Triangle Holdings, II, LLC v. Stewart Title Guaranty Company

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Insurance Law
  • Date Filed: 10-22-2014
  • Case #: A152602
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 742.061(1), an insured has not obtained “recovery” against an insurer where the insured accepted payment by the insurer and summary judgment was granted. “Recovery” is obtained by an insured only when a money judgment is granted against the insurer.

Triangle Holdings, II, LLC (Triangle), a private lender, loaned money to a builder and in exchange received a trust deed to certain real property. Triangle obtained a title insurance policy from Stewart Title Guaranty Company (Stewart). After construction liens were placed on the real property, Triangle notified Stewart, paid the liens and sought reimbursement; Stewart agreed to send a check once it received documentation from Triangle. Subsequently, Triangle filed suit to collect reimbursement for the liens it paid. Approximately nine months later, Stewart paid Triangle the full amount it was seeking plus interest and moved for summary judgment, arguing Triangle’s claim was moot. Triangle argued it was entitled to attorney fees under ORS 742.061(1) because its met the three requirements of the statute: (1) there was no settlement within six months of proof of loss, (2) Triangle brought action on the policy, and (3) Triangle’s “recovery” exceeded the amount of any tender made by Stewart within the six month period following proof of loss. The trial court found Triangle’s claim was moot and granted Stewart’s motion, subsequently awarding costs to Stewart. On appeal, Triangle argued it satisfied the requirements of ORS 742.061(1). Stewart argued Triangle did not satisfy the requirements because it did not “recover” through a money judgment. The Court held that, under Becker v. DeLeone, Triangle had no “recovery” because an insured must recover a money judgment against the insurer, and that this interpretation upheld the statutory purpose of ORS 742.061(1). Affirmed.

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