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Judge Jurden Denies Post-Trial Motions in Insurance Coverage Dispute

October 24, 2017

In TIAA-CREF v. Illinois National Insurance Company, C.A. No. N14C-05-178 JRJ [CCLD], Judge Jurden denied various post-trial motions. This insurance coverage dispute arose from TIAA’s settlement of an underlying action related to TIAA’s activities in providing mutual fund-like investment accounts and investment management services to teachers, professors, and others in academic, research, and medical fields. Four months after settlement, TIAA requested that the defendants cover the previous action. After the defendants refused coverage, TIAA instituted the instant action. Following trial, the jury found against TIAA in relation to Zurich, in favor of TIAA in relation to Arch, and in favor of TIAA in relation to the reasonableness and necessity of defense costs with respect to defendant Illinois National Insurance Company.

The Court denied the plaintiffs’ renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law. The plaintiffs argued that no reasonable jury would have found that Zurich did not waive its notice and consent defenses. Judge Jurden disagreed and held that “the evidence at trial and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom could justify a jury verdict in favor of Zurich on its notice and consent defenses.”

Judge Jurden also denied defendant Illinois National Insurance Company’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law that the costs incurred by TIAA were reasonable and necessary. Although Illinois National argued that the plaintiffs failed to produce evidence sufficient to prove certain defense costs, Judge Jurden disagreed and found that the testimony of certain witnesses was acceptable on this issue.

Finally, the Court denied Arch’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, a new trial. Among other things, Judge Jurden held that Arch was not prejudiced during various stages of litigation.

Analysis: Jury verdicts are rarely disturbed. This decision highlights the Court’s willingness to sift through the evidence submitted at trial in a complex insurance coverage dispute in order to confirm the jury’s verdict.

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