Amicus Committee Activity - Cases Decided: Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company

WDC Journal Edition: December 2001
By: James Naugler

Town of Mt. Pleasant v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, et al, 2001 WI App. 38, 241 Wis. 2d 327, 625 N.W. 2d 317

The Town of Mt. Pleasant retained counsel, defended and settled a lawsuit. After settling the claim, the township discovered a Hartford insurance policy that provided coverage for the period of the underlying claim. After discovering the policy, the Town of Mt. Pleasant demanded Hartford Insurance reimburse the township for its settlement costs and defense costs. The township claimed that since Hartford represented an unrelated defendant in the underlying lawsuit, Hartford should have known it insured the township and should have offered to defend and indemnify Mt. Pleasant.

The trial court held that notice of a claim giving an insurer an opportunity to investigate and defend the claim after the claim is defended without approval of the insurer contrary to the policy provisions is too little too late. The court of appeals agreed, holding that Hartford did not have proper notice that the Town was a named defendant and desired a defense. Petition for Review denied. CTCW member Susan Tyndall of CMT Legal Group led CTCW's successful support of the trial court's decision.