Fire Insurance Exchange v. OltmannsAnnotate this Case
The court of appeals did not err in concluding that the denial of Robert Oltmanns’ insurance claim by his insurer, Fire Insurance Exchange, was “fairly debatable,” thus negating Oltmanns’ demand for attorney fees and expenses for a coverage dispute and appeal.
When Oltmanns was named as a defendant in a personal injury case he filed a claim with Fire Insurance. Fire Insurance brought a declaratory judgment action to determine whether the claim was covered under Oltmanns’ policy. The court of appeals ruled that the claim was covered. Oltmanns, in turn, filed a counterclaim seeking attorney fees for the declaratory judgment action on the grounds that it was brought in bad faith. The district court granted summary judgment for Fire Insurance, finding that the insurer’s actions were reasonable because the coverage issue was “fairly debatable.” The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the coverage question was, indeed, fairly debatable.