Alternative Dispute Resolution

Insurance Dispute

Summary: The plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident and obtained a $487,000 jury verdict against the defendant.  The defendant, who appealed, had primary insurance coverage up to $100,000 and excess insurance that covered $150,000 or more, which left a $50,000 gap that had to be bridged. Because the likelihood of success on his appeal was minimal, the defendant threatened to sue his insurance broker for selling him policies that left him with a coverage gap.  The mediation occurred prior to briefing on appeal.  In addition to the plaintiff and defendant, the primary and excess carriers participated in the mediation, as did the carrier for the defendant’s broker. The defendant did not wish to contribute to the gap; all of the insurance carriers insisted that the gap was his responsibility.

Result: We successfully mediated a multi-party case after judgment for the plaintiff and while the case was on appeal. After two days of settlement negotiations, the defendant and each of the carriers agreed to contribute to bridging the gap. The plaintiff agreed to waive the interest that had accrued since the date of judgment.

Martin H. Dodd (acting as neutral mediator)