Counsel not conflicted after reservation-of-rights letter

In the case of Downhole Navigator LLC v. Nautilus Insurance, an insured retained independent counsel after receiving a reservation of rights letter from its insurer, arguing that the insurer’s chosen counsel had a conflict at that point.    686 F.2d 325 (5th Cir. 2012).  Applying Northern County Mutual v. Davalos, 140 S.W.3d 685 (Tex. 2004), the Court found no conflict because “‘the facts to be adjudicated’ in the underlying . . . litigation are not the same ‘facts upon which coverage depends.'”  The Court did not see the recent case of Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee v. American Home Assurance Co., 261 S.W.2d 24 (Tex. 2008), which dealt with the responsibilities of insurers’ staff attorneys who defend a claim for an insured, as changing the basic analysis under Texas law.

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