Thursday, June 4, 2009

Superior Court rules that businesses are not entitled to bring claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A § 9 for violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D

As I posted here, consumers can bring an action against an insurance company for violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A § 9 if the insurer violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D. Businesses, however, cannot. They must show that the actions of the insurance company violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A § 11, and a violation of 176D is not an automatic violation of § 11.

The Massachusetts Superior Court recently reaffirmed that distinction. In Watt's Water Techs.,Inc. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., the insured businesses argued that they were entitled to bring a suit against insurers pursuant to § 9 because § 9 states "any person whose rights are affected by another person violating the provisions of clause (9) of section three of chapter one hundred seventy six D may bring an action in the superior court."

Judge Hinckle held that that language does not permit a business plaintiff to sue under § 9 for a violation of 176D.

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