Jim Rudolph quoted in “Building contractor’s suit against insurer revived” in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Jim Rudolph, the firm’s managing partner and a construction litigator, was quoted in “Building contractor’s suit against insurer revived” in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on April 13.

The article discusses the Appeals Court’s decision in John Moriarty & Associates, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., where the court ruled the general contractor for a Boston construction project could sue a subcontractor’s insurance carrier for delaying payment of costs incurred in litigating a jobsite personal injury claim that the carrier had agreed to defend and indemnify under a reservation of rights.

Rudolph said the decision in John Moriarty & Associates serves as “a warning” to insurance companies regarding claims under G.L.c. 93A and 176D. “If I’m an insurance executive, I’m not happy with this decision,” he said.

According to Rudolph, practitioners should be mindful of two observations made by the court. In a footnote, Ditkoff addressed the general rule that when the insurer concedes it has a duty to defend, it ordinarily cannot be deemed to have “refused” to provide that defense until a “reasonable time” passes without its paying invoices presented to it by the insured.

Rudolph noted Ditkoff’s statement that, at the motion to dismiss stage, “the allegations that Zurich, without adequate excuse, had not paid defense costs for seven months after receiving invoices from JMA is sufficient to support a claim for a violation of G.L.c. 93 and 176D.”

“Those are two of the most significant statements in the whole opinion,” Rudolph said. “What the court is saying is that we’re not going to say how long an insurance company can wait to pay after they’ve acknowledged they have the obligation. What they are saying is seven months is long enough [to be actionable].”


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