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Court of Appeals Finds No Liability Coverage for Spam Fax Suit

Insurance Coverage / March 23, 2023

In Bridging Communities, Inc v Hartford Cas Ins Co, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (2023) (Docket No. 355955), the Michigan Court of Appeals unanimously held – in a published opinion – that Hartford had no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds from class action litigation brought under the “unsolicited facsimile (fax) advertisements in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)….”

The decision underscores that although the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify, “[t]he duty to defend is related to the duty to indemnify in that it arises only with respect to insurance afforded by the policy.” American Bumper & Mfg Co v Hartford Fire Ins Co, 452 Mich 440, 450 (1996). “If the policy does not apply, there is no duty to defend.” Id.

The decision also underscores that “clear and specific exclusions will be enforced as written so that the insurance company is not held liable for a risk it did not assume.” Bridging Communities, ___ Mich App at ___; slip op at 5.

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