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Deutsche Bank National Association v. First American Title Insurance Company (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-124-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11265   DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION,[1] trustee,[2]  vs.  FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY.     Suffolk.     March 7, 2013.  ‑  July 11, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Insurance, Title insurance, Insurer’s obligation to defend.  Real Property, Title insurance.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 11, 2009.   The case was heard by S. Jane Haggerty, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Richard E. Briansky (Jeffrey J. Pyle with him) for the plaintiff. Jason A. Manekas for the defendant.     CORDY, J.  In the present appeal, we consider whether the terms of a title insurance policy require First American Title Insurance Company (First American) to defend Deutsche Bank National Association (Deutsche Bank) in a lawsuit brought by a third party, Karla Brown,[3] seeking rescission of a note and first mortgage securing that note, originated by Deutsche Bank’s predecessor in interest in connection with the purchase of Brown’s home.  Following First American’s denial of coverage, Deutsche Bank instituted this action seeking a judgment declaring that First American has a duty to defend it in Brown’s lawsuit and seeking statutory damages.  We transferred the case here on our own motion following Deutsche Bank’s appeal from a Superior Court judge’s order granting summary judgment in favor of First American.   On appeal, Deutsche Bank argues that the policy is susceptible to an interpretation that it covers the claims alleged in Brown’s complaint and that two exclusions contained within the policy do not preclude coverage.[4]  Based on these arguments, Deutsche Bank contends that First American is under a contractual duty to defend it in the Brown lawsuit.  In addition, Deutsche Bank renews its claim for damages under G. L. c. 93A due to First American’s alleged violation of G. L. c. 176D, § 3.[5]  In response, First American argues that the allegations in Brown’s complaint do not trigger its duty to defend because they relate to a predatory lending scheme concerning the validity of the underlying note and not the enforceability of Deutsche Bank’s mortgage interest.  Alternatively, First American argues that it need not defend Deutsche Bank because Brown’s claims are excluded by the policy.  For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the allegations in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

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