176D Year in Review – 2019


Sean Carnathan

  • Consent-to-settle provisions, requiring an insurer to get the informed consent of its insured before settling any claim under a professional liability insurance policy are lawful in Massachusetts and an insurer does not violate Chapter 176D by honoring that contractual right, even if liability is reasonably clear
  • The insurer’s statutory obligation to investigate claims has teeth and can be the basis for substantial liability
  • A stipulated judgment between a third-party claimant and the insured will not necessarily be honored by the court as the measure of damages in a subsequent bad faith action against the insurer
  • Bad faith litigation conduct may be a basis for Chapter 176D/93A liability for an insurer, but the line between “holding an opponent to the rules” and going too far is unsettled
  • Obtaining and enforcing a default judgment against the insured may be a mistake that will haunt a third-party claimant when it comes time to pursue insurance coverage

O’Connor, Carnathan and Mack LLC is a commercial litigation law firm located in Burlington, Massachusetts that helps companies and individuals resolve complex business disputes, insurance coverage disputes, and personal injury claims. Our legal team includes top-flight commercial litigation attorneys as well as dedicated personal injury lawyers. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as closely-held businesses and astute individuals. We believe every client deserves the finest representation possible for a fee they can afford. Accordingly, we offer our services at rational hourly rates and on a contingency fee basis, devise our strategies to fit the amount at stake, and are open to creative alternative fee arrangements as well. Our attorneys serve clients in Middlesex County and Suffolk County, as well as throughout Massachusetts and New England. Contact us to learn more.