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Jeff Davis quoted in article “Abbott Ruling Dulls Insurers’ ‘Knowing Violation’ Sword”

Law360.com

Below is an excerpt:

Jeffrey O. Davis, chair of Quarles & Brady LLP’s insurance recovery group, said the Wisconsin high court’s ruling could make it easier for policyholders to secure defense coverage in cases in which “patterns of intentional conduct are alleged, but the complaint pleads claims that don’t require intentional conduct as an element.”

By way of example, Davis said, plaintiffs in invasion-of-privacy, defamation, environmental contamination and toxic tort suits often focus the bulk of their allegations on defendants’ intentional conduct, but they may also assert causes of action that require only proof of mere negligence or recklessness.

"This decision makes clear that those types of allegations will not eliminate the insurer’s duty to defend, if there is the potential for liability based on something less than intentional conduct,' he said, '[and it] makes less likely the anomalous situation where there is indemnity coverage under the policy but no defense coverage. It brings an insurer’s duty to defend in line with its potential indemnity obligations."

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