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Allianz loses decision against apartment company



An Allianz entity that waited 18 months after a complaint was filed to reserve the right to seek coverage for criminal damages is liable to pay a price of $ 1.95 million for criminal damages, in a case involving a young woman who was injured by a faulty furnace in her apartment that exposed her to carbon monoxide gas has an appeal court ruled.

The young college student who was injured, Amber Lompe, won a lawsuit against her landlord and its management company, Hayward, California-based Apartment Management. Consultants LLC, and was awarded $ 3 million in damages and $ 25.5 million in punitive damages, of which $ 22.5 million was awarded to AMC, according to Thursday's ruling by the 1

0th U.S. District Court in Denver in Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. v. Apartment Management Consultants LLC.

The 10th Circuit later dropped the penalty against Sunridge and reduced the penalty against AMC to $ 1.95 million. Lake City, Utah-based Sunridge Partners LLC, including $ 1 million in general liability insurance and a total insurance limit of $ 2 million, which included the express exclusion of damages.

Interstate also issued a $ 10 million in excess liability policy and a total limit of $ 10 million that followed the form of the underlying primary policy, but did not include a specific exclusion of damages, according to the decision.

Although Lompe filed a complaint in the case in May 2012 and Interstate accepted its defense 10 days later, “Interstate does not reserve its right to waive damages until November 20, 2013 – eighteen months after the complaint was filed, one month after the district court denied AMC and Sunridge & # 39 ;s request for a summary judgment, and only eleven days before the jury trial began, ”the decision states.

During this 18-month term, "Lompe made a clear and unequivocal offer to settle within the primary policy" and AMC "made three separate demands that Interstate resolve the matter, but Interstate refused," the decision said.
In December 2013, Interstate brought an action before the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, Wyoming, requesting a declaration that it had no liability for damages under either its primary or exaggerated policies.

The district court ruled Interstate and was upheld by a three-judge appellate court panel. "Interstate claims that because the AMC knew of the exclusion of criminal damages, no prejudice was caused to its related rights," the decision said.

"But this argument ignores the inherent nature of the prejudices arising from relinquishing control of the defense to the insurer. As the district court found, although punitive damages were discussed in correspondence between Interstate and AMC, AMC did not know Interstate's intent to rely on the exclusion of punitive damages, "it said.

" We see no error in the district court's decision. of prejudice "requiring Interstate to" shoulder the burden of any liability arising from disputes which it has deliberately chosen to control ", was cited in reference to a previous case.

The judgment also stated that" Interstate seeks to rely on " follows the form "provision in the agreement to incorporate the primary policy's exclusion of punitive damages into the surplus policy" as the exclusion applied to the surplus of the police.

However, it said that to pay AMC's "ultimate net loss" over the overall limit of the primary policy would be inconsistent with the provisions of excessive policies that agree to provide such coverage. "

Lawyers in the case could not be reached for comment.

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