Cox v. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff purchased title insurance for a condominium unit she had recently purchased. Plaintiff's neighbor subsequently initiated a lawsuit against Plaintiff alleging that Plaintiff's property was subject to a view easement. Plaintiff tendered the complaint to her title insurance company (Insurer) requesting a defense pursuant to her title insurance policy. Commonwealth denied Plaintiff's request based on certain exclusions in the policy. Plaintiff sued Insurer alleging a breach of contract and requesting a declaratory judgment that Insurer had a duty to defend Plaintiff against her neighbor's complaint. The superior court granted Insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that the policy specifically excluded the view easement from coverage. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that due to the broad nature of the duty to defend and the law's requirement that insurance-policy interpretation be focused on the insured, Insurer had a duty to defend Plaintiff in the underlying litigation.