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Paradigm Ins. Co. v. Langerman Law Offices

Arizona Supreme Court
24 P.3d 593 (2001)


Renee Taylor filed a medical malpractice suit against Dr. Benjamin Vanderwerf and Samaritan Transplant Service (Samaritan). Paradigm Insurance Company (Paradigm) (plaintiff), the insurer that provided the malpractice insurance policy covering Vanderwerf, assigned the case to Langerman Law Offices (Langerman) (defendant) to defend Vanderwerf. Langerman failed to investigate whether Vanderwerf was covered by Samaritan’s insurance policy and, thus whether Samaritan could be responsible for the costs of Vanderwerf’s defense or potential damages. After a falling out between the parties, Paradigm terminated Langerman’s representation of Vanderwerf and retained new counsel. Vanderwerf’s new counsel learned that Samaritan possessed insurance to cover the claim. The malpractice suit was eventually settled using only Paradigm’s funds. Thereafter, Langerman filed suit against Paradigm for attorneys fees owed. Paradigm filed a counterclaim against Langerman for damages. The trial court granted Langerman’s motion for summary judgment. Paradigm appealed. The court of appeals reversed. The Arizona Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Feldman, J.)

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