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Prime Insurance Company Defeats Frivolous Litigation: Court Agrees and Rules in Favor of Liability Waivers

SALT LAKE CITY–Rick J. Lindsey, President and CEO of Prime Insurance Company announced another victory in representing their insureds to fight frivolous litigation. Lindsey states, “Our partnership approach is the cornerstone that leads to successful outcomes. We do not rely solely on the application. The underwriter starts the relationship by speaking personally to every insured to discuss the risk and responsibilities of all parties. This approach is a differentiator in the industry and confirms our commitment to doing things the right way.”

The claim arose on August 11, 2019. A group of fifteen people rented a pontoon boat from Under the Bridge Watersports, LLC (“UBW”) for a planned cruise in the Baltimore Harbor. During their cruise, the boat was caught in the wake of a larger vessel, and it became pinned against a sandbar. The boat tipped, and all fifteen people fell into the water. Surprisingly, all fifteen people also claimed to have suffered bodily injuries and emotional distress from the incident. They hired an attorney who threatened to sue UBW for alleged failures to provide them proper training and other spurious allegations. Claims Direct Access (“CDA”) an entity of Prime Insurance Company, coordinated a strategy with UBW to fight the claimants rather than play defense.

UBW filed a maritime limitation action in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Civil Action No.” 1:20-cv-01111-GLR) and moved the court for summary judgment in UBW’s favor by arguing that the claimants had signed liability waivers when they rented the boat and that those liability waivers barred their recovery. UBW also demanded that those claimants reimburse the attorney fees and costs that CDA had incurred protecting UBW from their borderline frivolous allegations. Despite the claimants’ best efforts to oppose it, the court agreed with UBW and granted their motion.

The claimants appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Case Number 23-1312). The Fourth Circuit judges decided the case without even entertaining any oral argument from the parties. They also ruled in UBW’s favor by affirming the lower court’s decision. CDA and UBW went back to the lower court to collect approximately $140,000 in legal fees and costs from the claimants.

Said Lindsey, “The result in this case demonstrates again that we will fight frivolous allegations every time. The Prime partnership approach is the best way to manage claims when an allegation, incident or lawsuit occurs.”

Prime Insurance Company is a specialty lines insurance carrier writing business in all 50 states, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Prime is rated “A” (Excellent) by AM Best*. The company provides solutions for property, professional, transportation, recreation, and hundreds of classes in the marketplace. The Claims Direct Access (CDA) in-house team of litigators and experts have resolved over 70,000 claims to date.

For more information on Prime Insurance Company, visit www.primeis.com


*For latest ratings, visit www.ambest.com

Barbara Malkowski, SVP Marketing

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