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Case Addresses Duty to Defend/Indemnify Doctor in Over 350 Medical Malpractice Suits, Plus Civil Rights Suit

By FindLaw Staff on June 21, 2010 3:43 PM

In Med. Assurance Co., Inc. v. Hellman, No. 08-2887, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's order issuing a stay of the federal proceedings in an insurer's request for declaratory judgment, claiming that it no longer has a duty to defend or indemnify a doctor due to his disappearance in more than 350 medical malpractice claims.  In reversing, the court held that it was an abuse of discretion for the district court to stay the action, and on remand, instructed the court to proceed on the merits. 

Junkert v. Massey, No. 09-2908, concerned an attorney's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit, claiming that the searches of her law office and residence for stolen laptop computers and controlled substances violated her Fourth Amendment rights.  In affirming the judgment of the district court, the court held that the affidavit is not so deficient that any reasonably well-trained officer would have known that probable cause was lacking, requiring the second-guessing of the judge's authorization, and thus, the officer has a qualified immunity defense against the attorney's section 1983 suit.   

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