- Where Submitting to an Examination under Oath (EUO) is a Condition Precedent to Coverage, a Policy Holder’s Refusal to Do So Is a Material Breach of the Policy Allowing the Carrier to Disclaim Coverage. A Deposition is not a Substitute for An EUO.
- August 7, 2018 | Author: Renita L. Collins
- Law Firm: Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP - Baltimore Office
Plaintiff Dolan was a passenger in an automobile accident. Mr. Dolan requested UIM benefits under his insurance policy. After several formal requests from his insurance carrier, Kemper. Mr. Dolan refused to attend an examination under oath (EUO). Mr. Dolan eventually filed suit against the driver and Kemper; he agreed to attend a deposition as a part of that lawsuit. Kemper filed a separate declaratory judgment action seeking to have the court declare that the EUO was a prerequisite to receiving UIM coverage and that Mr. Dolan breached his contract with Kemper when he refused to attend an EUO. The Trial Court ruled that an EUO administered by Kemper was a prerequisite to Mr. Dolan receiving UIM benefits; his failure to do so was a material breach of the insurance contract. Therefore, Mr. Dolan was not entitled to UIM benefits under the Kemper policy. Mr. Dolan appealed.
HoldingThe Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the Trial Court’s ruling and held that an insured breaches an insurance contract when he refuses to submit to an EUO. Further, a breach of an insurance contract allows the insurer to disclaim coverage. Merely submitting to a pretrial deposition in a related lawsuit does not satisfy the EUO requirement because a deposition and EUO serve vastly different purposes—EUO’s relate to the insurer’s investigation of a claim rather than for related litigation not involving the insurer. In addition, the procedures are different because an EUO is not strictly subject to the rules of civil procedure.