Francis v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 12-1563 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs brought this action in Maryland state court seeking a declaration as to Allstate's duty under a renters insurance policy to defend and indemnify plaintiffs in a tort suit brought against them, and others. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to Allstate, concluding that Allstate did not have a duty to defend. The court held that Maryland law applied to the issue of whether Allstate had a duty to defend plaintiffs if Maryland law would apply without the choice-of-law provision in the policy; according to Maryland's lex loci contractus rule for choice-of-law decisions, California law governed the analysis of whether Allstate had a duty to defend plaintiffs in the underlying action; and the court rejected plaintiffs' argument that Allstate nonetheless owed them a duty to defend under the policy. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.