In Dunn, et al. v. Columbia National Insurance Company, No. 2:17-cv-0246 (N.D. Ga.), an insurance company refused to defend an insured in a personal injury claim contending that the insured failed to cooperate in the defense. The underlying claim stemmed from an automobile accident, where an employee of Lawson Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Inc. (“Lawson”), Ronald Patterson, struck members of the Dunn family with a pickup truck owned by Lawson as the family was walking out of a Walmart store. The Dunn family members suffered bodily injury as a proximate result of the accident.  Patterson admitted fault.

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The Eleventh Circuit recently found that an insured had not paid enough to satisfy its policy’s deductible and would thus be required to pay more before coverage would be available. The court’s holding turned on the meaning of a “tenants and neighbors” provision that extended coverage, but only for claims arising in countries that apply a civil law system. As explained below, this ruling underscores the value of retaining experienced coverage counsel to identify potential gaps and deficiencies in coverage.
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