LIEB BLOG

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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Title Insurance - Read Your Policy Before You Sue Your Insurer to Take Action

I want it; I want it; I want it is not a good enough argument said the Appellate Division in Irma Straus Realty Corp. v. Old Republic National Title Insurance Company

Underlying the demand for action was a dispute between neighbors over use of a common stairwell. Plaintiff sued their insurer demanding that the title company pay attorneys' fees and costs to prosecute an ownership action against the neighbor. 

Plaintiff's suit was pursuant to section 5 (b) of its policy, which provides that the title insurer “shall have the right ... to institute and prosecute any action or proceeding or to do any other act that in its opinion may be necessary or desirable to establish the Title, as insured, or to prevent or reduce loss or damage to the Insured."

Clearly, as the court points out, Plaintiff didn't understand the difference between the terms "right," which the policy stated, and "obligation," which the policy didn't state.

That is to say, the Plaintiff lost the case. 

Clearly, words matter. 

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