Jordan v. National Grange Mutual Insurance Co

In Jordan v. National Grange Mutual Insurance Co., 183 W. Va. 9, 393 S.E.2d 647 (1990), the Court found that an insurer could be liable to an insured for reasonable attorney's fees the insured had to necessarily expend in order to reach a settlement on an action on a policy claim. In Jordan, the insured claimed only a jury verdict against it, rather than its settling the case, could provide the predicate requiring payment of attorney's fees. Id. at 11, 393 S.E.2d at 649. The Court rejected this position finding that a settlement was sufficiently similar to a verdict as to justify an award of attorney's fees. Id. at 12-13, 393 S.E.2d at 650-51. More specifically, the Court also approvingly cited Wollards v. Lloyd's & Co. of London, 439 So. 2d 217 (Fla. 1983), for the proposition that a statutory award of attorney's fees when a "judgment" is rendered against an insurer encompasses a settlement since "'the payment of the claim is, indeed, the functional equivalent of a confession of judgment or a verdict in favor of the insured.'" Jordan, 183 W. Va. at 13-14 n.4, 393 S.E.2d at 652-53 n.4.