Supreme Court Hands Victory to Homeowner Client

Dennis Teufel was in a bind. Teufel, an Arizona homeowner, spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars after his homeowner’s insurer refused to defend or indemnify him for a lawsuit filed against him by the purchaser of Teufel’s home. After a landslide caused significant damage to the home, Teufel’s insurer left him out in the cold.

Enter Mike Raymond and Dan McCarthy who took Teufel’s insurer to task for refusing to cover his claim. Both the Court of Appeals and now the Arizona Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued on June 14, 2018, ruled that Teufel’s insurer should have provided a defense to Teufel in the underlying suit filed by the purchaser of Teufel’s home.

The decision centered around an exclusion in the insurer’s policy for contractual liability. Though the nature of the sale between Teufel and the purchaser was contractual in nature, the Court held that the insurer’s exclusion was ambiguous, and therefore must be construed in favor of Teufel. The matter is being remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.

For over 35 years, Mike Raymond has focused his practice on complex insurance coverage matters, both at the trial and appellate level. Though not every case will reach the Arizona Supreme Court, Raymond, Greer & McCarthy has the tenacity to approach every client’s concern as if it someday may reach the state’s highest court.

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