September 01, 2015 Dispute Resolution

A Mediator’s Reflection on Bock v. Hansen

Charles Ferguson

Last year I had the privilege of mediating a homeowner insurance coverage case reported as Bock v. Hansen, 225 Cal. App. 4th 215 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2014). Because oral argument at the appellate level had occurred several weeks before the parties contacted me, the assignment was challenging from the start. The plaintiff homeowners were asking the state intermediate appellate court to overturn a trial court ruling in favor of an employee of the defendant insurer and declare that henceforth policyholders could sue their insurers’ employees directly if an employee carelessly misstated a material term of a policy to them, a ruling that would significantly increase the bargaining power of policyholders in coverage disputes.

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