Looking Ahead: Insurance Law Cases in the Washington Supreme Court

At least three cases involving insurance law issues are pending in the Washington Supreme Court:

1. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Onvia, Inc. The issue is whether an insured has a cause of action against its liability insurer for bad faith based on violation of claims handling regulations or the Consumer Protection Act even though a court has held that the insurer has no contractual duty to defend, settle, or indemnify the insured. The court will answer a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Oral arguments in this case were heard on February 28, 2008.

2. Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Co. v. U.S.F. Insurance Co. The issue is whether insurers who settled with an insured on a liability claim and were assigned the insured’s rights may make a late tender of the claim to a nonsettling coinsurer and receive the benefit of the late tender rule to maintain an action for contribution against the nonsettling insurer. The court is reviewing a decision by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One. Oral arguments in this case were heard on March 20, 2008.

3. Cornhusker Casualty Insurance Co. v. Brooks Samples. The issue is whether notice of an insurance policy cancellation sent by certified mail satisfied the “mailed” requirement of former RCW 48.18.290 (1997) where the insured did not receive the notice. The court will answer a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The date for oral arguments in this case has not been set.


The Washington State Insurance Law Blog will report on the court’s decisions in these cases once they are filed.