No Duty to Defend Motion to Adjudicate Attorney’s Lien
A professional liability insurer filed a declaratory judgment action alleging it had no duty to defend a motion to adjudicate an attorney's lien. In the underlying action the insured, an attorney, was discharged by his clients after the court granted a motion to vacate a $25 million settlement, based on defense counsel learning a court clerk had read the attorney a jury question prior to settlement. Eventually the settlement was reinstated. Although the insurer did not specifically request compensatory damages, such relief was available for the claim. The underlying motion did not seek damages arising from wrongful conduct as defined in the malpractice policy and contemplated by the parties. Accordingly the insurer had no duty to defend its insured against his former clients' motion to adjudicate his attorney's lien on the multi-million dollar recovery.