chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
November 18, 2020 Feature

Perspectives on the Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance: What’s All the Hoopla About?

Elizabeth C. Sackett and Jeffrey E. Thomas

Whether you are an insurance coverage pro or only dabble in liability insurance coverage, understanding what the RLLI is all about is relevant to your practice.

Have you seen articles or heard presentations about the Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance (RLLI) and wondered why practitioners, insurance industry professionals, corporations, and members of the broader legal community have some seriously strong opinions about the RLLI? What’s all the fuss about? It’s just a restatement produced by the American Law Institute, right (but what does that even mean)? Or maybe you don’t know much about the RLLI, but as a TIPS member, your practice likely touches liability insurance law and the rules of policy interpretation in some way, making the RLLI relevant. Whether you are an insurance coverage pro or only dabble in liability insurance coverage, understanding what the RLLI is all about is relevant to your practice.

That’s why The Brief editorial board is excited to publish four articles on the RLLI. These articles give you dueling perspectives on certain provisions of the RLLI and on the process of how the RLLI came to be. With strong opinions, there was no toeing the neutrality line for this topic. The balance TIPS readers expect from The Brief is found in the juxtaposition of the different points of view. This is a new approach for The Brief, but one the editorial board believes will be very useful for TIPS members. No reader would be happy with a watered-down article on the RLLI, stripped of the individual viewpoints and devoid of the drama (yes, there was drama) that unfolded as the RLLI worked its way from a principles project to a restatement publication. And, understanding these perspectives could help if, or when, the RLLI becomes an issue impacting one of your cases.

The editorial board of The Brief is proud to introduce these articles, written by participants in the RLLI rumpus. The authors agreed to collaborate on this first-of-its-kind project to provide you with the opportunity to read each viewpoint in one sitting. Professor Jeffrey Stempel of the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Kim Marrkand, a partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., each provide their differing insights as to how the RLLI sausage was made over the course of eight years. Laura Foggan and Rachael Padgett, a partner and an associate, respectively, at Crowell & Moring LLP, and Lorelie Masters, a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, tackle the sticky issue of insurance policy interpretation standards and what “plain meaning” does or should mean.

Settle in and enjoy the articles (and the extras in the admittedly voluminous footnotes), and send us an email telling us what you think. Whatever your reaction, the editorial board wants to hear from you. Perhaps The Brief will start publishing letters from readers—another avenue for engaging the TIPS community.

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.

Elizabeth C. Sackett

Editor in Chief

Jeffrey E. Thomas

Editorial Board Member