Disclosing that Insurer was Real Party in Interest Prejudiced Rights of Insurer
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George Antoniadis’s house caught fire while undergoing renovations. Antoniadis’s homeowners insurance company, Amica paid Antoniadis’s insurance claim and then brought a subrogation action alleging that the renovation contractors were responsible for the fire.
In George Antoniadis v. Walter Basnight No. 19-P-1437, Appeals Court of Massachusetts (February 5, 2021) the trial judge erroneously informed the jury of the insurance context of the case.
Subrogation is both an equitable remedy and a contractual one where an insurance policy requires the insured to assist the insurer in proving a case against a tortfeasor who is responsible for the sums paid by the insurer to the insured as the result of an insured against peril. By making it clear to the jury that the insurer was the real party in interest totally deprived the insurer of its right to subrogation by probably causing the jury to believe that Antoniadis would receive double recovery or that he incurred no loss.