Mass. Justices Told Atty Fee Award Must Be Covered

By Ganesh Setty (April 4, 2022, 9:15 PM EDT) -- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments Monday on whether an attorney fee award constitutes damages "because of" bodily injury, with the dispute appearing to hinge on whether a reasonable policyholder would interpret their policy that way in light of a narrow, inapplicable exclusion exception for such payments.

Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. argued the attorney fee award against its insureds falls outside its "because of" causation standard with respect to bodily injury claims. The recipient of the yet-to-be-paid award, Phyllis Maston, meanwhile highlighted how the policy did not specifically define the term "damages." The Massachusetts high court appeared hesitant to side with...

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