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Insurer Seeks to Cancel Coverage Provided Anaheim in Angels’ Suit

Times Staff Writer

Worried that it may have to pay millions of dollars if Anaheim loses its court battle with the California Angels, an insurance firm is seeking to cancel the coverage it provided during the years that span the baseball club’s $100-million lawsuit.

Allianz Underwriters Insurance Co. filed its own lawsuit Thursday, alleging that it should not be held responsible that city officials are accused of hiding claims by the Angels. The claims later mushroomed into years of court hearings and millions of dollars in legal fees, Allianz said.

The firm alleged that it is not legally responsible for Anaheim’s legal costs or potential liability in the Angels lawsuit.

Angels owner Gene Autry sued Anaheim in 1983, alleging that the city lured the Rams National Football League team to town by granting development rights to the Anaheim Stadium parking lot in violation of the earlier baseball lease. A decision in the case, which took a year of trial, is pending.

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The city paid more than $4.6 million in legal fees to fight Autry’s lawsuit through last October, according to a city spokesman, who said the figures are the most recent available.

Assistant City Atty. Robert Franks said his office has not seen a copy of the lawsuit. It was filed in Orange County Superior Court Thursday. Franks declined comment.

In the lawsuit, Allianz alleged that it is not responsible for damages Anaheim might suffer in the litigation, based on insurance it provided in 1979-81.

A second policy that provided $30 million in coverage for the 18 months beginning Dec. 1, l983, should be cancelled, according to the lawsuit.

City officials withheld material facts about the dispute with the Angels while the 1983 policy was being negotiated, the lawsuit alleged. City officials “intentionally or unintentionally failed to communicate to Allianz the fact that Anaheim previously had been notified of various claims against it by reason of its dispute with the Golden West Baseball Co.,” according to the lawsuit.

Lane J. Ashley, Allianz’s attorney, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Anaheim has filed claims with its insurance carriers for reimbursement of attorney fees and court costs, according to Michael D. Rubin, a lawyer hired by the city for the defense of the lawsuit by the Angels, and none of the insurers has committed to covering the costs.

The lawsuit has been taken under submission by Orange County Superior Judge Frank Domenichini.

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