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     Practice Areas

Property Insurance
Liability Insurance
Fidelity Insurance
Construction Insurance
Professional Lines
Excess & Reinsurance
Commercial Litigation

Liability Insurance

Halfnight & McKinlay is recognized for its expertise in handling complicated commercial liability insurance disputes, resulting from our early focus on commercial insurance cases. The following areas of advice and representation form a significant part of our practice:

Duty to Defend Advice:  We provide our clients with guidance and representation on a wide variety of issues concerning the insurer’s duty to defend under CGL and other liability policies, often involving a trigger of coverage analysis and interpretation of exclusions. Our expertise in, and thorough understanding of, the types of coverages encountered in this area are invaluable assets for our clients to call upon.

Coverage Disputes:  An insurer may have a duty to defend an insured, but ultimately no obligation to indemnity. Such cases present challenging issues for insurers. Our firm has the necessary experience and knowledge to advise and effectively represent clients in such situations.

In Alie v. Bertrand & Frere Construction Co.; Lafarge (2002), 62 O.R. (3d) 345, our firm acted for the only liability insurer that was entirely successful on an appeal arising from claims for indemnity and defence costs by Lafarge, a company held to have supplied defective concrete to over 140 homes. This case stands as one of Canada’s most significant coverage decisions, addressing issues of triggering of CGL coverage and the vertical and horizontal allocation of defence expense among primary, excess and umbrella carriers over numerous policy periods.

Third Party Defence:  In accident-related cases involving complex liability issues and the potential for major damage awards, the challenge is to analyze available defences and realistically assess the risks presented, thereby allowing an effective strategy to be devised and implemented. Our clients know they can rely on our firm to achieve a favourable outcome for them, in a cost-efficient and timely manner.

Such cases often involve a large volume of documents (much of which is presented in electronic format and the use of computer-based imaging, OCR and search tools), the need to conduct discoveries of multiple parties in a thorough yet cost-efficient manner, the selection of appropriate expert witnesses and the development of their opinion evidence for effective presentation at trial. We work closely with our clients in the defence of such cases, and offer them the assurance of astute advice and skilled representation that comes from our experience in this area.