Mediating the Insurance Coverage Case

In general the approach to mediation of an insurance coverage case is similar to other substantive areas of the law.  The difference is in the analysis of the insurance policies, the cases, and the rules of interpretation.  Without any question, insurance policies are the most difficult and least understood contracts in general use and they…

The Letterman List

Each week I set aside time to gather information about the mediation process that I believe my colleagues will find useful.  As a mediator and former litigation partner, I understand the issues and concerns that affect the parties and aim to be a reliable resource for all things mediation. That being said, add this to…

A Lesson In Insurance Policy Interpretation

How should an experienced Southern California mediator review an insurance policy? In a recent article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Superior Court Judge Rex Heeseman, author of the Rutter California Insurance Guide, gave some very valuable advice with respect to interpreting insurance policies.  According to Judge Heeseman: evaluate the whole insurance policy in order to interpret specific terms within it.
The recent California case of Wallman v. Suddock 200 Cal. App. 4th 1288 (2011) is the subject of the article.  Judge Heeseman points out that rather than argue that a specific term is ambiguous (in this case the phrase in an excess policy, “To Be Determined,” as a reference to the underlying primary policies), look at the entire policy.  Judge Heeseman believes that the question is not whether the term is ambiguous in the abstract, but whether it is ambiguous in the context of the specific policy.

Preparing Your Client for Mediation

Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular form of alternative dispute resolution. As more litigants turn to an experienced mediator to assist them in resolving their issues, it is important for attorneys to properly prepare their clients for the mediation process. Whether your client is an in house lawyer familiar with the mediation process or a first…