Insurance and Reinsurance Alert: Donovan v. Philip Morris

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In a ground-breaking decision that has troubling implications for tort defendants and insurers alike, Massachusetts’ highest court has found that a group of plaintiffs may proceed with a suit against Philip Morris for future medical expenses incurred in monitoring for lung cancer, and that the plaintiffs’ claims may not be barred by the statute of limitations if the plaintiffs can show monitoring was not, as the plaintiffs allege, previously feasible and a reasonable physician would not call for monitoring of any precancerous condition prior to the statute of limitations period. See Donovan v. Philip Morris USA, SJC-10409 (October 19, 2009) (Slip Opinion). Though the decision does not address insurance nor whether the plaintiffs should be certified as a class, it may give rise to a wave of medical monitoring cases related not only to tobacco, but to other latent-disease-causing products, where defendants named in these cases may look to their commercial general liability insurers for coverage for these unique claims.

Please see full alert below for more information.

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Mintz Levin on:

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