In a recent decision, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne dealt with the extremely topical issue of the distribution of the burden of proof in a direct lawsuit brought by a company against its D&O insurer.

The Decision of the Higher Regional Court of Cologne

In the case decided by the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, a limited liability company (GmbH) insured its managing director with a D&O insurance policy. After an event occurred which was presumed by the GmbH to be covered by insurance (involving inadequate fire insurance taken out by the managing director), the company did not take action against its managing director itself but had the claim of the insured managing director against the D&O insurance assigned to it and instead made a claim against the insurance on the basis of the assigned right.

The Higher Regional Court of Cologne now had to deal with the question of whether the same burden of presentation and burden of proof applies to the suing GmbH and the defending D&O insurance, compared to the imagined case that the injured GmbH would have initially made in a claim against its managing director.

In the latter case, the burden of proof would

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