As of August 28, 2017, a Missouri state statute was amended to provide insurers a right to intervene in actions asserted against its insureds, who previously allowed judgments to be taken against them under an “065 Agreement.” This allowed a plaintiff to agree to collection only from applicable insurance proceeds. However, the amended statute provides that before a judgment may be entered, the insurer must be provided written notice of such agreement and be given 30 days to intervene in the action.
Since the amendment, however, there has been some inconsistency in the statute’s application.
For example, one case held that the intervention clause “is a procedural statute, and thus can be applied retroactively,” thereby providing insurers a right to intervene in actions that were commenced before the amendment’s effective date. By contrast, the court concluded in another case that because the action was commenced before the effective date of the amendment, the insurer had no right to intervene.
The second case referenced has since been appealed to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District.
Accordingly, the issues of what triggering event implicates the new law and whether the amendment effected a procedural, rather than substantive, change to the law are ripe for resolution. Ultimately, the Court’s decision could lead to the conclusion that the insurer has no right to intervene in an action commenced before the amendment, even if the 065 Agreement is entered into subsequent to the new law taking effect.
Alternatively, the Court’s decision could give insurers a right to intervene in actions commencing before the amendment, as long as the court has not yet entered judgment in those actions. In either event, the Court’s resolution of these questions could potentially have significant ramifications regarding the scope of an insurer’s right to intervene under current Missouri law.