Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-11987 (11th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In this case involving interpretation of an insurance policy under Georgia law, the court certified the following three questions to the Supreme Court of Georgia: (1) Under the facts of this case, and in the light of the Final Judgment and Order -- in the Underlying Suit -- approving of and authorizing and directing the implementation of the terms of the settlement agreement, is Piedmont “legally obligated to pay” the $4.9 million settlement amount, for purposes of qualifying for insurance coverage under the Excess Policy? (2) In a case like this one, when an insurance contract contains a "consent-to-settle" clause that provides expressly that the insurer's consent "shall not be unreasonably withheld," can a court determine, as a matter of law, that an insured who seeks (but fails) to obtain the insurer's consent before settling is flatly barred --whether consent was withheld reasonably or not-- from bringing suit for breach of contract or bad-faith failure to settle? Or must the issue of whether the insurer withheld unreasonably its consent be resolved first? (3) In this case, under Georgia law, was Piedmont's complaint dismissed properly?
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 23, 2015.