LaPorta and Jones present CLE

June 24, 2015 | Insurance Coverage

Anthony LaPorta and Michael Jones, members of the Firm’s Insurance Coverage & Litigation Practice Group, will present a CLE entitled, “The Duty to Defend, The Selection of Independent Counsel And Understanding the Risks Involved When The Carrier Assigns Counsel To Defend The Insured.”

Program Description:

Carriers are often faced with the prospect of an insured seeking to retain independent counsel when the carrier offers to defend under a reservation of rights.  Whether the insured has such a right will likely inform how the carrier responds to the insured’s tender of its defense.  We will discuss the application of the Burd Doctrine in New Jersey (the rule enunciated in Burd v. Sussex Mut. Ins. Co., 56 N.J. 383 (1970), which governs the circumstances under which a carrier may defend its insured while reserving its right to disclaim coverage.  We will cover the carrier’s right to control the insured’s defense, the potential conflict that arises where the carrier defends under a reservation of rights and the insured’s contractual right to a defense from the carrier. We will explore the circumstances under which an insured may select independent counsel, and discuss the carrier’s associated obligations to the insured in those instances.  We will also address the situation where the carrier assigns counsel to defend its insured and the relationship that exists between the carrier, the insured and assigned counsel in that instance. We will discuss assigned counsel’s obligations to his/her clients and counsel’s recourse where the carrier’s position becomes adverse to that of the insured. We will provide practical tips to navigate conflict issues that may arise during the course of assigned counsel’s representation.  We will address these issues under New Jersey law and the law of select jurisdictions.   Insurance coverage attorneys, both in-house and outside counsel, and attorneys that represent insureds will benefit from this presentation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understanding the carrier’s duty to defend and the potential conflict that exists when the carrier defends under a reservation of rights
  2. The circumstances that implicate the insured’s right to select independent counsel
  3. The carrier’s obligation to the insured when the insured selects independent counsel
  4. Understanding the nature of the attorney-client relationship in the assigned counsel context
  5. Best practices for assigned counsel when dealing with the carrier and the insured
  6. Assigned counsel’s recourse when the carrier’s position is adverse to that of the insured

Program Outline:

  • The Duty to Defend And The Potential For Conflict
  • The Burd Doctrine and Relevant Cases/Authority
  • The Circumstances Surrounding The Insured’s Selection of Independent Counsel
  • The Carrier’s Obligation to the Insured When The Insured Selects Independent Counsel
  • The Relationship Between the Carrier, the Insured and Assigned Counsel
  • Assigned Counsel’s Recourse When Confronted With  A Conflict Between The Carrier and The Insured
  • Relevant Cases/Authority
  • Best Practices for Assigned Counsel

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