Defense Secured for Non-Profit Norcal Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Pillsbury & Coleman partner Ryan Opgenorth and his team successfully compelled insurance carrier Great American to defend its non-profit insured Norcal Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing in an action pending in Sacramento County Superior Court.  The defense was owed under a Directors & Officers Liability Policy that required claims to be first made and reported within the policy period.  Great American, however, refused to provide a defense claiming that it did not have proper notice under the terms and conditions of the Policy.  Mr. Opgenorth and his team convinced Great American that notice was in fact proper under the Policy’s extended reporting period thereby triggering a duty to defend.

Not only did Great American reverse its denial of coverage and provide a defense, but Great American further agreed to credit previously incurred defense fees toward exhaustion of the Policy’s self-insured retention.  Great American initially claimed that these amounts were “voluntary payments” and were incurred outside of the Policy’s coverage.  However, Mr. Opgenorth and his team explained that these attorneys’ fees were incurred out of necessity as a direct result of Great American’s wrongful refusal to defend and were thus covered by the Policy.  After some pushback, justice was achieved for this non-profit client who can now return to helping the deaf and hard of hearing in Northern California.