POLICIES DID NOT REQUIRE THE INSURER TO DEFEND THE INSURED, BUT DID REQUIRE THE INSURER TO PAY THE INSURED’S DEFENSE COSTS (FIRST DEPT).
The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Friedman, determined that the terms of the policies at issue did not obligate the insurer to defend the insured, but do require the insurer to pay the insured’s defense costs. The opinion is too fact-specific and too comprehensive to fairly summarize here:
In this insurance coverage action brought by a putative additional insured, the liability insurance policies at issue do not impose on the insurers a duty to defend the insured in a covered action. The policies do, however, require the insurers to reimburse the insured for defense costs incurred in an action “in which damages . . . to which this insurance applies are alleged.” The ultimate factual determination in the underlying personal injury actions was that the loss was actually outside the scope of the additional insured coverage. This determination, while it means that the insurers have no duty to indemnify the putative additional insured for its liability to pay damages, is not conclusive of a different question posed to us, which is whether the putative additional insured is entitled reimbursement of its defense costs. * * *
Under the terms of the … policy, the timing of the Port Authority’s demand for reimbursement does not defeat its claim for reimbursement of its defense costs through the time its liability was adjudicated in the underlying actions. … [The] policy entitles the insured to coverage of the costs it incurred in defending “any . . . suit’ to which this policy applies,” and the policy defines the term “suit” to mean an action “in which damages because of bodily injury’ . . . to which this insurance applies are alleged” … . … [U]ntil the jury rendered the verdict adverse to the Port Authority, each of the underlying actions remained a ” suit’ to which th[e] … policy applie[d]” … . Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J. v Brickman Group Ltd., LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 08958, First Dept 12-12-19