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Abbott Ruling Dulls Insurers' 'Knowing Violation' Sword

Law360 (March 6, 2019, 8:20 PM EST) -- Insurers may have a harder time defeating certain duty-to-defend claims after the Wisconsin high court recently ruled that a medical supplier's carrier must defend it in a sprawling suit brought by Abbott Laboratories, saying a common exclusion for policyholders’ “knowing violations” of others’ rights didn’t necessarily vanquish the right to coverage.

In a Feb. 28 opinion, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision that West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. has a duty to defend policyholder Ixthus Medical Supply Inc., which is among more than 100 medical supply distributors and pharmacies named as defendants in Abbott’s underlying action. The drugmaker...

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