Sanders v. Phoenix Insurance Co., No. 15-2539 (1st Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The Phoenix Insurance Company refused to defend and/or indemnify its named insured, an attorney referred to as “John Doe,” against claims advanced by Harry Sanders. Suing in his capacity as executor of the estate of Nancy Andersen and as Doe’s assignee, Sanders brought this diversity suit alleging primarily that Pheonix forsook its duty to defend Doe against the claims advanced by Sanders. The district court dismissed Sanders’s complaint for failure to state a claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) under the circumstances of this case, Pheonix’s duty to defend was never triggered and, thus, never breached; and (2) Sanders’s other theories of liability were unavailing.