Posts tagged "Rass"

Rass Corporation v. The Travelers Companies, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-163-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   15-P-358                                        Appeals Court   RASS CORPORATION  vs.  THE TRAVELERS COMPANIES, INC., & another.[1]     No. 15-P-358.   Suffolk.     February 24, 2016. – November 10, 2016.   Present:  Katzmann, Maldonado, & Blake, JJ.[2]     Insurance, Coverage, Insurer’s obligation to defend, Notice, Settlement of claim, Unfair act or practice.  Notice, Insurance claim.  Commercial Disparagement.  Trade Secret. Libel and Slander.  Consumer Protection Act, Insurance, Unfair act or practice, Offer of settlement, Damages, Attorney’s fees.  Damages, Libel, Wrongful use of trade secret, Consumer protection case, Attorney’s fees.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on June 7, 2010.   Motions for summary judgment were heard by Janet L. Sanders, J., and the case was heard by her.     Anil Madan for the plaintiff. Michael F. Aylward for the defendants.     BLAKE, J.  At issue in the present case is whether the defendant insurance companies, The Travelers Companies, Inc., and Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (collectively Travelers), breached their duties to defend, indemnify, and settle in good faith, as to their insured, the plaintiff, Rass Corporation (Rass).  The underlying action, arising out of Rass’s decision to cut the underlying plaintiff out of its food marketing and distribution business, alleged that Rass’s principal had committed trade libel, defamation, and misappropriation of trade secrets.  After a three-month delay in notice, Travelers agreed to defend the case from that point forward under a reservation of rights that disclaimed coverage of the trade secrets claim, and subject to Traveler’s limit on defense counsel’s hourly rate.  Rass ultimately settled the case on its own, refusing the insurer’s offer to contribute a nominal amount conditioned on a waiver of Rass’s right to seek indemnification.  Thereafter, Rass commenced the present action against Travelers, seeking indemnity for the settlement and the reasonable attorney’s fees left unpaid by Travelers, and alleging violations of G. L. c. 93A. Following a bench trial in the Superior Court, the judge allocated $ 140,000 of the settlement to Travelers for indemnification of the covered claims and found that Travelers owed an additional $ 25,000 in reasonable attorney’s fees.  The judge also found that Travelers had committed violations of G. L. c. 93A based on its commission of unfair claim settlement practices.  In a summary judgment ruling issued prior to trial, the judge rejected Rass’s claim for attorney’s fees incurred prior to its notice of the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

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