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Laura Foggan Comments on Florida Supreme Court’s Policyholder Ruling

Law360
July 11, 2013

Laura A. Foggan, chair of Wiley Rein’s Insurance Appellate Group, was quoted by Law360 in a July 9 article about last week’s decision by the Florida Supreme Court supporting policyholders in matters where insurance policies are ambiguous.

In Washington National Insurance Corp. v. Sydelle Ruderman et al., the Florida high court ruled that justices are obliged to side with policyholders in disputes where the policies are unclear, without considering extrinsic evidence.

While the Florida Supreme Court agreed with policyholders in the case, Ms. Foggan told Law360 that there is still room for insurers to test the parameters of the ruling. She noted that large commercial policyholders sometimes are actively involved in policy negotiations, which could provide an opening for insurers to argue that courts should not automatically side with policyholders.

“We have to honor what the court has said in cases that are controlled by this decision,” said Ms. Foggan, who represented represented a trade group that submitted an amicus brief in support of Washington National Insurance. “On the other hand, you can legitimately test a new fact situation or a different set of circumstances.”

For more information, please contact Laura A. Foggan at 202.719.3382 or lfoggan@wileyrein.com.