Insurance Coverage - Medical Malpractice Defense

Mr. Vaughn wrote a coverage opinion for an insurance company writing medical malpractice insurance coverage for physicians in which Mr. Vaughn recommended a defendant physician’s claim for coverage and indemnity be denied where the claim against the policy holder was made by criminal defendants against whom the policyholder doctor had testified as a State’s witness in the area of forensic pathology. The criminal defendants were convicted based in part upon the doctor’s expert testimony and were later exonerated by DNA evidence whereafter they sued the doctor for malicious prosecution, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Mr. Vaughn’s analysis of the policy and Mississippi law concluded the plain language of the insurance policy excluded coverage for the claims raised by the former criminal defendants and based upon that opinion, the insurer denied the physician’s demand for a defense and indemnity under the policy. The determination was challenged in a direct action lawsuit filed by the doctor against the insurance company in Hinds County, Mississippi, and both the trial court and the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Mr. Vaughn’s coverage analysis.