September 2017 Insurance Litigation Newsletter
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. (MWL) proudly announces the opening of its new branch office in California located at 500 N. State College Blvd., Suite 1100, Orange, California 92868, with convenient access to state and federal courts in Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Central Valley. While our national subrogation program still produces tremendous results for our clients by utilizing a Local Counsel Network of contracted law firms strategically located throughout all 50 states, Mexico, and Canada, the volume of recovery work we have pending in California calls for this new branch office on the west coast. The California office will be overseen by MWL’s newest partner, Hector Salitrero, who has for years been handling MWL subrogation work in the Golden State. Hector is licensed to practice law in all state and federal courts in California and is also licensed in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Court Of Appeals Reminds Insurance Carriers To Seek Judicial Determination Of No Coverage Before Denying Tender Of Defense
On May 2, 2017, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals outlined why an insurance carrier that fails to defend an insured without first seeking a judicial determination of no coverage does so at its own peril. See Country World Media Group, Inc. v. Erie Ins. Co., 2016 WI App. 1343. Wisconsin insurance carriers should take note of this decision before deciding to unilaterally deny any insured’s tender of defense.
The Iowa legislature has finally acted on the call by Iowa business groups to overhaul Iowa’s workers’ compensation system. For years, they have claimed that the state’s system has tilted unfairly toward injured workers and significantly raised employers’ costs. Many have called Iowa’s workers’ compensation system an “unsustainable litigious lottery.” In March, the changes became official. The primary purpose for these changes was to add efficiency to the system and reduce what was supposedly an overly burdensome workers’ compensation system.
Recently, in Kaitlin Woods Condominium Ass’n v. Kaitlin Woods, LLC, et al., 2017 WL 3234370 (Wis. 2017), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld a “synthetic stucco” (also known as Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS)) exclusion in a commercial general liability policy. The facts of the case are quite common — damages caused by water allegedly stemming from construction defects. As is increasingly the case, the insurer for the general contractor had a “synthetic stucco” exclusion in place that excluded insurance coverage if a building contained “synthetic stucco.”
Recently, Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. (MWL) successfully argued an appeal regarding a firefighter’s claims of defamation. The dispute stemmed from a local television broadcast in which a reporter discussed the disabled status of the local firefighter. The firefighter had injured his elbow and ulnar nerve, (commonly called the “funny-bone”) resulting in numbness and tingling of his fingers. Despite that injury, and resulting disability rating as determined by the State’s doctors, the firefighter was able to do things like compete in triathlons, water ski, and partake in other physically taxing activities. MWL’s client, the fire chief, made comments to the local TV reporter about the situation. This story was ultimately picked up by a national television broadcast, and debated on a relatively highly-rated television show by guest commentators.
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. (“MWL”) is pleased to announce that Isaiah Richie has joined our insurance litigation team as an associate attorney in our Wisconsin office. Richie is licensed to practice in Colorado and Wisconsin and his practice will focus on insurance litigation, especially nationwide insurance subrogation involving health insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans, workers’ compensation, auto insurance, and property and casualty. Formerly a clerk at the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Arizona Court of Appeals, Isaiah brings with him the precise blend of multi-state experience which is the hallmark of MWL’s 50-state insurance litigation program. His appellate court experience has led to a keen understanding of the fact that the power of the lawyer is the uncertainty in the law. He’s anxious to help that uncertainty work in favor of MWL’s clients.