OPINION 97
April 1954

NEGOTIATIONS WITH OPPOSITE PARTY - OFFERS OF COMPROMISE - An attorney representing a party injured in an automobile collision may write the tort-feasor, before suit is filed, and offer to compromise in his representative capacity, his client's claim without litigation for the amount of the tort-feasors' liability insurance policy limits even though by counsel regarding the accident.  However, the attorney cannot suggest that if the offer of compromise is negligently rejected by the tort-feasor's insurance carrier, the latter will be exposed to possible suit by the tort-feasor to recover any sums, in excess of the policy limits, paid by him under a judgment in favor of the injured party.

Canon 9.

Question

1. Would it be a violation of the Canon of Ethics for an attorney representing a person injured in an automobile collision to write to the tort-feasor putting such party on notice of the attorneys' employment, and offering to make compromise settlement of the claim without litigation for the amount of the tort feasor's liability insurance policy limits, where, at the time the offer is made, no suit has been instituted and the tort-feasor is not represented by any counsel on account of the accident?

2.  Would it be a violation of the Canons of Ethics for the attorney to point out in such letter that if such offer of compromise settlement is rejected by the tort-feasor's insurance company, and if such rejection constitutes negligence, it will expose said carrier to a possible suit by the assured to recover for any sums paid by the assured under a judgment for the injured party in excess of the policy limits?

Opinion

1.  The committee is of the opinion that Question No. 1 should be answered in the negative.  (9-1)

2. The members of the committee are unanimously of the opinion that the conduct described in Question No. 2 would violate Canon No. 9.  (10-0)