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WHITE WAIVER – INSURANCE LAW

By Herman I. Kalfen
Kalfen Law Corporation

White Waiver – A tool used by insurance companies to keep Settlement Discussions out of Court

An agreement called a “White Waiver” is a tool that insurance companies use to protect against allegations of bad faith arising from settlement negotiations in situations where other protections, such as state and federal evidentiary laws, may not apply.

In White v. Western Title Insurance Co., 40 Cal. 3d 870 (1985), the Court made clear that an insurer's duty of good faith and fair dealing does not terminate with the commencement of litigation.   Accordingly, statutory privileges do not apply to bar introduction of evidence of an insurer's bad faith.  In other words, the insurer must fulfill its obligation to its insured while at the same time, asserting its right to protect itself.   The White Waiver can protect an insurer from liability arising from allegations that it failed to fulfill its duty of good faith and fair dealing in settlement negotiations.  

Some argue that the broad scope of California Evidence Code §§1115-1128 seem to foreclose the need for a white waiver during mediation, prudent insurers request that it’s insured execute a White Waiver for any settlement communications arguably outside the mediation context or the purview of the above referenced Code sections.  Similarly, settlement negotiations admissibility is implicated per California Evidence Code §1152.

Finally, please note that White Waivers only address issues arising under California state law and do not apply in Federal Court. 

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Law Office of Herman I. Kalfen - Civil Litigation - Business Law - Environmental

Kalfen Law Corporation
Herman I. Kalfen, JD, REA, NAEP

1 Embarcadero Center, Suite 500
San Francisco, California 94111

Call Anytime - 415.315.1710
TOLL FREE 1.888.415.WINS
info@kalfenlawcorp.com


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