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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 20, 2001

These appeals present questions concerning the extent to which an insurer who declines to defend a claim against its insured is bound by a settlement agreement entered into by its insured and the injured third party. Also at issue are coverage questions pertaining to the insurance policy issued by the insurer. In separate proceedings, the Law Division concluded: (1) plaintiffs, to whom the rights of the insured were assigned, failed to satisfy their burden of producing evidence that the settlement agreement was reasonable and untainted by bad faith, and (2) the insurer was estopped from denying coverage on grounds that were not presented in its pre-settlement letter disclaiming liability. Plaintiffs appeal from the first holding, and the insurer appeals from the latter. We affirm the judgment entered.

 
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