Posts tagged "Chamberland"

Chamberland v. Arbella Mutual Insurance Company (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-077-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   16-P-861                                        Appeals Court   HEATHER CHAMBERLAND  vs.  ARBELLA MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY.     No. 16-P-861.   Bristol.     February 1, 2017. – June 9, 2017.   Present:  Carhart, Massing, & Henry, JJ.[1]     Insurance, Underinsured motorist, Arbitration.  Contract, Insurance, Arbitration.  Waiver.  Collateral Estoppel.  Judgment, Preclusive effect.  Arbitration.  Practice, Civil, Summary judgment, Waiver.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March 4, 2015.   The case was heard by Robert J. Kane, J., on motions for summary judgment.     Peter E. Heppner (Andrew Hart Lynch also present) for the defendant. Ronald J. Resmini for the plaintiff.     HENRY, J.  This case highlights the intricacies of the framework for underinsured motorist claims in Massachusetts, which provides that the insured and the insurer must either agree on the resolution of the claim or arbitrate.  The plaintiff, Heather Chamberland, pursued a lengthy civil action against the other driver involved in the underlying accident and obtained a large judgment and eventually a settlement in the amount of that driver’s policy limits.  Her underinsurance carrier, Arbella Mutual Insurance Company, was not a party to that action, though it consented to the settlement.  Chamberland then sought underinsured motorist coverage from Arbella, which invoked arbitration.  On cross motions for summary judgment, a  Superior Court judge held that Arbella’s invocation of arbitration was untimely, and thus Arbella had waived its right to arbitrate.  The motion judge further held that, as a result of the damages award that Chamberland had secured against the other driver at trial, Arbella was collaterally estopped from contesting issues of liability and damages in connection with Chamberland’s underinsurance claim.  Arbella appealed.  We reverse because, notwithstanding the significant amount of time that passed before Arbella’s demand for arbitration, Arbella did not act inconsistently with its statutory and policy-based right to arbitrate.  As such, there is no basis for a finding of waiver of that right. Background.  The following undisputed facts are drawn from the summary judgment record.  On July 16, 2007, Chamberland was injured in an accident while operating a motor vehicle insured under a policy issued by Arbella.  The other vehicle involved in the accident was operated by Dylon Maiorano and insured under a policy issued by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.  Arbella was notified of the accident, and by October 3, 2007, confirmed in writing that Chamberland’s underinsurance (part […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Chamberland v. Arbella Mutual Insurance Company (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-077-17)

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   16-P-861                                        Appeals Court   HEATHER CHAMBERLAND  vs.  ARBELLA MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY.     No. 16-P-861.   Bristol.     February 1, 2017. – June 9, 2017.   Present:  Carhart, Massing, & Henry, JJ.[1]     Insurance, Underinsured motorist, Arbitration.  Contract, Insurance, Arbitration.  Waiver.  Collateral Estoppel.  Judgment, Preclusive effect.  Arbitration.  Practice, Civil, Summary judgment, Waiver.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March 4, 2015.   The case was heard by Robert J. Kane, J., on motions for summary judgment.     Peter E. Heppner (Andrew Hart Lynch also present) for the defendant. Ronald J. Resmini for the plaintiff.     HENRY, J.  This case highlights the intricacies of the framework for underinsured motorist claims in Massachusetts, which provides that the insured and the insurer must either agree on the resolution of the claim or arbitrate.  The plaintiff, Heather Chamberland, pursued a lengthy civil action against the other driver involved in the underlying accident and obtained a large judgment and eventually a settlement in the amount of that driver’s policy limits.  Her underinsurance carrier, Arbella Mutual Insurance Company, was not a party to that action, though it consented to the settlement.  Chamberland then sought underinsured motorist coverage from Arbella, which invoked arbitration.  On cross motions for summary judgment, a  Superior Court judge held that Arbella’s invocation of arbitration was untimely, and thus Arbella had waived its right to arbitrate.  The motion judge further held that, as a result of the damages award that Chamberland had secured against the other driver at trial, Arbella was collaterally estopped from contesting issues of liability and damages in connection with Chamberland’s underinsurance claim.  Arbella appealed.  We reverse because, notwithstanding the significant amount of time that passed before Arbella’s demand for arbitration, Arbella did not act inconsistently with its statutory and policy-based right to arbitrate.  As such, there is no basis for a finding of waiver of that right. Background.  The following undisputed facts are drawn from the summary judgment record.  On July 16, 2007, Chamberland was injured in an accident while operating a motor vehicle insured under a policy issued by Arbella.  The other vehicle involved in the accident was operated by Dylon Maiorano and insured under a policy issued by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.  Arbella was notified of the accident, and by October 3, 2007, confirmed in writing that Chamberland’s underinsurance (part […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,