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Nossaman Insurance Team's Victory Featured Prominently In Law360

05/16/2017 Law360

A Nossaman Insurance team’s  successful representation of client Brown & Streza LLP was featured prominently in a Law360 insurance wire article, titled “Provision in Law Firm’s Policy ‘Unintelligible’  Judge Says.”  The  Nossaman team was led by Insurance Practice Group Partner Joan Cotkin and included assistance from Insurance Practice Group Associate Alex Suarez.

The Law360 article examines the recent ruling by US District Judge Josephine L. Staton  in the matter of  Brown & Streza LLP et al. v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co.,  which granted Brown & Streza’s motion for summary judgement. In the matter, Judge Staton ruled that Ironshore cannot rely on Endorsement #1 in Brown & Streza’s $4 million professional liability policy to reduce its coverage for an underlying  professional negligence suit to only $2 million.  In her decision, the judge indicated that the language in Endorsement #1, on which Ironshore entirely relied, was neither conspicuous, plain nor clear and thus unenforceable, and certainly did not align with Ironshore’s  contention that the Endorsement amended coverage so that claims based on professional services provided before the inception of the policy, were only covered up to half the stated Limits, $2 million instead of $4 million. Regarding this Endorsement, Judge Staton wrote that “What Ironshore drafted is undecipherable, and it must accept the consequences of its slapdash drafting under California law.“ 

Commenting on the Judge’s ruling, Ms. Cotkin  said that her clients were “very happy with the decision and grateful that the Judge took the effort to give attention to the factual and legal basis for that decision.”

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