Anderson v. Aul
Wisconsin Supreme Court
862 N.W.2d 304 (2015)
Melissa and Kenneth Anderson (plaintiffs) sent a letter to their attorney, Thomas Aul (defendant), that in substance warned him to expect a malpractice claim. Aul had insurance through Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (WILMIC), but he did not notify WILMIC of the potential claim until nearly a year after his policy expired. Aul had a claims-made-and-reported policy, meaning Aul had to report the claim to WILMIC before the policy expired for WILMIC to cover the claim. The Andersons sued Aul and several of his companies (defendants) a year later. WILMIC intervened in the lawsuit and asked the court to determine whether the claim was covered. Wisconsin had a notice-prejudice statute that said late notice of a claim under a liability-insurance policy would not bar coverage, unless timely notice was reasonably possible, and the delay prejudiced the insurer. The trial court granted WILMIC summary judgment, but the appellate court reversed under the notice-prejudice statute, reasoning the delay had not prejudiced WILMIC. WILMIC appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Abrahamson, C.J.)
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