“As Soon As Possible” Means Sooner Than Eight Years

When the insurance policy says the insured must request reimbursement for litigation fees “as soon as possible,” waiting eight years to ask is too long, a judge ruled in Schwartz v. CNA Ins. Co., 2005 WL 3556679 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 27, 2005). The case is about a heart surgeon who was involved in a series of lawsuits against and involving his alcoholic physician partner.
The surgeon, who at one point during his extensive history of litigation was evicted from his hospital office for allegedly threatening to blow the building up, failed in his lawsuit against his insurers to collect under two policies: the “as soon as possible” policy and one requiring the request for reimbursement be made within two years. There also was no coverage for a host of other reasons, including the business pursuits exclusion, although the surgeon tried to sidestep that exclusion by arguing “these cases did not arise out of my business pursuits, but rather out of alleged interference with my business pursuits.”

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