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Insurance company sued for breach of faith, breach of contract

Sat Apr 20th, 2013 on     Bad Faith Insurance,    

This is a case that involves movie stars, racketeering, conspiracy, eavesdropping and an insurance claim. There is no direct connection to Florida — which may be a good thing.

First, some background on the people involved. Keith Carradine is an actor and award-winning singer/songwriter. He is best known for his work in the 1970s, including his work in the film “Nashville.” In the late 1980s, he married Sandra Will. The marriage lasted for about a dozen years before the two separated and eventually divorced. The couple has two children.

Anthony Pellicano was a private detective who acted as a “fixer” for celebrities. His exploits have made for riveting headlines, especially after his 76-count indictment for racketeering, conspiracy and wiretapping. He is no longer a private detective. He is serving the 15-year sentence handed down after his conviction in 2008.

In 2006, Sandra Will Carradine allegedly hired Pellicano to investigate her ex-husband. Keith sued, claiming, among other things, that Sandra hired Pellicano to spy on him, that Pellicano or his associates harassed Keith with phone calls and that Sandra and Pellicano became “romantically involved.”

Sandra did what every celebrity does: She called her insurance company. She reported the lawsuit and patiently, at first, waited for the insurance company to respond. The insurance company got back to her five years later with its decision.

We often discuss an insurance company’s duties to a policyholder. An insurer who provides liability coverage has a duty to indemnify the policyholder and a duty to defend the policyholder. The duty to indemnify¬†refers to the insurance company’s obligation to pay for covered losses as promised in the policy. The duty to defend refers to the insurer’s obligation to provide an attorney at the insurer’s cost to defend any lawsuits for damages that are covered by the policy.

At its most basic, a property insurance claim goes like this: Your garage burns down; you make the claim; the company determines if the claim is covered by your policy and, if it is, how much the company is obligated to pay; the company writes a check.

A liability claim, however, works a little differently. We’ll discuss that and continue with the case in our next post.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Insurer Sued for $400K in Pellicano Case,” April 1, 2013

Our firm handles insurance disputes like the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our Miami, Florida, practice, please visit our website.

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