Maniloff, Sotomayor and Insurance Coverage Law

Just too funny not to post this today, even though this was supposed to be a post-free Friday while I finish up a brief. Randy Maniloff of White and Williams has done a (mock) thorough piece of opposition research into the new Supreme Court nominee and discovered, somewhat apparently to his shock, that her rulings reflect a consistent trend of finding in favor of insurers, rather than insureds, on coverage and bad faith issues that have come before her. His piece detailing this is here.

My take? The decisions and quotes Randy highlights reflect a focus by the judge on the specific facts of the cases and on the details of specific insurance coverage doctrines, rather than a looser approach of relying on easy maxims that tend to add up to nothing more than the tie goes to the runner, which in this area means the insured, such as “ambiguous provisions must be construed against the insurance company.” When you focus on the facts of the cases and the details of this area of the law, you don’t end up with any sort of an insured oriented bias, and instead you often find that the insurer’s decision is upheld because the insurer used that same focus in the first instance in making its own decision with regard to coverage.

Kudos to Randy, for again using humor to shed some light into the dark corners of insurance coverage law, this time, whether intentionally or not, on the extent to which judicial approach affects the outcome of coverage cases.

Thanks to Point of Law for passing his piece along.