What Has Changed…
A lot has happened since we opened our new office in Beverly Hills. While our office
concentrates primarily on first and third party real property insurance cases, we are also handling
suits against Homeowners Associations, the City of Los Angeles, and some collections work.
Many of you may not know it, but we changed the law in California when we were able to
convince the California Supreme Court that each individual insured in a homeowners insurance
policy has the right to be judged by their own conduct and not that of a co-insured in making a
claim. In that case, the insureds had a mentally disturbed adult son who burned down their home.
Their insurance company decided that they should not be paid because the acts of their son are
attributed to them based on the policy language. The Supreme Court ruled that the parents were
innocent co-insureds and were innocent of any wrongdoing in the cause of the fire and were
entitled to have their home fixed and that the language of their policy was improper.
We also have several cases against Homeowners Associations. The root cause is usually the
same: the Homeowners Association is reluctant to take responsibility for a common area caused
loss to an owner’s unit. In an interesting twist, we also have several cases pending against the
City of Los Angeles resulting from sewer backups and city pipes causing property damage.
Lastly, once in a while, we handle cases against insurance agents or brokers. Those cases are
tougher as the law tends to give these professionals more protection than you would expect. If
your problem is with the agent, then usually its principal, the insurance company can pick up
liability. If your problem is with the broker, then your recovery can only be against the broker.
The problems we see in this area are either under-insurance coverage or the wrong coverage for