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April 27, 2009

Minnesota: Send Your Senator the Message to Take Unfair Attorneys’ Fees Out of SF 528

SF 528, the Senate version of the “One Way Loser Pays” bill, will come to a vote on the floor of the Senate later this week. Among other things, the bill requires insurers of commercial and professional liability policies to pay the claimant’s legal fees on claims tried in court unless the insurer prevails on all issues. The bill does not allow insurers to recover their fees when they prevail in coverage lawsuits.

While we would like to see the bill defeated, the most critical task ahead of us is to have the attorneys’ fees provision removed.

We strongly urge NAMIC members with Minnesota employees or personal contacts to call their state senators and let them know that the attorneys’ fees provision needs to be removed from the bill. Here is why:

  • If it is proper for an insured to be awarded attorneys’ fees when it prevails in a lawsuit, then the opposite is equally true. It is best to leave this issue to the insurance contract to which both sides have agreed.
  • The obligation to pay fees arises even if the claimant loses most of its lawsuit.

If you do not know your senator, you can access the information at http://www.gis.leg.mn/mapserver/districts/.

At this stage of the session, it is best to call your senator’s St. Paul office. Here is a suggested script:

Hello, this is ______. ______ Mutual is located in Senator ____’s district at ______ Street, _____ Minnesota (if you know that you also live in the district, give that address as it proves you vote there). The telephone number is _______.

This week, the Senate is expected to debate SF 528. I'm asking Senator _____ to support an amendment to remove the unfair attorneys’ fees provision from the bill.

Giving only one side its attorneys’ fees will only encourage litigation and drive up insurance costs.

It's unlikely that the person taking the call (it is not likely to be your senator because of floor debate) will want to argue with you about this.

Direct questions to NAMIC State Affairs Manager Mark Johnston, or call 314-800-8205.

Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:42:03 PM.

317.875.5250 - Indianapolis  |  202.628.1558 - Washington, D.C.

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