Weekly Law Resume - January 20, 2011: Insurance Coverage - Equitable Subrogation and Contribution

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James Dobbas, et al. v. Fred Vitas, et al. Court of Appeal, Third District (January 7, 2011)

When an insurer seeks to recover monies it has paid in settlement, it may do so by either a claim for equitable subrogation - seeking to stand in the shoes of its insured to the extent of its payment, or by a claim for equitable contribution, an apportionment of costs among insurers that share the same level of liability on the same risk. This case considered the rights of an insurer for equitable subrogation or contribution against an insurance agent who had allegedly failed to procure an insurance policy.

James Dobbas operated a ranch in Sierra County. On May 27, 2002, a bull escaped from his property, and collided with two vehicles, resulting in the deaths of two occupants of the vehicles and injuries to four others. Dobbas was sued by the victims.

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