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Burien Waterfront Homeowners Secure Six-Figure Settlement from Liability Insurer

The City of Burien sued the owners of a historic waterfront property after the homeowners removed plants that allegedly damaged an adjacent steep-slope hillside. The homeowners tendered the City’s claim to their liability insurer, which claimed it could not accept or reject the request for insurance benefits pending the insurer’s additional investigation. Harper│Hayes then filed a lawsuit against the insurer on the homeowners’ behalf, alleging that the insurer’s indecision unreasonably violated its duty to defend. After a series of summary judgment motions, a federal judge ruled that the insurer owned the homeowners a defense against the City’s lawsuit, and that a jury would determine whether the insurer’s conduct amounted to bad faith. A month later, the homeowners recovered a six-figure settlement from the insurer.