The First Circuit recently examined, in the admiralty context, the doctrine of uberrimae fidei, a legal doctrine requiring that all parties to an insurance contract deal in good faith and fully disclose all material facts. The case involved a maritime insurance policy in which the insured failed to disclose that its dry dock had substantial, preexisting damage and failed to disclose the dry dock’s actual value. When the insured later made a claim and the facts were revealed, the insurer denied the claim. In subsequent coverage litigation, the district court decided in favor of the insurer, finding that the insurance policy was void ab initio because the insured failed to disclose the true value of the dry dock, its level of deterioration, and other material facts. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that uberrimae fidei is an established admiralty rule within the first circuit. The First Circuit, however, modified the district court’s ruling to reflect that the contract was merely voidable, not void ab initio.
Catlin at Lloyd’s v. San Juan Towing & Marine, No. 13-2491, 2015 WL 500744 (1st Cir. Feb. 6, 2015).