A federal court in South Carolina recently held that an insurer could not state a claim for relief in seeking to compel another insurer to join in the mutual insured’s defense.  Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Travelers Cas. and Sur. Co. of America, 2014 WL 3687338 (D. S.C. July 22, 2014).

The insured’s CGL insurer sought an order requiring another liability insurer of the insured to join in the defense of the insured in an underlying lawsuit.  Granting the other insurer’s motion for summary judgment, the court recognized that under South Carolina law the duty to defend is personal to each insurer and that an insurer is not entitled to contribution from another insurer absent a specific contractual right.  The court held that because the commercial general liability insurer was not a party to the insurance contact between the insured and the other insurer being sued, its claim for declaratory judgment failed as a matter of law.