President’s Message

The American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel recognizes the preeminent leaders in the field of insurance coverage law. It unites policyholder and insurer-side counsel with academicians to achieve a common purpose: advancing the administration of justice while promoting the highest standards of advocacy in coverage and extracontractual disputes. The ACCEC calls on its almost 300 Fellows to exemplify the qualities of excellence, civility and professionalism in this critical area of the law.


Mary McCutcheon, ACCEC President

December 2018

Dear ACCEC Fellows:

2018 Law School Symposium

The College presented its Fifth Annual Law Symposium “What’s in a Name? an Examination of ‘Named’ Legal Doctrines in Insurance Coverage” – at the American Washington College of Law on October 28, 2018.  Many thanks to Bob Kelly, Helen Michael and Scott Godes for assembling seven panels of experts who lived up to the promise of providing insights into doctrines that effect all of us in our practices across the country. Once again, the symposium featured the best in our profession addressing tough questions in professional, creative and collaborative manner.  The materials can be accessed here.

The panelists presented on the following timely – and timeless – topics:

Estoppel by Any Other Name:  The Meaning of this Doctrine in Insurance Law

Laura Foggan
Jodi McDougall
John Vishneski III

The presenters  explored the complex ties of the estoppel doctrine as applied where an insurer fails to defend or defends without adequately reserving rights.  They also addressed the drafting history of the ALI Restatement on Estoppel.

“Stowers” and the Art of Turning the Table on an Insurer with a Policy Limits Settlement Demand

Robert Allen
Julia Molander
Vince Morgan

The panel explored and discussed the history, development, strategy, and practice involved in an insurer’s duty to settle a claim against an insured within the policy limits-- and the consequences of failing to do so. In Texas, the concept of an insurer’s potential liability in excess of its policy limits for failing to settle a case within limits is called the “Stowers” doctrine. A photo of the “Stowers” building (shown here), along with other historical materials from that case such as the jury charge, were included in the slide presentation.

The Art of the Deal Doctrines:  So Many Doctrines in So Little Time

Michael Huddleston
Meghan Magruder
Charles Spevacek

This panel examined named doctrines for working with “deals” used to extricate an insured from a potential or actual excess judgment, including discussion of Gandy, Damron, Coblenz, Miller-Schugart, Crist/Johansson Arrangement.  It covered practical, ethical and legal issues presented by such arrangements and the attacks made on them by carriers. To this California policyholder’s shock, it also discussed situations where an  insurer can settle out covered claims without resolving the entire action.

How Will the ALI’s New Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance Shape the Future of Coverage Disputes?

Michael Aylward
John Buchanan, III
Harold Kim
, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Lorelie Masters
William Shelley

The Restatement of Law, Liability Insurance is the first Restatement devoted specifically to a single industry.  For our luncheon presentation, ALI members who were active in the development and debate concerning this Restatement discussed its most important and controversial provisions and forecasted its implications for shaping the future of insurance coverage litigation. 

From Keene to Carter-Wallace, from Boston Gas to Owens-Illinois:  The Clear Winner in the “Named Doctrine” Contest

Georgia Kazakis
Stephen Pate
Scott Seaman

Steve Pate moderated a dialogue between Georgia Kazakis and Scott Seaman on the competing allocation doctrines for “long-tail” claims, along with issues such as the impact of “prior insurance” and “other insurance” clauses, the mechanism for exhaustion of underlying layers of coverage, the differences between allocation of defense versus indemnity, and responsibility for uninsured/underinsured periods.

Independent Counsel and the Tripartite Relationship:  The Cumis Doctrine and Others Entitling Insureds to Pick Their Own Lawyers and Control Their Defense.

David Anderson
Troy Froderman
Susan Harwood
Mary McCurdy

This panel examined the tripartite relationship that is created between the policyholder, its insurer, and defense counsel when an insurer retains defense counsel to defend its policyholder.  It discussed various circumstances that can create conflicts of interest for defense counsel that entitle the policyholder to select independent defense counsel with no ties to the insurer, focusing on how the states of Illinois, Florida, California, and Arizona address the respective rights and duties of the parties in this context.

Jurisdictional and Venue Considerations in Insurance Coverage Litigation:  The “Colorado River” Runs Through It

John Heintz
Edward Parks
Caroline Spangenberg
Koorosh Talieh

The panel examined the application of judicial abstention doctrines, forum non conveniens and related venue principles, and personal jurisdiction requirements in the context of competing insurance coverage actions in state and federal courts, with practice pointers on how to get “first crack” at resolving coverage disputes in the preferred forum.

Regional Meetings

We hope you're taking advantage of the opportunity to meet with other fellows in your region, to plan local events and identify potential new Fellows for College.  Many thanks to Spence Taylor and Jodi McDougall for their organizing efforts.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning continues, with this year focused on member and community engagement.  Look forward to more news in our next Newsletter.

Mary McCutcheon