Monday, May 23, 2011

Associate Dee Drummond Honored at the Pentagon, Receives MacArthur Leadership Award

           On May 19, 2011, RSRM Associate Irvin DeAndrei (Dee) Drummond was awarded the 2010 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award at the Pentagon.  This award recognizes company grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which General MacArthur stood - duty, honor, country.  The award promotes and sustains effective junior officer leadership in the Army.  Dee was one of only seven reserve officers nationwide to be recognized. 

           It goes without saying that we are extremely proud of Dee and this impressive accomplishment.  For more information about the MacArthur award and its recipients, click here:

DutyHonorCountry - those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”
                                                      -General MacArthur’s Thayer Award Speech:  Duty, Honor, Country (1962).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baltimore County Jury Returns Favorable Verdict for Defendant

           On May 3-4, 2011, RSRM Associate, Andrew Nichols, tried a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.  The Defendant had previously filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  The defense argued that the Plaintiffs’ cause of action for alleged intentional conduct was not a recognized cause of action in Maryland.  The Court reserved argument on the Motion until the first day of trial and, after hearing arguments, granted the Defendant’s Motion.  The defense stipulated to liability and filed a Motion in Limine with the Court to limit the scope of Plaintiffs’ witnesses’ testimony.  The Court granted this Motion as well and the trial proceeded forward on damages only. 

           In his closing arguments to the jury, Plaintiffs’ counsel requested $250,000.00 and $75,000.00 respectively for each Plaintiff.  After nearly two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict, awarding each Plaintiff $5,000.00.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Insurance Carriers Can Disclaim Coverage Where Notice of Claim Isn't Timely and Resulting Prejudice Can Be Shown

Sherwood Brands, Inc. et al. v. Great American Ins. Co.
Court of Appeals of Maryland
September Term, 2010
Filed February 24, 2011

           Recently, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Sherwood Brands, Inc. et al. v. Great American Ins. Co., holding that Md. Ins. Code Ann. § 19-110 applies to “claims-made-and-reported” policies, where the claim giving rise to the insurance coverage occurs during the insurance policy period, but the insured fails to give timely notice of the claim pursuant to the notice provision of the policy.  Under such conditions, pursuant to § 19-110, the insurance policy notice provision is treated as a covenant, where the failure to abide by that covenant constitutes a breach, and the disclaiming insurer must then prove prejudice. 

           In Sherwood, Great American Insurance Company (“Great American”) denied two claims against Sherwood Brands, Inc. (“Sherwood”), which occurred during the insurance coverage period but were not reported to Great American until more than 90 days after the termination of the policy.  Sherwood’s insurance policy with Great American required it to inform Great American of any claims against it within 90 days of the termination of the policy. 

           The Court of Appeals found that the Great American policy at issue here was a “claims-made-and-reported” policy rather than a pure “claims-made” policy.  The Court explained the difference between the two, stating that under a claims-made policy, a claim must be made against the insured during the policy period, but need only be reported to the insurer “promptly,” or “as soon as practicable,” and not necessarily during the policy period.  By contrast, a claims-made-and-reported policy requires that the claim must not only be made against the insured during the policy period, but reported to the insurer during the policy period.  If the claim is not made and reported accordingly, the insurer may deny coverage if it can show it suffered prejudice from the late notice.

           In Sherwood’s case, the insurance policy was a claims-made-and-reported policy, and the Court found that the record on appeal was devoid of the required showing that Great American suffered any prejudice from the late notice.  The trial court’s judgment was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Article Contributed by James Buck

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In an effort to better communicate with our clients and colleagues regarding the ever changing and complex world of Insurance Defense litigation, Rollins, Smalkin, Richards & Mackie, L.L.C. is launching this blog, which will be updated as events dictate.

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