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Communication with Adverse Party's Insurer

Adopted: July 15, 1988

Opinion rules that an attorney may not communicate settlement demands directly to an insurance company which has employed counsel to represent its insured unless that lawyer consents.


Lawyer A is insured against professional malpractice by Insurance Company. Plaintiff sues Lawyer A for malpractice. Insurance Company provides Lawyer B to defend Lawyer A. May Plaintiff's counsel communicate settlement demands to Lawyer B with a copy to Insurance Company?


No, unless Lawyer B consents. Rule 7.4(a) prohibits a lawyer from communicating regarding the subject of representation with a party the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized by law to do so. For the purpose of this rule, an insurance company which provides counsel for its insured in the defense of a third party's liability claim is itself a party represented by counsel and may, therefore, not be contacted directly by the third party's lawyer unless the lawyer for the insured and insurer consents.

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