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Xu, et al. v. Donovan, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-066-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1584CV01625-BLS2 ____________________ EDWARD XU ppa Li Chen, LI CHEN, and PETER XU v. PAUL DONOVAN, TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER PARENT, INC., and TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER INDEMNITY COMPANY, LTD. ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT This dispute relates to a high/low agreement in a prior medical malpractice case. Plaintiffs had sued two doctors and a nurse who worked at Tufts Medical Center (“Tufts”). The parties to that prior action and Tufts agreed prior to the jury verdict that Plaintiffs would receive a maximum of $ 2.5 million for each defendant found to be liable and be paid $ 300,000 for each defendant found not to be liable. The jury found that the two physicians were liable for negligence and that the nurse was not. It award $ 24.43 million as damages against the doctors. In accord with the high/low agreement, Plaintiffs recovered only $ 5.3 million. Plaintiffs claim they were fraudulently induced to enter into the high/low agreement by representations that the available insurance was capped at $ 2.5 million per defendant, and that in reality there was an excess insurance policy that provided up to $ 30 million in coverage with no cap per defendant. They seek damages from the parent of the medical center (Tufts Medical Center Parent, Inc., or TMCP), the captive insurer that issued the primary and excess insurance policies (Tufts Medical Center Indemnity Co., Ltd., or TMCIC), and Paul Donovan, who is a Senior Claims Administrator for Tufts and signed the high/low agreement on its behalf. TMCP and TMCIC assert a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment stating that the total insurance coverage available for the claims in the underlying malpractice case, including both the primary and excess insurance policies, was capped at $ 2.5 million per person per claim or medical incident. TMCP, TMCIC, and Donovan move for summary judgment on all claims and counterclaims. The Court concludes that TMCP, TMCIC, and Donovan are entitled to summary judgment in their favor. The excess and primary insurance policies – 2 – unambiguously provide that the maximum coverage for the doctors and nurse sued in the prior action was $ 2.5 million per individual defendant. TMCP and TMCIC are entitled to a declaratory judgment to that effect. And Plaintiffs’ claims against all Defendants for fraud and for committing unfair and deceptive practices in violation of G.L. c. 93A, and its separate claim against Donovan only for negligence, all fail as a matter of law. 1. Parsing the Insurance Policies. 1.1. Reading Unambiguous Policy Language. “[C]onstruing the language of an insurance contract is a question of law for the trial judge,” and therefore is appropriate for resolution on a […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

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