Cumis Counsel Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Cumis Counsel, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Cumis Counsel?

This termed is refered to the attorney or the lawyer appointed by the defendant in the cases where there is the insurance company and he himself have a conflicting interest on the case. The insurance company may be denying the full claim to the defendant and for which the defendant needs to appoint an attorney which may not be the lawyer from the insurance company.

History and Meaning of Cumis Counsel

Cumis Counsel is a legal term used to refer to an attorney or lawyer appointed by a defendant who is facing a lawsuit when their insurance company is also involved in the case. The term originated from the case known as San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Ins. Soc'y, Inc. (1984), which addressed the issue of conflicts of interest that arise when an insurance company provides the defendant with a defense attorney while also denying coverage under their policy.

In such cases, the defendant may seek their own attorney, who is referred to as Cumis Counsel. This attorney is usually paid for by the insurance company, but they have a duty to solely represent the interests of the defendant, even if those interests conflict with those of the insurance company.

Examples of Cumis Counsel

  1. When a homeowner is sued for negligence relating to their property, but their insurance company denies coverage, they may hire their own attorney as Cumis Counsel to represent them in court.
  2. In a product liability case, the manufacturer's insurance company may provide a defense attorney, but the defendant may still opt to hire their own Cumis Counsel to ensure that their interests are protected.
  3. If a person is accused of a crime that is covered by their insurance policy, but their insurance company denies coverage or provides inadequate representation through their assigned attorney, the person may hire a Cumis Counsel to represent them throughout the trial.

Legal Terms Similar to Cumis Counsel

  1. Conflict of Interest: This term refers to a situation where an entity or individual's personal interests are in direct conflict with their professional duties or responsibilities.
  2. Insurance Defense Attorney: An attorney provided by an insurance company to represent the insured individual or entity in a lawsuit.
  3. Indemnification: This term refers to the protection from liability or loss provided by one party to another through a contractual agreement.