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Paul N. Tranel Obtains Affirmation of Coverage Denial from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals


On September 27, 2012, the Ninth Circuit issued a Memorandum Opinion affirming the District Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the firm’s clients, Defendants First National Insurance Company and American States Insurance Company, in a coverage denial case.  See Conley v. First Nat’l Ins. Co. of Am., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20281. 

The Plaintiffs in the case, Dale and Karen Conley, had obtained a $3.7 million consent judgment after the Defendants had denied coverage to their insured in the underlying state court case.  After obtaining the consent judgment, the Conley Plaintiffs filed suit in federal district court in Missoula alleging Defendants wrongly denied coverage and violated Montana’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The district court granted summary judgment in Defendant’s favor, finding there was no covered “bodily injury” or “property damage” alleged in the underlying state court complaint.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed, reasoning that the allegation of “anxiety” was insufficient to trigger “bodily injury” coverage under the policy. 

The case was briefed and argued to the Ninth Circuit by partner Paul Tranel.