Insurer Not Obligated to Pay Attorney's Fees for Defending Claims Against Insured that Were Not Subject to Coverage

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In State Farm v. Mintarsih, (pdf) (Case No. B202888), the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal found that an insurer is not liable under a policy’s supplementary payment provision for an attorney’s fee award resulting from claims that were not potentially covered under the policy.

This ruling was in sharp contrast to a previous ruling by the Court of Appeal in Pritchard v. Liberty Mutual, 84 Cal. App. 4th 890 (2000) that held that in a suit that the insurer defends, the supplementary payment provision covers attorney’s fees “despite the absence of even the possibility of coverage for the causes of action that generated the large cost award.” The Mintarsih ruling, drafted by the well-regarded Justice Walter Croskey, is a very favorable ruling for insurers.

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