Boyle v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Joseph and Janice Boyle sued C&N Corporation. C&N held an insurance policy issued by Zurich American Insurance Company requiring that C&N provide notice to Zurich of any lawsuit brought against it. C&N did not notify Zurich about the lawsuit, but the Boyles’ counsel did. Zurich did not defend against the suit. Judgement by default was entered for the Boyles. The Boyles then sued Zurich, asserting the claims of C&N, which had assigned to the Boyles. A superior court judge ruled that Zurich breached its contractual duty to defend C&N. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) an insured’s failure to comply with a notice obligation in an insurance policy does not relieve the insurer of its duties under the policy unless the insurer demonstrates that it suffered prejudice as a result of the breach; and (2) the superior court judge did not err in determining that Zurich committed a breach of its contractual duty to defend C&N, as Zurich failed to show that it was prejudiced as a result of C&N’s failure to comply with the policy’s notice obligation in this case.