Mississippi: Excess Insurer Does Not Have Direct Legal Malpractice Claims Against Defense Counsel Retained by Primary Insurer
The Supreme Court of Mississippi determined that an excess insurer did not have a direct claim for legal malpractice against defense counsel retained by the primary insurer. The issue began with claims against a nursing home for negligent care. The nursing home's primary insurer retained defense counsel to defend the suit. However, when the firm failed to designate an expert witness, the potential cost of settlement skyrocketed. The excess insurer was forced to step in and defend the suit. The excess insurer brought a legal malpractice action against the firm, both directly and under a theory of equitable subrogation. However, the Mississippi Supreme Court determined that a direct legal malpractice action could not proceed because no attorney-client relationship existed between the excess insurer and the defense counsel.
Great American E & S Insurance Co. v. Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., 2009-CT-01063-SCT (Ms. Oct. 18, 2012).