Friday, November 6, 2009

U.S. District Court dodges question of whether insured can cure breach of duty to cooperate

In Miles v. Great Northern Ins. Co., 2009 WL 2998529 (D. Mass.), the insureds sought first-person coverage for fire damage. The insurer denied the claim on the ground the insureds had breached their duty to cooperate.

In a motion for summary judgment the insureds argued that although they initially did breach that duty, they cured the breach by later providing the requested documents.

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts noted that there is no controlling Massachusetts caselaw on whether a breach of the duty to cooperate can be cured prior to a court ruling that the insureds breached the duty (when it is clearly to late to cure).

The court chose not to rule on that question of law, holding instead that whether the insurer had suffered prejudice as a result of the insureds' initial breach was a question of fact.

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