Great American E&S Ins. Co. v. Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.Annotate this Case
After the estate of a former resident sued a nursing home for negligent care, the primary insurance carrier hired lawyers to defend the suit. Because the lawyers failed to timely designate an expert witness, the settlement value of the case greatly increased, causing the nursing home's primary carrier to pay its policy limits, and its excess insurance carrier to step in, defend the nursing home, and ultimately settle the suit. The excess carrier sued the law firm for professional negligence, both directly and under a theory of equitable subrogation. The trial court, finding the excess carrier and the lawyers had no direct attorney-client relationship, granted the law firm's motion to dismiss. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that under the facts of this case, the doctrine of equitable subrogation applied, and the excess carrier could, to the extent of its losses, pursue a claim against the lawyers to the same extent as the insured. Furthermore, the Court held that the excess carrier failed to allege a sufficient factual basis for a direct claim of professional negligence against the law firm.