Today, the parties filed a joint motion to indefinitely stay further proceedings in the RIB lawsuit. They are effectively freezing all legal activity indefinitely while they try to work out a settlement. In the motion they state that settlement talks have been ongoing since the verdict, and that they need to engage some third parties to develop the settlement.
Within the motion they state that Wright-Pierce’s liability insurance policy is “considerably less than the un-multiplied amount of the damages alleged by Wolfeboro”. The un-multiplied damages were around $7 million. One rumored limit heard by the blog was $3 million, which would be consistent with that statement.
Another disclosure about the liability insurance is that it is a “defense-within-limits” policy. They explain that the limit includes their legal expenses, so the million or more that Wright Pierce has spent on their legal defense is money that will not be available to pay any settlement. So potentially there is only a couple of million or so available from insurance. Any settlement beyond their coverage would have to be paid by Wright-Pierce.
That would include the town’s current legal bill that’s currently north of $1.4 million as claimed in their motion for costs. So the remaining insurance money to pay actual damages may be less than a million dollars at this point. It should be no surprise that they have pulled the plug on further legal activity on the outstanding motions. Wolfeboro’s lawyers are saying they want to conduct discovery as part of their objection to the motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Cha-ching. Between the two legal teams, just resolving the current issues and getting the final judgement could consume all of the remaining insurance money.
So I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for millions in damages from Wright Pierce. I hope the town can get back what they paid for lawyers and get the thing fixed.