Construction Defects

Our Construction Industry Group Attorneys have worked exclusively to defend the construction industry for decades. Insurance coverage and insurance claims are a fact of life during every stage of a construction project, regardless of the size. Click here to meet our attorneys in the Construction Industry Group.

Indemnity Agreements

Our business clients routinely require other industry parties to indemnify and add them as additional insureds. By transferring the risk, one party (the indemnitor) promises to assume the liability of another (the indemnitee).

The three types of indemnity clauses include broad, intermediate, or limited risk. It is important to speak with an attorney about the type of indemnification you should agree to as well as in what situation it should be enforced. Negligence claims are complex and often involve multiple parties, your attorney will defend your organization and its work.

Insurance Defense in Salt Lake City, Utah

Richards Brandt represents insurance companies and their insureds. Insurance defense is a specialized area of the law requiring in-depth knowledge and experience. We have a strong reputation and long history of focusing on the insurance defense industry. Our clients include many of the largest insurance carriers in the U.S.

We know how to scrutinize auto policies and commercial trucking policies in detail. We have represented insurers in bad faith insurance litigation, and we can advise your company about ERISA-related issues. We provide counsel regarding insurance litigation under consideration by other law firms. Our range of experience encompasses a wide variety of insurance categories, including the following:

  • Auto insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Health care and disability insurance or self-funded welfare benefit plans
  • Commercial general liability insurance

For information about how we can serve your legal needs pertaining to insurance, insurability or insurance coverage, contact us by phone or e-mail.

Salt Lake City area insurers, businesses, and private insureds are encouraged to call or e-mail Richards Brandt to arrange for a consultation with one of our lawyers. We serve clients in insurance law matters throughout the State of Utah, and intermountain west.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)



BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS & CORPORATE GOVERNANCE / FEATURED FAQS



Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.

Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.

Answered by:

Barry G. Scholl

Barry Scholl

Shareholder, Cybersecurity Section Chair and Business Practice Chair

A: To decide which entity is right for you, we look at: liability, taxation, and maintenance. Both corporations and LLC’s have limited personal liability—this means that owners are usually not responsible for business debts. However, corporations and LLC’s are taxed very differently—corporations are classified as a separate taxable entity, whereas LLC’s are typically taxed as a pass-through entity (unless you choose otherwise). And corporations and LLC’s have different levels of maintenance—LLC’s have fewer reporting requirements and can operate solely with members acting as the managers. Conversely, corporations are required to hold certain annual meetings, keep certain records, and appoint boards and officers to manage the company for the stockholders. Every situation is unique so we recommend that you consult with an attorney in making your decision. Contact our firm, Richards Brandt, if we can help you decide which entity is right for you.



BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS & CORPORATE GOVERNANCE – CASE STUDIES





Utah Manufacturing Company Needed Employment Contracts For Key Staffers




Utah Construction Company Needed Planning For Business Growth & Protection




Utah Family Enterprise Needed Guidance and Representation to Sell Business

REVIEWS




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Growing Use of Blockchain in the Insurance Industry

Gary L. Johnson
October 2017

Gary Johnson’s new article, Blockchain Technology and the Insurance Industry, published in the most recent issue of In-House Defense Quarterly, provides an in depth overview of the growing use of blockchain technology in the insurance industry, including discussions of security, privacy and smart contracts. Read more

16J1065-GLJ – BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY_

2016 Yancey Memorial Award

Gary L. Johnson
August 2016

Gary-L.-Johnson

The International Association of Defense Counsel announced at their annual meeting that RBMN’s litigation practice chair, Gary L. Johnson, was the recipient of the 2016 Yancey Memorial Award. This award is bestowed annually on the author of the best article published in The Defense Counsel Journal in the previous year. Gary’s winning article is Proving the Negative: On the Admissibility of the Lack of Prior Accidents in a Products Liability Case. The Yancey Memorial Award, instituted in 1963, honors George W. Yancey, former president of the IADC and founder of the Defense Counsel Journal.

 

Subrogation Law

With tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, subrogation actions are bitterly fought and hard won. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, subrogation claims are not to be taken lightly. The more you know and the more experience you have on your legal team, the better off you’ll be in the courtroom.

Attorneys with the law firm of Richards Brandt Miller Nelson have been handling subrogation claims for decades. We represent both insurance carriers and alleged at-fault parties — plaintiffs and defendants — so we have a vast amount of experience with every aspect of subrogation law.

What is Subrogation?

Subrogation is the assumption by a third party (as a second creditor or an insurance company) of another’s legal right to collect a debt or damages.

Subrogation typically applies to cases involving insurance carriers or business contracts with indemnification provisions. For example, when there is an automobile accident in which property is damaged and injuries are incurred, there is often a period of time where the insurance carrier runs an investigation to determine who was at fault. The injured party can’t wait for the investigation to be over to receive medical attention or to have their car repaired, so the insurance carrier will step in and pay the medical and auto repair/replacement bills. If another party is determined to be at fault in the accident, the insurance carrier can then attempt to recover from that party. In other words, when the insurance company covered the damages for its insured, it assumed the right to collect damages from the at-fault party. That re-assignment of rights is subrogation.

Why Do I Need Legal Representation?

If you are an insurance carrier pursuing a subrogation claim, you need experienced counsel to make sure you have standing to pursue the claim and that your subrogation rights have not been compromised, such as through a settlement with a waiver of subrogation. If you are being sued by an insurance carrier who claims that you’re at-fault in an accident, you will need experienced counsel to determine whether the carrier has standing to pursue the claim. Whichever side you are on, you need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to step in as soon as a loss is incurred. Laws vary from state to state, that’s why it’s important to hire a firm that’s familiar with Utah subrogation laws to help with your claim.

For knowledgeable, experienced legal help in a Utah subrogation action, contact the law firm of Richards Brandt Miller Nelson. We have been handling subrogation claims for decades and, whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant, we will use that experience to help you reach the best possible result in your case.

UIM Coverage Under Automobile & Umbrella Policy

UIM coverage

February 2015

Kingston v. State Farm
http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/kingston150205.pdf

The Court of Appeals affirms the district court’s grant of summary judgment to State Farm on a question of UIM coverage under an automobile policy and a separate umbrella policy.

auto-insurance-policy imageThe substitution of a vehicle and an automatic renewal of a policy do not constitute “new policies” which trigger a renewed obligation to secure an insured’s consent to lower UIM limits. The insured’s initial waiver carries forward. An umbrella policy is not an automobile policy and subject to the same requirements of a policy for automobile coverage. Also, the insured was not entitled to coverage under the umbrella policy because the automobile policy did not contain sufficient coverage for UIM benefits to trigger the umbrella policy.

The substitution of a vehicle and an automatic renewal of a policy do not constitute “new policies” which trigger a renewed obligation to secure an insured’s consent to lower UIM limits. The insured’s initial waiver carries forward. An umbrella policy is not an automobile policy and subject to the same requirements of a policy for automobile coverage. Also, the insured was not entitled to coverage under the umbrella policy because the automobile policy did not contain sufficient coverage for UIM benefits to trigger the umbrella policy.

Immigration Issues and Personal Injury Defense

Personal Injury Law Books & Gavel

Tanya N. Lewis Peters
February 2013

Regardless of the political issues currently swirling around immigration reform, it is important to have a grasp of basic immigration law principles when defending personal injury cases.

A few recent cases are illustrative of the effects that an undocumented worker’s status can have on claims of personal injury, plaintiff employment, or similar claims.

Hoffman v. NLRB, 122 S.Ct. 1275 (2002). In this case, the employer petitioned for review of, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cross-applied for enforcement of, an NLRB order awarding an undocumented worker backpay from date of his illegal termination until the employer discovered he was unauthorized to work. A panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered enforcement. Following grant of a petition for rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals again granted enforcement. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Rehnquist, held that federal immigration policy foreclosed the NLRB from awarding backpay to an undocumented worker who had never been legally authorized to work in the United States.

Madeira v. Affordable Housing Foundation, 315 F.Supp.2d 504 (S.D. New York 2004). Here, an injured undocumented worker’s status did not prevent him from recovering compensatory damages for defendants’ violation of New York’s Scaffold Law. His undocumented immigrant status was relevant to determining whether lost wages were appropriate and how much should be awarded.

Silva v. Wilcox, 223 P.3d 127 (Colo. Ct. App. 2009). Here, to the extent that a defendant is able to establish that a plaintiff immigrant is not authorized to be in the United States and has secured employment by violating the law or is in violation of the law in some other particular manner related to such employment, so that the plaintiff is unlikely to remain in this country throughout the period of claimed lost future income, the jury should be provided that information in determining whether to award damages for lost future wages.

During discovery, an attorney may wish to direct written discovery to the plaintiff that asks about citizenship and immigration status. During the deposition of a plaintiff believed to be an undocumented immigrant, potential questions to ask include: Are you a U.S. Citizen? Where were you born? What is your immigration status? Are you legally authorized to work in the U.S.? If so, how is that documented? Have you ever applied for Medicare or Medicaid? (Don’t assume they haven’t – a Medicare audit last year revealed that people living in the U.S. illegally had collected over $120 million in Medicare benefits as of 2012. This could trigger Medicare Secondary Payer Act issues in the future.)

You can also take the deposition of the employer. Always do this as a 30(b)(6), and always serve the notice as a Notice of Deposition Duces Tecum. You can also subpoena the documents beforehand using Rule 45. Ask them to provide a complete employee file, including hire documents. Define “hire documents” as the employment application, I-9 form, and any copies of documents inspected in conjunction with the I-9 form. (This is, of course, in addition to any wage loss documents you want to obtain, such as W2s, W4s, payroll information, etc.)

Using best practices in the handling and workup of these cases can minimize carrier/defendant exposure by putting you in the best position for pretrial motions, including motions in limine.

Of course, this raises the issue of what to do when defending a case and your client (defendant) is undocumented. For example, this problem arises when a driver hired by an employer turns out to be working illegally, and then causes an automobile accident while in the course and scope of his/her employment. First, try to exclude the defendant’s immigration status under Rule 401. Second, TXI Transportation v. Hughes, 306 S.W.3d 230 (Texas 2010) is extremely helpful. It held that neither the illegal immigrant status of a gravel truck driver, nor his use of a fake Social Security number to obtain his commercial driver’s license, was relevant to a negligent entrustment or hiring claim against the employer. It also held that the illegal immigrant’s status was inadmissible to impeach the driver’s testimony, and that erroneous admission of evidence relating to the driver’s immigration status was not harmless.

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