Oral argument – Miss.S.Ct. – August 25, 2014

At 1:30 p.m., the Miss. S.Ct. will hear argument in an insurance coverage case,  Minn. Life ins. v. Columbia Casualty –  In 1998 and 1999, several lawsuits were filed against  Minn. Life and some former agents of Minn. Life and  Gulley, a general agent for Minn. Life, alleging that Gulley misappropriated money from investors.   Cross claims were filed between  the former agents and Minn. Life.  Columbia Casualty refused to defend the former agents or Minn. Life and Columbia Casualty and CNA Financial were brought in as third party defendants.  Minn. Life then filed a cross claim against the CNA defendants.  The litigation spanned years (Minn. Life and the former agents ended up settling the lawsuits that spawned the litigation) with the trial court eventually granting motions for summary judgment for CNA.  The former agents and Minn. Life appealed arguing that CNA had a duty to defend the former agents under either the ERP Provision or the Excess Coverage provision and a duty to defend Minn. Life under the Vicarious Liability Provision.

The briefs are over 100 pages each so my summary does not exactly capture the complexity of the issues.  But for the law/insurance geeks considering whether to watch this argument ,consider this:  in its request for oral argument, Minn. Life states that the case will give the Court a chance to further clarify the types of damages recoverable in breach of contract cases. 

Minn. Life’s and former agents’ brief     

CNA’s brief

Minn. Life and former agents reply brief

Link to live webcast  

The panel is composed of Justices Randolph, Kitchens and Lamar.

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