May 29, 2019
Stephen Pate discusses why there is a controversy and how Texas—and some other states—are likely to deal with the ALI’s Restatement of the Law on Liability Insurance.
May 10, 2019
Peter Berg discusses the decision in Draggin' Y Cattle Co., Inc. v. Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, Stevens, P.C. and how it impacts settlements in Montana.
March 15, 2019
On March 11, 2019, the Georgia Supreme Court provided a victory for insurers when it found that an insurer did not act in bad faith by failing to accept a policy limits demand that lacked a deadline to respond and was abruptly withdrawn after 41 days, even though the insurer had already determined that the insured’s likely exposure exceeded policy limits.
March 01, 2019
Christopher Kende (Insurance, New York) contributed an article to the March edition of the New York City Bar’s Aeronautics Committee Newsletter discussing a federal court case in which an individual was awarded $2.2 million in damages after suffering from PTSD, major depressive disorder and decompression sickness as a result of a decompression incident onboard an aircraft manufactured by Boeing.
March 01, 2019
Stephanie Lemoine discusses the age of insurtech and why consumers must be aware of what information insurers are sharing with third parties. She also expands on the Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which is the most broad-sweeping legislation regarding personal identifying information.
February 25, 2019
Nadia Bugaighis discusses the decision in MTI and why insurers should carefully consider jurisdiction and choice of law when determining how to apply the j(5) and j(6) property damage exclusions.
February 14, 2019
In response to the rising costs associated with the opioid epidemic, Terri Sutton discusses the varied success of coverage defenses that have been litigated as well as what we can expect to see in the months and years to come.
February 05, 2019
Kristie M. Abel discusses how Abbey/Land demonstrates that an insurer can successfully contest such a judgment, however, the insurer needs to meet a high burden in order to prevail.
February 01, 2019
Laura Dowgin discusses the decision in D.K. Prop., Inc. v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA and notes that while it resulted in a favorable outcome for the policyholder there has been no shift in New York bad faith law.
December 03, 2018
Andrew Tobin and Marli Wildchut discuss a recent marine insurance case wherein London based but U.S. controlled insurers were ordered by an English court to pay a cargo insurance claim concerning Iran, under a policy governed by English Law, because the standard London Market sanctions exclusion clause did not provide them with a defense.
October 11, 2018
Sam Stalker and Teri Mae Rutledge discuss an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that deviates from the recent trend, holding that the “nuanced” interpretation of the policies in those other decisions did not supersede the plain requirement for coverage of property damage caused by an occurrence.
October 08, 2018
Michael Handler, a member in the firm's Global Insurance Department, authored "Reimbursement to Insurer for Defense of Non-covered Claims" for the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly.
September 01, 2018
Alycen Moss, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, published an article titled, Complicated Cats, for Best's Review.
August 20, 2018
The first step in any coverage analysis is determining which jurisdiction’s laws govern the coverage issues. This can be outcome determinative as demonstrated by the Supreme Court of Delaware’s recent decision in Travelers Indemnity Company v. CNH Industrial America, LLC, Case No. 420, 2017 (Del. Jul. 16, 2018), in which the choice of law analysis made a $13.7 million difference.
August 13, 2018
Century Surety Company insured Pastazios Pizza, Inc. under a commercial general liability policy. Pastazios, along with its owner and manager, Ajredin Deari, was sued by eighteen year old Jane Doe in Texas state court.
June 05, 2018
Teri Mae Rutledge discusses the California Supreme Court's decision in Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co., Inc.
June 01, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance Department, authored an article on his predictions on the course of Hurricane Harvey litigation entitled, "The Imperfect Storm: Harvey Litigation Will Be Governed by Hailstorm Bill's Rules, While 'Menchaca' Looms in the Background."
June 01, 2018
Michael Rafalko, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, authored an article titled, LTC Debate, for the June issue of Best's Review.
May 21, 2018
Paul Ferland authored a piece titled, "Policy Language Can Curtail Long-Tail Insurance Claims" in Law360. This piece discusses long-tail insurance claims, and how they have proved particularly vexing to insurers and insureds alike, specifically with regard to allocation of liability.
April 20, 2018
Greg Hudson discusses the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Menchaca v. USAA Texas Lloyds Company. The court articulates five rules when extracontractual causes of action are available even when there has been no breach of the insurance policy and clarifies the procedural steps a court should follow in determining which rule applies.
April 10, 2018
Laura B. Dowgin discusses the big win for insurers in the New York Court of Appeals as this decision instructs New York courts to look at the terms of the insurance contract at issue, and where no coverage was given, and no premium received, the risk of liability is placed on the policyholder.
April 03, 2018
Michael D. Handler and Jordan A. Hess discuss the Washington Court of Appeals reversal of a trial court’s dismissal of the bad faith claim against a claims adjuster, holding that individual insurance adjusters could be liable for violating the CPA if they caused financial injury by engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices that impact the public interest.
April 01, 2018
Jonathan Walton, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, co-authored an article titled, "Recent Developments in Alternative Dispute Resolution" for the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal.
March 30, 2018
Anu Prasad, an associate in the firm's Global Insurance Department, co-authored the chapter "Recent Developments in Insurance Coverage" in Volume 52-3 of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal.
February 28, 2018
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, authored an article titled, "Reconstruction Politics and the Galveston Seven: The Struggle to Appoint a Judge in the Eastern District of Texas, 1869-72, Part I" which appears in the Winter 2018 issue of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Journal.
February 16, 2018
Christopher Kende discusses the New York State Court of Appeals ruling in Forman v. Henkin and how this decision is good for defendants.
January 08, 2018
Melissa Brill and Alexander Selarnick discuss the Seventh Circuit's decision in W. Side Salvage, Inc. v. RSUI Indem. Co.
December 07, 2017
Julia Molander and Laura Dowgin discuss the implications of the Carlson decision for out-of-state insurers that insure corporations that do business in New York, where the corporation is not a resident of New York but has “a substantial business presence” in the state.
December 01, 2017
Irene Yesowitch, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, wrote an article titled, "A Pandora's Box?" which appeared in Best's Review.
November 27, 2017
Paul Ferland authored a piece titled, "Considering Alternatives To Reverse Bad Faith Claims" in Law360 discussing reverse bad faith claims.
November 16, 2017
Paul Ferland co-authored a piece titled, "Hurdles To Consider When Securing A Personnel File" in Law360 discussing a personnel file, and why it is an overlooked avenue to explore.
November 07, 2017
Christopher Kende, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, wrote an article titled "Recent Case Law Defining 'Bodily Injury' under the Montreal Convention" for Best Lawyers.
October 26, 2017
Melissa Brill and Laura Dowgin discuss the decision in Air Master & Cooling, Inc. v. Selective Ins. Co. of Am., and its impact on progressive property damage claims in New Jersey.
October 20, 2017
Paul Ferland co-authored a piece titled, "Undertaking Property Repair Or Replacement As An Insurer" in Law360 discussing the risks, potential benefits and legal issues involved in an insurer’s decision to undertake repair or replacement, rather than pay the value of damage or take property at an agreed-upon value.
September 06, 2017
Michael Melendez discusses the first published opinion of a California appellate court that directly addresses whether the ongoing operations limitation in additional insured endorsements precludes completed operations coverage.
September 04, 2017
Stephen Pate, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance Department, wrote an article titled, "No Longer Stuck in the Weeds: Marijuana Insurance Moves into the Mainstream" for Business Insurance.
August 29, 2017
Paul Ferland co-authored a piece titled, "Colo. Appraisal Dispute Seems To Discount True Impartiality" in Law360 discussing the recent decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals in Owners Insurance Co. v. Dakota Station II Condominium Assoc., 2017 WL 3184568 (Colo.App. 2017).
July 24, 2017
Melissa Brill and Alexander Selarnick discuss the Second Circuit adoption of the New York Court of Appeals’ previous holding that the “all sums” provision in the insuring agreement permits an insured to access the limits of all policies in any triggered year, when the insurance policies contain “prior insurance” or “non-cumulation” clauses.
June 29, 2017
Jonathan Toren discusses a recent Washington Court of Appeals decision on three important issues for insurers relating to bad faith actions.
June 07, 2017
Melissa Brill and Laura Dowgin discuss a Court of Appeals decision that expressly rejects that there is no material difference between the phrases “arising out of” and “caused, in whole or in part by” in additional insured endorsements.
June 05, 2017
The decision is noteworthy because the court joined a limited number of other courts that have held that when an insured fails to provide notice “as soon as practicable” as required under a “claims made” insurance policy, the insurer may avoid coverage
May 02, 2017
Michael D. Handler and Thomas M. Jones discuss three recent rulings that are consistent with the trend of courts around the country concluding carbon monoxide is a pollutant under a liability insurance policy.
May 01, 2017
Elan Kandel and Alexander Selarnick, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, co-authored an article for Risk Management titled "Insuring Against Social Engineering Attacks."
April 11, 2017
Alicia G. Curran and Ron Tigner discuss the Texas Supreme Court's decision setting forth five “distinct but interrelated rules” that govern the relationship between contractual and extracontractual claims in the first party insurance context.
April 03, 2017
Michael Melendez discusses the Teleflex decision that provides persuasive authority that excess insurers in California must seriously consider settlement demands exceeding primary limits in electing whether to accept the settlement, reject it and assume the insured’s defense, or reject it and decline the insured’s defense.
April 01, 2017
Joe Ziemianski and Andrea Cortland, of Cozen O'Connor's Global Insurance department, co-authored an article for FDCC Insights titled, "Ultimate Game-Changer? Concussion-Related Injuries and Litigation."
March 08, 2017
Terri Sutton discusses manufacturers of medical devices in Washington's new duty to warn hospitals that purchase their devices, and that product manufacturers of “unavoidably unsafe products” may face strict liability for failure to warn claims.
March 01, 2017
Terri Sutton discusses the Oregon Supreme Court's ruling in Long v. Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon that “when an insured files an action against an insurer to recover sums owing on an insurance policy and the insurer subsequently pays the insured more than the amount of any tender made within six months from the insured’s proof of loss, the insured obtains a ‘recovery’ that entitles the insured to an award of reasonable attorney fees.”
March 01, 2017
Michael Handler of the Global Insurance Department discusses the state of insurance for present-day data breach claims in Best's Review.
March 01, 2017
Greg Hudson discusses the Texas Supreme Court decision that the language of the insured v. insured exclusion also includes any claim where a party has stepped into the shoes of an insured.
February 08, 2017
Jonathan Toren discusses a recent Eighth Circuit ruling that an Insured vs. Insured exclusion applied to an insured director’s entire lawsuit, even though other non-insured shareholders were also plaintiffs in the suit.
February 03, 2017
Michael D. Handler discusses yesterday's Washington Supreme Court decision interpreting the state’s 2007 IFCA — the decade-old legislation that created a new statutory cause of action against an insurer, prescribing penalties for violating any one of 37 regulations set forth in the WAC.
January 18, 2017
Terri Sutton discusses the Washington Supreme Court decision in Volk v. DeMeerleer, which it expanded the duty of physicians to protect third-parties who might be victims of violence.
January 18, 2017
Tracy L. Eggleston and Patrick M. Aul discuss the South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent decision that adopts strict requirements for effective reservation of rights letters.
December 16, 2016
William F. Knowles and Katie M. Sluss discuss a decision by the Division I Washington Court of Appeals that granted partial relief to an insurer and held that if an insured is legally insulated from any exposure to a tort victim, the presumption of harm in a bad faith claim against the insurer is rebutted and there is no coverage by estoppel.
December 07, 2016
Karl A. Schulz discusses the Fifth Circuit's clarification of a typical but potentially tricky question involving property claims in De Jongh v. State Farm Lloyds.
December 06, 2016
J.D. Dickenson and Elizabeth Fata discuss the recent Florida Supreme Court decision in Sebo v, American Home Assurance Company, which favors the Third Districts reasoning and the concurrent cause doctrine in property loss cases.
December 01, 2016
Deborah Minkoff and Abby Sher Author chapter 1A: Self-Insured Retentions Versus Large or Matching Deductibles in the 2016 New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition.
October 21, 2016
William Knowles and Jonathan Toren discuss the latest Washington Supreme Court decision regarding the attorney-client privilege and whether it protects a corporation’s attorney’s communications with former employees of the corporation.
October 17, 2016
Patrick Aul discusses what insurers in both North and South Carolina should be mindful of when handling Hurricane Matthew related claims.
October 12, 2016
Angelo G. Savino and Alexander Selarnick discuss the Seventh Circuit's decision in Allen v. GreatBanc Trust Co and its ramifications for ERISA plan fiduciaries and their insurers.
October 07, 2016
Hurricane Matthew is the first major hurricane to strike Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. As the insurance industry prepares for Florida property loss claims due to Hurricane Matthew, we highlight five claims-handling points based on the primary Florida statutory and administrative code provisions most relevant to property insurers with respect to first-party property loss claims, as well as on Florida’s statutory framework for a first-party bad faith claim.
September 30, 2016
Richard Mason of the Global Insurance Department authors this Insight Regulatory/Law column on the Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance.
September 28, 2016
Julia A. Molander and William F. Knowles discuss the FountainCourt Homeowners Association v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co. decision holds that eviscerated the seminal case of Wyoming Sawmills v. Transportation Ins. Co.
September 23, 2016
Melissa Brill and Laura Dowgin discuss a recent New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department decision that found an additional insured endorsement provided additional insured coverage only to the entity in direct contractual privity with the named insured.
August 09, 2016
On August 4, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court joined a long list of states’ high courts when it affirmed a ruling that consequential damages resulting from a subcontractor’s faulty work constituted “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” under the property developer/general contractor’s commercial general liability policies.
June 23, 2016
Chris Clemenson and John Daly discuss a Colorado Supreme Court decision holding that extrinsic evidence can only be used to interpret ambiguous policy language, not unambiguous policy language.
June 13, 2016
Melissa O’Loughlin White discusses a unanimous decision by the Washington Supreme Court that rejected the policyholder’s arguments that certain provisions in a “Vacancy or Unoccupancy” endorsement were ambiguous and must be construed in favor of coverage.
June 10, 2016
Julie Molander discusses a recent California Supreme Court case that could be a harbinger of future appeals attempting to expand the constitutional cap on punitive damages.
June 08, 2016
Andrew Tobin and Marli Wildschut discuss the Chinese legal system. It is based on the civil law system that is structurally similar to Germany and France and there are some significant differences to English and U.S. law. London and other international insurers should be aware that Chinese law imposes greater obligations upon them than might typically be expected.
June 01, 2016
Jonathan Toren co-authored two chapters with Frank Cordell of the 2016-2017 edition, which offers a comprehensive understanding of the key types of cases and considerations inherent in insurance litigation in Washington.
May 30, 2016
Julia Molander and Yevgenia Wiener of the Global Insurance Department discuss driverless vehicles, which will require a new liability paradigm.
May 09, 2016
Melissa F. Brill and Laura B. Dowgin discuss the May 3, 2016, decision by the New York Court of Appeals that answered two certified questions posed by the Delaware Supreme Court regarding the appropriate allocation method for long-tail claims among successive excess carriers.
May 03, 2016
The Court of Appeal in AIG Europe Ltd v OC320301 LLP has ordered a retrial of the question of whether actions brought by 214 investors in two failed holiday property schemes in Turkey and Morocco against the former International Law Partnership can be treated as a single claim by its professional indemnity insurer.
April 26, 2016
Christopher S. Clemenson and John Daly discuss Monday's decision by the Colorado Supreme Court in Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co. holding that an insurer does not need to show prejudice to enforce a “no-voluntary-payments” provision.
April 20, 2016
Rick Mackowsky and Stacey Farrell discuss a recent case wherein the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida applied Florida law and denied the insured’s motion for summary judgment seeking to compel appraisal of losses sustained at two of her insured buildings.
April 20, 2016
Jonathan Walton of the Global Insurance Department co-authored this piece in the American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, discussing alternative dispute resolution.
April 18, 2016
Craig H. Bennion discusses property insurance policies that exclude rot damage that have been called upon to cover rot because the policies extend coverage to collapse — an undefined term — caused by hidden decay, even if the structure remains standing and in use.
April 18, 2016
Rick Mackowsky discusses the Minnesota Court of Appeals' decision that pre-award interest is not recoverable on an appraisal award made pursuant to the terms of an insurance policy, absent an underlying breach of contract or actionable wrongdoing.
April 18, 2016
Stacey Farrell discusses a recent Alaska Supreme Court Case that concluded insurers cannot seek reimbursement for defense costs incurred defending uncovered claims.
April 11, 2016
Ron Tigner and Gregory Hudson discuss the growing trend of jurisdictions no longer recognizing any distinction between the recoverability of loss of use damages between partial and total destruction of personal property.
March 07, 2016
Angelo Savino and Nicholas Bamman discuss a federal court decision in Louisiana providing a rare analysis of the interplay between a duty to defend in a D&O policy and the allocation clause in that same policy.
March 02, 2016
Richard C. Mason and Kristie M. Abel discuss a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Jersey that declared an insurance company was not required to show it suffered prejudice before disclaiming coverage on the basis of the insured's failure to give timely notice of the claim under a Directors and Officers claims made policy.
January 13, 2016
Gregory Hudson and Adam Gutmann discuss the Supreme Court of Texas's decision that installation of a faulty component does not cause physical injury to the machinery onto which it is installed, even when removal of the faulty component causes damage during the repair process.
December 04, 2015
Martin Resource held that an insured’s settlement contributions could not satisfy the exhaustion requirement, based on the particular policy language at issue. This is contrary to the Srivastava opinion, which indicated an insured’s contributions might satisfy the exhaustion requirement, in that a layer of coverage is exhausted once the loss exceeds the limit.
December 01, 2015
the Supreme Court of Oregon overturned 42 years of precedent, holding that Stubblefield v. St. Paul Fire & Marine erred when it decided that a covenant not to execute given in exchange for an assignment of rights, by itself, creates a release that dissolves an insured’s liability and, by extension, the insurer’s liability as well.
December 01, 2015
Christopher Kende authored this article in the French Maritime Law Review which discuses a recent Supreme Court case which dealt with the definition of a "vessel" under maritime law.
October 13, 2015
An insured is entitled to select its own counsel where an insurer’s coverage reservation creates an actual conflict of interest between the insurer and the insured. The court further held that the insurer must pay the independent counsel a “reasonable” rate.
August 21, 2015
In a unanimous decision that will have a serious impact on long-tail exposures, the California Supreme Court in Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court (Hartford Acc. & Indem.) has determined that policyholders may transfer liability policies to new entities formed after the policies were purchased.
August 14, 2015
On August 10, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that could have broad implications regarding an insurer’s right to seek reimbursement of unreasonable fees and costs directly from so-called Cumis counsel. In Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. J.R. Marketing, LLC, ___ Cal.4th ___ (2015), the Court held that an insurer—operating under an order that expressly provided that the insurer would be able to recover payments of excessive fees—can seek reimbursement directly from Cumis counsel.
July 30, 2015
The Hawaii Supreme Court, providing three separate reasons, held that the excess insurer could bring a cause of action for equitable subrogation.
July 02, 2015
Looking to the fact allegations in the complaint against the insureds, the court found that but for the individual actions as trustees there would be no claim against any insured entity.
July 01, 2015
Joseph Ziemianski, Andrea Cortland, and other industry professionals, co-wrote this article in The Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Quarterly which discusses litigation related to concussions in sports.
June 23, 2015
In its discussion, the Washington Supreme Court found that the term collapse, as used in the insurance policy before it, was ambiguous. The court then adopted a definition of collapse, but the use of uncertain terms in its definition may lead to further ambiguity.
June 01, 2015
Jennifer Kennedy-Coggins and V. Morgan Carroll discuss the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and will examine the potential coverage available for FACTA violations under Georgia Law.
June 01, 2015
Alycen Moss and Lynnette Espy-Williams discuss the statutory requirements regarding rescission, the contestable period, rescission methods, waiver considerations, the most common defenses to rescission, and a closing note on a likely claims from the insured – bad faith.
May 28, 2015
In Tibble v. Edison International, the Supreme Court ruled that trustees of ERISA plans owe a continuing duty to monitor trust investments on a regular basis and remove those that become imprudent.
May 14, 2015
The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously held that when an insured fails to seek its insurer’s consent to settle a claim, the insured cannot pursue litigation against its insurer to recover settlement amounts paid by the insured without its insurer’s consent or for bad faith refusal to settle.
April 30, 2015
Throughout the past decade, the federal False Claims Act has imposed billions of dollars in penalties upon corporations.
April 23, 2015
On April 20, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously held that when an insured fails to seek its insurer’s consent to settle a claim, the insured cannot pursue litigation against its insurer to recover settlement amounts paid by the insured without its insurer’s consent or for bad faith refusal to settle.
February 27, 2015
In In re Deepwater Horizon, Cause No. 13-0670, Slip Op., Feb. 13, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that an allocation of liability found in an “insured contract” would determine the coverage provided to an additional insured in a general liability policy. Specifically, the court held that the additional insured had coverage under the general liability policy of the named insured only to the extent the named insured was required to obtain coverage for the additional insured.
February 19, 2015
In Colorado, under the notice-prejudice rule, an insured who gives late notice of a claim to his or her liability insurer does not lose coverage benefits unless the insurer proves that the late notice prejudiced its interests. Friedland v. Travelers Indem. Co., 105 P.3d 639, 643 (Colo. 2005). On February 17, 2015, in response to certified question of law from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the notice-prejudice rule does not apply to date-certain notice requirements in claims-made policies. Craft v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., Case No. 14SA43. Rather, date-certain notice requirements will be enforced as written.
February 11, 2015
Adam Stein of the Global Insurance Department discusses private equity funds in the article titled Deep Cover in Best's Review. Limited partner investors in private equity funds and other “passive” institutional investors are being sued in growing numbers, a trend that can be expected to continue as courts in many jurisdictions continue to entertain such suits.
February 02, 2015
On January 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit handed down Philadelphia Consolidated Holdings Corp. v. LSI-Lowery Systems, Inc., which decided whether a technology company’s claim was covered under its professional liability policy. In LSI-Lowery, the court decided three issues of current importance for “claims made” policies. First, emails showing an expectation the insured would be sued meant that a “claim” had been made even though damages were not expressly demanded. Second, when it was made, the claim involved a “wrongful act,” even though it related to breach of a contract (an excluded circumstance). Third, a regulation mandating a finding of prejudice in order to prevail on “late notice” did not apply because there was no coverage under the policy in the first instance.
February 01, 2015
Richard Mason of the Global Insurance Department discusses the recently enacted laws and how they can lead to fresh claims. Victims of sexual abuse are taking advantage of state reviver statutes to file claims that were previously time-barred, leading to unexpected exposures for religious and educational institutions, among others.
December 23, 2014
On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that bad faith claims brought pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 8371 may be assigned by an insured to an injured third party under Pennsylvania law. See Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014 (Pa. Dec. 15, 2014).
December 22, 2014
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Pennsylvania Nat’l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. St. John, et al., 2014 WL 7088712 (December 15, 2014), has affirmed that a first manifestation trigger applies to property damage claims under a CGL policy, triggering the single policy in effect when damage first manifests. St. John also confirmed that the multiple or continuous trigger adopted in J.H. France Refractories v. Allstate Ins. Co., 534 Pa. 29 (1993), which triggers all policies on a risk from exposure through manifestation, is unique to claims involving asbestos or other similarly latent diseases.
December 18, 2014
The U.S. Senate wrapped up the 113th Congress and left Washington without holding a vote to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). In the closing weeks of the session, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had negotiated an agreement with Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) that would have reauthorized TRIA for six years and raised the trigger for government reimbursement from $100 million to $200 million and increased companies’ co-payments to 20 percent from 15 percent.
November 18, 2014
In Santacruz v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, Inc., 2014 WL 5870429 (Nov. 13, 2014), the 5th Circuit allowed a policyholder to pursue a claim for common law and statutory bad faith even though the policyholder repaired the alleged damage before the insurer was able to observe that damage.
November 10, 2014
In Shamoun & Norman, LLP v. Ironshore Indemnity, Inc., Cause No. 3:14-1340, In the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, the federal district court construed a professional liability policy issued by Ironshore to require a defense of the law firm policyholder in a fee dispute, despite an absence of allegations that the insured law firm negligently provided any legal service.
November 06, 2014
On October 10, 2014, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decided Camico Mutual Ins. Co. v. Heffler, Radetich & Saitta, LLP, where it enforced a policy clause providing for repayment to the insurer of defense costs, and confirmed that a 2010 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision had not invalidated such clauses. The court also determined the insured’s employee was performing “professional services” as defined in the policy notwithstanding the employee’s fraudulent conduct.
October 20, 2014
The Washington Supreme Court addressed two issues of first impression regarding legal malpractice claims in Schmidt v. Coogan, No. 88460-9, (October 9, 2014) and held: (1) that “uncollectibility” is an affirmative defense to a claim of legal malpractice, and (2) emotional distress damages are not available in a legal malpractice claim based upon a lawyer’s failure to timely file a lawsuit.
September 30, 2014
In interpreting the scope of the pollution exclusion, one question seems to appear in case after case — what exactly does the pollution exclusion exclude? In State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Dantzler, 289 Neb. 1 (2014), the Supreme Court of Nebraska added to the body of law on that question while summarizing the various interpretations from other jurisdictions.
September 15, 2014
Michael D. Handler of the Global Insurance Department in the Seattle office, writes an article for Litigation Management Magazine on rescission of insurance policies. “The path through rescission of an insurance policy is fraught with perils, even for insurers that attempt to proceed in the utmost good faith,” writes Handler.
September 08, 2014
In Greene v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, the Texas Supreme Court clarified the scope and application of § 862.054 of the Texas Insurance Code, the “anti-technicality” statute, holding that the clause would only operate in situations where the policyholder affirmatively violated an obligation created under the policy. The court further held that public policy did not change this result, despite the concurring opinion of two justices that argued that the court’s opinion created confusion as to whether and when public policy would dictate a different result. Specifically, the concurrence argued that the majority opinion failed to distinguish the instant case from prior cases involving a “nonmaterial breach” by a policyholder.
August 18, 2014
On July 31, 2014, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department chipped away at the privilege protections available to insurers. In National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania v. TransCanada Energy USA, Inc., 119 A.D.3d 492 (1st Dept. July 31, 2014), the First Department affirmed a 2013 New York County Supreme Court ruling that documents prepared in the ordinary course of an insurer’s investigation as to whether to pay a claim are not privileged — even if these documents are prepared by an attorney.
August 07, 2014
In a recent decision in the case of Pyramid Technologies, Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Ins. Co., 752 F.3d 807 (9th Cir., May 19, 2014), the 9th Circuit, relying on California law, upheld a grant of summary judgment dismissing the insured’s business interruption claim as speculative. In addition, by a split decision, it reversed in part and remanded in part the trial court’s exclusion of the testimony from the insured’s expert witnesses under Daubert standards. Finally, and most importantly, the Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment concerning the insurer’s “genuine dispute” defense, holding that bad faith was an issue for the jury under the facts of the case.
August 05, 2014
A recent 3rd Circuit decision, ArcelorMittal Plate, LLC v. Joulé Technical Services, Inc., 558 Fed.Appx. 205 (3d Cir. 2014) reiterates that under New Jersey law, an insurer does not act in bad faith when denying a claim that is “fairly debatable.” Although the court disagreed with the insurer’s application of the policy’s employer’s liability exclusion to preclude coverage, it also held that there was no basis to impose bad faith liability on the insurer.
August 04, 2014
On July 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held, as a matter of first impression, that the Continuance of Coverage Provision of the Pennsylvania insurance insolvency statute, 40 P.S. § 221.21, precludes coverage for all “risks in effect” under an insurance policy, even when the policy was cancelled prior to liquidation.
July 30, 2014
In an article published in Law360, Angelo Savino and Julie Albright of the Global Insurance Department discuss unfinished business claims. In a departure from Jewel v. Boxer, the decisions in the cases of Thelen LLP and Heller Ehrman LLP reflect a shift in the manner by which courts treat trustees’ claims for post-dissolution fees, say Angelo Savino and Julie Moeller Albright of Cozen O'Connor.
July 17, 2014
The New York Court of Appeals recently confirmed that the heightened timeliness of disclaimer requirement in New York Insurance Law § 3420(d)(2) does not apply to claims arising from property damage, in KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., et al., 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 4113 (N.Y. June 10, 2014). Unanimously reversing the appellate division, the KeySpan court found that this standard for waiver of coverage defenses extends only when an insured seeks coverage under a New York liability policy for bodily injuries or death sustained in New York. Because this dispute arose from property damage claims, the insurers, which previously reserved their rights, had no duty under the statute to disclaim “as soon as reasonably possible.”
July 10, 2014
On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoffer, declared that no “presumption of prudence” applied to fiduciaries of “employee stock ownership plans” (ESOPs). In rejecting the defense-friendly standard, the high court noted that ESOP fiduciaries are subject to the same duty of prudence as any other ERISA fiduciary except that ESOP fiduciaries are not liable for losses that stem from a failure to diversify. The decision is also noteworthy in that it set forth guidelines for lower courts to follow at the motion to dismiss stage that will impact how plaintiffs are able to satisfy pleading requirements in cases against ESOP fiduciaries.
July 10, 2014
Over the past year, directors and officers have been anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling in Halliburton Co. et al. v. Erica John Fund, Inc., No. 13-317. In its recent 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court retained the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance adopted more than 25 years ago in Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, yet also held that defendants may rebut the presumption at the class certification stage. 573 U S. ___ (Slip Op. June 23, 2014) (Roberts, C.J.). This ruling signals that securities fraud class actions will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. Justice Ginsburg concurred in a separate opinion, joined by Justice Breyer and Justice Sotomayor. Justice Thomas also concurred in a separate opinion, joined by Justice Alito and Justice Scalia.
June 17, 2014
Gregory Hudson, of the Global Insurance department writes an article titled" Guilty D&O May Lose Defense Costos, Indemnification Too," in Law360.
In Protection Strategies Inc. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia allowed an insurer to recoup over $670,000 in costs paid for its insured first to respond to government subpoenas and then for the insured and its key employees to defend themselves against claims for governmental fraud and conspiracy.
June 16, 2014
Andrew Tobin and Paul Dowsey of the Global Insurance Department, write about effective claims controls in facultative reinsurance in an article titled "Taking Charge" in Best's Review. Facultative business can give rise to conflicts between reinsurers and cedents in the handling of claims, particularly if the cedent is concerned with reputational risk and has no meaningful exposure.
June 12, 2014
On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held there must be “an explicit or implicit threat” from a government agency of “immediate and severe consequences by reason of the contamination” in order to trigger the duty to defend, and that no such threat was present. Gull Industries, Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., et al., No. 69569-0-I. The opinion is significant in light of existing Washington law that states that an insurer may be required to indemnify an owner or operator of contaminated property even if no agency has taken or overtly threatened formal legal action.
June 02, 2014
Plaintiff John Z. Huang represented Yongping Zhou in a deportation suit. Mid-suit, Zhou terminated the representation and retained another attorney. Throughout the course of the litigation, Zhou hired several more attorneys and ultimately succeeded in vacating his domestic violence conviction after spending two years in an Immigration and Naturalization Service detention center. Zhou then sued Huang for legal malpractice.
June 02, 2014
International Law Digest containing the limitation periods in general, funding actions in Spain, privilege, bringing court proceedings, the role of experts, interim remedies, disclosure and costs.
June 01, 2014
Insurers facing policy limits demands must act cautiously under even the best of circumstances to avoid threats of bad faith. The situation becomes far more complicated when the insurer receives a policy limits demand and it insures multiple insureds and/or additional insureds. Complete chaos can ensue when an insurer has multiple insureds and/or additional insureds, and the claimant’s counsel is only willing to release one insured and/or additional insured for the insurer’s available policy limits.
May 19, 2014
Samantha Evans discusses The Potential Liabilities and Insurance Coverage Implications of Solar Panels in Claims Journal. Samantha writes, “Solar panels are quickly becoming a fixture in our everyday lives. Whether driving down a country road or the busiest highway, you will see solar panels dotting the roofs of commercial buildings and residential homes alike. Comprised of photovoltaic cells, solar panels harness and convert the sun’s energy into usable electricity otherwise generated by the use of oil, coal and “dirtier” fossil fuels. Solar panels offer an attractive, alternative “green” source of energy for eco-conscious individuals and businesses.” To read the whole article, click here.
May 08, 2014
Litigation over challenges to corporate mergers has swelled in recent years, exposing directors, officers and their D&O insurers to large amounts of defense costs and potentially great liability. The Delaware Chancery Court recently issued an opinion analyzing and explaining the various standards by which courts review challenges to director decision-making in the merger context, which provides a thorough summary for all interested parties.
May 06, 2014
Last week, the Washington Court of Appeals held that “in an insurance bad faith case, the amount of a reasonable covenant judgment sets a floor, not a ceiling, on the damages the jury may award.” Miller v. Safeco Ins. Co., No. 68594-5-1. The claim arose out of an automobile accident in 2000, when Patrick Kenny, the at-fault driver, rear-ended a cement truck, severely injuring his three passengers.
May 05, 2014
In Protection Strategies, Inc. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia allowed an insurer to recoup more than $670,000 in costs paid for the insured first to respond to government subpoenas and then for the insured and its key employees to defend themselves against claims for governmental fraud and conspiracy.
May 01, 2014
William Knowles and Kathleen Grohman, of the Global Insurance Department in Seattle, co-authored an article on 3D printing in Claims Management Magazine. The article focuses on 3D printing and “why this emerging technology isn’t smelling so sweet to insurers.”
April 29, 2014
In Betzdolt v. Auto Club Group Insurance Company, a Michigan resident was allowed to proceed with a bad faith claim against her insurer in Florida, even though the insurer did not sell policies in Florida, did not deliver policies in Florida, and was not authorized to write insurance policies in Florida. Betzdolt arises in the context of a third-party liability case (car accident) in which the Michigan resident was being defended by the Michigan insurer in Florida.
April 09, 2014
Claims Made and Reported Requirements, Retro Dates, Prior Knowledge and Prior/Pending Exclusions
April 01, 2014
In BSC Holding, Inc. et al. v. Lexington Ins. Co., — Fed.Appx. –, 2014 WL 929194 (10th Cir., March 11, 2014), the Tenth Circuit recently underscored how difficult it can be for an insurer to demonstrate prejudice as a result of late notice.
April 01, 2014
Angelo G. Savino, a shareholder in the Global Insurance Department, authored an article titled Event Horizon featured in the April 2014 issue of [Best’s Review]. In the article Angelo discusses the Haliburton v. Erica P. John Fund Supreme Court case and other factors that could have major impact on the D&O space in 2014.
March 28, 2014
Melissa Brill of the Global Insurance department discusses K2 and the Court of Appeals decision to reject the notion of coverage in this article published by Property Casualty360.
March 14, 2014
Construction companies operating in multiple jurisdictions are finding that standardized language used in typical liability policies is subject to considerably different interpretations from one state to another.
March 13, 2014
On February 21, 2014, a New York state trial court judge ruled that Zurich American Insurance Company has no duty to defend the Sony Corporation in lawsuits relating to a 2011 cyberattack on its PlayStation network. This decision is among the first in the country to address coverage issues for large scale data security breaches. Judge Jeffrey Oing rendered an immediate decision after hearing oral argument, recognizing the issue’s importance and the likelihood of an appeal.
March 10, 2014
Melissa Brill of the Global Insurance Department discusses TCPAS Class Actions in Law360. "A recent shift in Second Circuit law may lead to a rise in class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. After a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case shed light on the proper interpretation of a section of the TCPA, the Second Circuit paved the way for TCPA class actions in New York federal courts."
March 03, 2014
Jonathan Toren of the Global Insurance Department is co-author of Chapter 14, “Deductibles and Self-Insured Retentions,” in The Reference Handbook on the Commercial General Liability Policy, Second Edition. In the commercial insurance industry, the commercial general liability (CGL) policy is the most common form of liability insurance purchased by both public and private sectors throughout the United States and, as a result, is arguably the most litigated insurance product in the marketplace. This book is a survey of the current developments and issues that can arise from a liability policy.
February 28, 2014
The New York Court of Appeals rarely hears reargument of its decisions, let alone reverses itself. On February 18, 2014, the Court of Appeals did just that.
February 27, 2014
In Validus Reinsurance, Ltd. v. United States, No. 13-0109 (ABJ), 2014 WL 462886 (D.D.C. 2014), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that a foreign reinsurer was not subject to excise tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 4371 when purchasing retrocessional coverage for the assumed reinsurance of U.S. risks. While foreign reinsurance contracts are subject to excise tax, the court held that Section 4371’s plain language did not encompass retrocessional reinsurance transactions.
February 24, 2014
In a cutting-edge decision, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an exclusion barring coverage for an insured’s liability for “disgorgement” of “remuneration” or “advantage” is limited to “acquiring” funds as opposed to “retaining” funds. William Beaumont Hospital v. Federal Ins. Co., No. 13-1468, 2014 WL 185388 (6th Cir. Jan. 16, 2014). The Beaumont decision is the first of its kind and, if followed by other courts, narrowly circumscribes the scope of disgorgement exclusions that are typically included in errors and omissions and directors and officers liability policies.
February 11, 2014
On January 28, 2014, the Supreme Court of Connecticut, in Lexington Ins. Co. v. Lexington Healthcare Group, Inc., 311 Conn. 29, addressed three issues that define the extent of coverage available under a medical professional liability policy. The court concluded that each claimant triggered a separate limit; an aggregate limit for professional lines claims applied; and a retention for each medical incident applied.
January 27, 2014
In Ewing Construction Co. Inc. v. Amerisure Ins. Co., No. 12-0661, 2014 WL 185035 (Tex. Jan. 17, 2014), the Texas Supreme Court held that a general contractor who agrees to perform construction work in a “good and workmanlike manner” does not “assume liability” for damages arising out of the contractor’s defective work so as to trigger the contractual liability exclusion in a commercial general liability policy. This holding substantially clarifies the Texas Supreme Court’s prior holding in Gilbert Texas Construction LP v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, 327 S.W.3d 118 (Tex. 2010).
January 23, 2014
A recent shift in 2nd Circuit law may lead to a rise in class action litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). See Bank v. Independence Energy Grp. LLC, 736 F.3d 660 (2d Cir. 2013). After a 2012 Supreme Court case shed light on the proper interpretation of a section of the TCPA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit took up the question on December 3, 2013 and paved the way for TCPA class action suits in New York federal courts.
January 07, 2014
In an article titled “K2: Will NY Court of Appeals Reaffirm Coverage by Estoppel?” Melissa Brill (Global Insurance, New York Downtown) discusses what will happen if the New York Court of Appeals upholds its recent “coverage by estoppel” decision on reargument. The article examines the meaning of the court’s decision, the Jan. 7 reargument, and the positions that the parties, and amici curiae, have taken in their briefing for that reargument. To read the article, click here.
December 30, 2013
The Cozen O’Connor London of is pleased to provide you with our 2013 Year In Review, a newsletter discussing select cases in insurance coverage, subrogation, dispute resolution and commercial matters.
December 19, 2013
A Pennsylvania state judge denied Highmark Life Insurance Co.'s bid to vacate a $3.6 million arbitration award in favor of Elite Underwriting Services LLC, saying that the exclusion of testimony by the parties' reinsurance broker did not warrant a vacatur.
December 19, 2013
On December 3, 2013, the intermediate Pennsylvania Court of Appeals decided Indalex, Inc. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, concluded that an “occurrence” under a commercial umbrella liability policy may arise in the context of defectively manufactured components used in a home, which resulted in alleged property damage and bodily injury. This holding is the first appellate level decision in Pennsylvania in recent years to find an insured occurrence in the context of claims by homeowners.
December 16, 2013
In 1911, Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for the majority of the United States Supreme Court, unequivocally (if unknowingly) established the legal distinction between the secondary life market and what has become known as stranger originated life insurance (“STOLI”). The common law in both England and the United States long-abhorred insurance without an interest as a “mischievous kind of gaming” and so developed the insurable interest doctrine i.e., that an owner of a policy must have an interest in that insured. However, the application of the doctrine to specific cases involving the purchase of life insurance produced varied results throughout the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. In Grigsby v. Russell, Justice Holmes established that a life insurance policy, once purchased in good faith, could subsequently be assigned or otherwise alienated by its rightful owner. Grigsby brought clear, manageable legal principles to nearly two centuries of inconsistent jurisprudence on the insurable interest doctrine, principles that were subsequently adopted by statute in all of the jurisdictions of the United States.
December 16, 2013
As a matter of first impression under Pennsylvania law, the court in Shannon v. New York Central Mutual Insurance Company, No: 13-cv-1432 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 20, 2013) denied a motion to strike an insurer’s defense of “bad faith set-up,” asserted in response to a bad faith claim based on the insurer’s alleged failure to settle a claim.
December 10, 2013
A Legal and Forensic Accounting Case Study of Business Interruption Loss is a webcast presented by Richard Mackowsky, Senior Counsel of Cozen O’Connor’s Global Insurance Department and John Damico, CPA and Partner with Matson, Driscoll & Damico Forensic Accountants on December 10, 2013. The presentation discussed complex and cutting edge business interruption issues generated by catastrophes and the lessons learned including how to handle claims for wide area damage.
November 14, 2013
In Stewart Title Guar. Co. v. Sterling Savings Bank, et al., Wash. No. 87087-0 (October 3, 2013), the Washington Supreme Court held that a nonclient insurer may not pursue a malpractice claim against appointed defense counsel for failure to assert defenses favorable to the insurer, unless the insurer could show it was an intended beneficiary of the legal services provided by appointed defense counsel. The court reasoned that neither an alignment of interest between an insurer and policyholder nor appointed counsel’s duty to inform the carrier regarding case activity, equated to a duty of care owed by appointed defense counsel to the appointing insurer. The court declined to reach the parties’ equitable subrogation arguments that formed the basis of the actual legal malpractice claim.
October 31, 2013
On October 16, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in Aleynikov v. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., found that a former vice president and computer programmer was an “officer” of Goldman Sachs & Co., Inc. (GSCo), and therefore eligible for advancement of legal fees and expenses for his ongoing defense in a New York state criminal case, even though the criminal action concerned the theft of confidential GSCo property. The decision provides an interesting lesson in the differences between indemnification and advancement and who may be considered an officer for purposes of awarding indemnity and advancement.
October 24, 2013
In Brechbill v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 1111117, ___ So. 3d ___, 2013 WL 5394444, 2013 Ala. LEXIS 126 (Ala. Sept. 27, 2013), the Alabama Supreme Court held that there is only one, as opposed to two, causes of action for bad faith. More important, the Alabama Supreme Court held that a bad faith claim, no matter how plead, will not survive when an insurer can show a debatable reason for the denial.
October 09, 2013
In Klutschkowski v. Peacehealth, et al., No. 160615518 (Ore., Sept. 26, 2013), the Oregon State Supreme Court unanimously held that an Oregon statute capping non-economic damages at $500,000 was unconstitutional as applied to a case asserting common law claims for injuries sustained by an infant during labor and delivery.
October 08, 2013
The Property Adjuster’s Toolbox is a three-part webinar series presented by members of the firm’s Global Insurance Department. The presentations discuss the nuts and bolts of investigating and adjusting a claim under a first-party property insurance policy.
September 12, 2013
In a highly awaited decision, the California Supreme Court in Zhang v. Sup. Ct. of San Bernardino County considered whether insurance practices that violate the California Unfair Insurance Practices Act can give rise to a first-party cause of action under the California Unfair Competition Law.
September 05, 2013
The South Dakota Supreme Court in Bertelsen v. Allstate Insurance Co. (1) held that an insurer cannot avoid bad faith liability by claiming it did not know about controlling claims handling statutes, and (2) reaffirmed that an insurer cannot rely upon claimants to provide a copy of the applicable laws (i.e., a copy of the claims handling statutes), especially in the absence of a request.
September 05, 2013
Due to changes effective January 1, 2013, the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law now codified the insured’s obligation to submit to an examination under oath. At first it may seem odd that the Florida legislature had to go to such great lengths to incorporate, and explicitly condition, the receipt of no-fault benefits on the insured’s submission to an examination under oath. However, a brief look at the recent trends leading to this change demonstrates why the Florida legislature rewrote insurance contract law in the no-fault context.
August 27, 2013
Proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may impact the management, scope and sanctions related to e-discovery in federal courts. The changes are aimed at encouraging early and active case management, ensuring e-discovery remains proportional to the action, and advancing cooperation among parties. If approved, these amendments to the civil rules will become effective on December 1, 2015.
August 26, 2013
Melissa Brill of the Global Insurance Department writes this article titled NY Insurers Breaching Duty to Defend May Lose Defenses to Indemnification in Property Casualty360 that focuses on the K2 decision,
July 31, 2013
On July 12, 2013, the Georgia Supreme Court expanded covered damages in construction defect cases by broadening the definition of “occurrence,” yet left in place the insurer’s right to deny coverage based upon the lack of “property damage” and the business risk exclusions. Taylor Morrison Services, Inc. v. HDI-Gerling America Insurance Company, No. S13Q0462, 2013 WL 3481555 (Ga. July 12, 2013). Specifically, the Court held that damage to the insured’s property or work may constitute an “occurrence.”
July 25, 2013
On July 16, 2013, the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas (Philadelphia County) granted summary judgment to ACE American Insurance Company, upholding its denial of an insurance claim arising from False Claims Act litigation against AmerisourceBergen Co. Richard Mason of Cozen O’Connor was lead counsel for ACE American Insurance Company.
July 19, 2013
On July 10, 2013, a majority of a three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania cut a new path for insureds and insurers with respect to defense under reservations of rights. See The Babcock & Wilcox Company, et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., 2013 PA Super. 174, 2013 PA Super. LEXIS 1630. According to the majority, when an insurer tenders a defense subject to a reservation, an insured may reject the insurer’s defense and bind the insurer to a settlement that the insurer did not consent, so long as the settlement is fair and reasonable.
July 10, 2013
In Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 10 Cal.4th 645, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 324 (1995), the California Supreme Court held that a “continuous trigger” applies to liability coverage for property damage claims arising out of pollution where the property damage is allegedly continuous or progressive.
July 08, 2013
In the recent decision of Schifino v. Geico General Ins. Co. et al., 2013 WL 2404115 (W.D.Pa. 2013), and for the second time in less than a year, the district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania precluded a plaintiff from offering expert testimony supporting an insurer’s alleged bad faith. The district court reasoned that expert testimony addressing the reasonableness of an insurer’s claims handling in denying a claim was unnecessary as a matter of evidence and interfered with the fact finding role of the jury.
June 19, 2013
In a recent case before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the court held that jail employees were not entitled to coverage for sexual molestation of an inmate under the law enforcement coverage part of the jail’s liability insurance policy. In so holding, the court declined to apply an expansive interpretation to the policy’s “arising out of” language.
June 17, 2013
On June 10, 2013, the governor of Oregon signed into law Senate Bill 814, creating sweeping reforms on environmental claims-handling regulations and available remedies for insureds facing liability for cleanup of contaminated property located in the state. The legislation is effective immediately.
June 14, 2013
The New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest state court, recently held – in what appears to be a new position in New York – that an insurer that breached its duty to defend could not later rely on otherwise applicable exclusions to deny coverage for indemnification.
June 14, 2013
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit recently eliminated the foundation for policyholders’ arguments in favor of “functional exhaustion.” In Ali v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 11-5000-cv (2d Cir. June 4, 2013), the 2nd Circuit held that functional exhaustion as permitted in the 1928 decision in Zeig v. Massachusetts Bonding & Ins. Co., 23 F.2d 665 (2d Cir. 1928) does not apply to excess liability policies.
June 12, 2013
On certification from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the Supreme Court of Connecticut recently issued an opinion holding that an insurer’s bad faith conduct in the investigation of a third-party liability insurance claim does not provide a basis for recovery under Connecticut law. Capstone Bldg. Corp. v. Am. Motorists Ins. Co., 2013 Conn. LEXIS 187 (Conn. June 11, 2013).
June 10, 2013
Richard Mason, of the Global Insurance Department, discusses attorney-client privilege in Best's Review.
May 22, 2013
On May 7, 2013, a divided panel of the NY Court of Appeals issued an important opinion, in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., 2013 N.Y. Slip. Op. 03264 (May 7, 2013). The court affirmed, by a plurality, the Appellate Division’s ruling that at least one occurrence per year of abuse transpired under the policy wording at issue.
May 08, 2013
Jason Beckerman and Ryan Kearney of the New York Downtown office published an article in The New York Law Journal titled, “Accountability in Elevated Construction Accidents,” which discusses the traction to reform New York’s well-known scaffolding statute embodied in Labor Law § 240(1). Over the past two decades the law has evolved into a windfall for a small group of plaintiff’s attorneys, while simultaneously causing construction insurance premiums to skyrocket. With increased insurance costs real estate development in and around New York City has become limited, causing major developers to look to other states for development sites.
May 06, 2013
Regulators, food distributors and, of course, lawyers are scrambling to determine the legal and reputational consequences of the still-growing horse meat scandal that recently hit Europe.
May 01, 2013
Angelo Savino, chair of the professional liability practice in Global Insurance, published an article in Best's Review addressing the issue of claims having decreased but D&O insurers face a potentially volatile underwriting landscape. To read the complete article click here.
May 01, 2013
In DRI’s For The Defense, Jonathan Toren of the Global Insurance Department is co-author of this article, “Retained Limits, Deductibles, and Self-Insurance. “ The last few years have been challenging for insurers and policyholders alike. As the economy has faltered and competitive pressures have increased, many companies have tried to restructure their insurance programs to reduce premium outlays. Insurers, meantime, have looked for ways to manage their limits more conservatively.
April 26, 2013
On Feb. 15, 2013, a Pennsylvania federal district court held that the shipment of defective drywall from China to the United States constituted one “occurrence” for purposes of insurance coverage, and the occurrence took place when the damage caused by the drywall manifested itself in the residences or buildings of the underlying plaintiffs.
April 24, 2013
Earlier this month the 7th Circuit affirmed a district court order that held an insurer properly denied coverage to the insured law firm based on its failure to comply with the reporting requirements under its claims-made professional liability policy.
April 23, 2013
Angelo Savino, chair of the professional liability practice in Global Insurance, was quoted in Law 360’s article, “News Corp.’s $139M Deal May Make for Pricier D&O Coverage.” The article by Bibeka Shrestha discusses the record-breaking settlement by News Corp which has its insurers picking up the tab for the $139 million settlement that ends shareholder derivative litigation over its phone hacking scandal, likely sending other carriers scrambling to rethink the pricing and design of their directors and officers policies. Click here to read the full article and Angelo’s comments.
April 11, 2013
In Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a class-action plaintiff may not avoid the effect of the federal Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) by “stipulating” he will not seek damages in excess of $5,000,000. CAFA provides that the federal “district courts shall have original jurisdiction” over a civil “class action” if, among other things, the “matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,000,000.” 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d)(2), (5). The statute further states that to “determine whether the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,000,000,” the “claims of the individual class members shall be aggregated.” § 1332(d)(6).
April 05, 2013
Policyholders in New York and New Jersey presently have no private right of action against insurance companies for alleged violations of each state’s respective statutory claim handling guidelines – New York’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, N.Y. Ins. Law § 2601, and New Jersey’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, N.J. Admin. Code tit. 11, §§ 2-17.6 and 2-17.7. Although the New York and New Jersey statutes each prohibit insurers from engaging in unfair claim settlement practices, neither allows insureds the right to enforce the laws or seek damages for a violation by filing a lawsuit against the insurer. Rather, the Insurance Department for each state are vested with the exclusive power of enforcement, and then only when an insurer engages in a pattern of violations demonstrating that the mishandling of claims is a general business practice. That may soon change, however.
April 01, 2013
Priority of rights of recovery of subrogating insured and its insured when making joint or separate claims against responsible third-party - Jurisdictions Comparative Chart - 5 pgs total, revised 6/2008. Table properties: INSURED WHOLE, PRO RATA, INSURER WHOLE, UNDECIDED, CITATION.
March 26, 2013
Last week, in Tyler v. Michaels Stores, Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts responded to certified questions presented by the district court and interpreted a Massachusetts statute to reflect the state’s interest in protecting consumer privacy. No. SJC-11145, 2013 Mass. LEXIS 40 (Mass. Mar. 11, 2013). In particular, the court held that a consumer’s zip code constitutes personal identification information, and that a consumer can bring an action under the relevant statute absent a claim of identify fraud.
March 20, 2013
In a recent unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has five years from the date when an alleged fraud begins – not from the date when the SEC uncovers the fraud – to bring an action seeking penalties. It is likely this decision will have a large-scale impact, including an impact on D&O insurers, by spurring the SEC to complete its investigations and bring enforcement actions sooner rather than later.
March 20, 2013
In Syracuse University v. National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 2012EF 63 (Sup. Ct., Onondaga County, January 29, 2013), the New York Supreme Court, County of Onondaga, held that an insured’s costs incurred in responding to subpoenas issued by state and federal agencies, were covered (as defense costs) as “Claims” made under a not-for-profit individual and organization insurance policy issued by National Union. The case arose out of allegations that a Syracuse assistant basketball coach, Bernie Fine, had sexually abused two former participants in Syracuse University’s basketball program over a period of years while serving in his capacity as the University’s assistant basketball coach.1 The court held that issuance of the subpoenas constituted a “Claim” as defined in the policy.
March 19, 2013
In D.R. Horton, Inc.—Denver v. Mountain States Mutual Casualty Co., No. 12-cv-01080 (February 25, 2013), another U.S. District Court judge for the District of Colorado determined a liability insured seeking defense costs from its insurer may qualify as a “first-party claimant” for purposes of Colorado’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, potentially entitling the insured to recover unpaid defense costs, attorneys’ fees in prosecuting the recovery action and two times the unpaid defense costs as a penalty.
March 18, 2013
The Washington Supreme Court joined a minority of jurisdictions that hold that insurers may not unilaterally reserve the right to seek reimbursement for defense costs paid in defending non-covered claims through a reservation of rights letter. In National Surety Corp. v. Immunex Corp., the Washington Supreme Court, in a five to four decision, held that insurers defending under a reservation of rights may not seek reimbursement for defense costs from the insured, even if there is a determination that the insured is not entitled to coverage under the policy No. 86535-3 (March 7, 2013). In so holding, the court recognized that, upon a showing of actual and substantial prejudice resulting from an insured’s delayed tender, an insurer could minimize or avoid liability for defense costs.
March 15, 2013
When an insured sues an insurer for bad faith, how much of the claims file maintained by the insurer is discoverable? In a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court recently weakened insurers’ ability to protect confidential communications with their attorneys in first-party claims where the insured has alleged bad faith. Cedell v. Farmers Insurance Company of Washington, No. 85366-5 (February 22, 2013). The court held that, in the context of a first-party claim for bad faith claim handling and processing, courts must apply a presumption that there is no applicable attorney-client privilege. The court further held that an insurer would be entitled to overcome the presumption by showing that its counsel was providing legal advice as to the insurer’s potential liability and was not acting in the insurer’s “quasi-fiduciary” function. Upon this showing, the insurer is entitled to an in camera review where the trial court will determine if the privilege applies, subject to the insured’s assertions that the privilege does not apply due to an exception, including the civil fraud exception.
March 08, 2013
In Amgen, Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, No. 11-1085 (Slip Op. Feb. 27, 2013), the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 majority opinion (Ginsburg, J.), affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling that a securities class action plaintiff need not prove materiality of alleged misrepresentations or misleading omissions as a prerequisite to class certification under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissented. Justice Alito concurred with the majority but added a separate and important note (discussed below). The Court’s decision lowers the bar for investors seeking to obtain class certification, which has significant implications for D&O insurers, companies, their Directors and Officers (Ds and Os), and securities fraud plaintiffs alike. The Court’s ruling in Amgen also settles a split among the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 9th Circuits. Although the ruling is clearly favorable to securities fraud class action plaintiffs, the four concurring and dissenting justices appear willing to entertain arguments over the continued validity of the fraud-on-the-market presumption, which could drastically alter the landscape for securities class actions.
March 07, 2013
Following considerable public comment, the Texas Supreme Court revised and issued final approval of new rules providing for expedited trials and dismissal of baseless claims. Despite pleas from various factions, however, the new rules maintain their mandatory nature. The revisions do, however, contain material changes to the Alternative Dispute Resolution provision of new Rule 169 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
March 05, 2013
On February 15, 2013 a Pennsylvania federal district court held that the shipment of defective drywall from China to the United States constituted one “occurrence” for purposes of insurance coverage, and the occurrence took place when the damage caused by the drywall manifested itself in the residences or buildings of the underlying plaintiffs. With this ruling, Pennsylvania joins Virginia as one of the few states to opine regarding the number of occurrences in the Chinese drywall context.
March 01, 2013
In a victory for liability insurers against the asbestos plaintiffs’ bar, the California Supreme Court ruled in Greb v. Diamond International Corp., that California’s statutory provision that a dissolved corporation continues to exist perpetually for purposes of being named as a defendant in a suit does not apply to dissolved foreign corporations. Instead, the law of the state of incorporation governs how long a foreign corporation can be sued after it is dissolved, even for suits by injured California residents. Diamond International Corporation was a dissolved Delaware corporation, and the Supreme Court held that the three-year Delaware survival statute barred an asbestos bodily injury suit in California filed more than three years after the corporation was dissolved under Delaware law. The practical effect is that the dissolved corporation’s insurers do not have any liability for suits filed more than three years after the Delaware dissolution, because the plaintiff cannot obtain a judgment against the insured necessary to bring a direct action against the liability insurer.
February 15, 2013
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 274, directing the Texas Supreme Court to promulgate new rules reducing the expense and delay of litigation. House Bill 274 calls for early
February 13, 2013
In its recent decision in Powell v. Cherokee Insurance Company, Case No.: 5:09-CV-00205, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky reaffirmed that in a third-party bad faith lawsuit alleging failure to timely settle a personal injury claim, the third-party claimant must produce evidence of conduct by the insurer that is outrageous, because of the defendant’s evil motive or his reckless indifference to [her] rights in order to establish a bad faith claim under the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (UCSPA).
February 11, 2013
The examination under oath has long served as a valuable tool to prevent fraud and exaggeration in property insurance claims, while also keeping the cost of insurance as low as possible. The Washington Supreme Court, however, did insurance consumers no favor when it recently held, in an 8-1 decision, that an insured may substantially comply with an insurer's request for examination under oath (EUO), even where the insured never submitted to the requested EUO. Staples v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 86413-6, Washington Supreme Court (Jan. 24, 2013). The court also held that an insurer must establish actual prejudice before denying a claim based on the insured's noncompliance with the EUO request. The court's decision is a departure from previous precedent.
February 07, 2013
In a case of first impression, the Illinois Appellate Court considered whether a professional liability insurer can deny a defense to its insured, an attorney who admits he erred in providing legal services. Ill. State Bar Assoc. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Greenfield & Assocs., P.C., No. 1-11-0337, 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 921 (Ill. Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2012). The court held the insurer had a duty to defend its insured against a legal malpractice claim. The court rejected the insurer’s reliance on the prohibition against admitting liability in its Voluntary Payments condition.
January 28, 2013
Yearly, many oil pipelines fail, spill crude oil, and cause significant health and environmental damage all across the continental United States, leading to hefty financial implications for the oil companies, landowners, government, and insurers.
January 24, 2013
On January 15, 2013, the Supreme Court, in a majority decision with two justices dissenting, ruled that a so-called “floating home” which did not have self-propulsion and essentially consisted of a house-like plywood structure with French doors floating on an empty bilge space, did not come within the definition of a vessel under 1 U.S.C. § 3 and therefore was not subject to maritime law. Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, docket 11-626, 568 US ___ (1/15/2013).
January 22, 2013
In Washington State Department of Transportation v. James River Insurance Company, Wash. No. 876444 (January 17, 2013), the Washington Supreme Court declared binding arbitration agreements in insurance contracts void and unenforceable. The court explained that binding arbitration frustrates legislative intent to protect Washington policyholders' rights to sue insurers in Washington courts for coverage disputes over subjects located, resident or to be performed in Washington.
January 16, 2013
In Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Eininger, LLP v. Underwriters of Lloyds, London, no. CV11-665, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1204 (E.D. N.Y. January 2, 2013), the District Court for the Eastern District of New York upheld a legal liability insurer’s denial of coverage to a law firm. The court agreed with the insurer that although two complaints filed against the law firm and its partners alleged professional malpractice, the policy’s business pursuit exclusion and business enterprise exclusion applied.
January 14, 2013
In what may be the continuation of a trend toward the erosion of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine in bad faith litigation, another court has held that an insurer's communications with defense counsel retained for the insured in an underlying liability suit are discoverable and not subject to the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine in a subsequent third-party bad faith lawsuit, under Georgia law.
January 01, 2013
LexisNexis retained Ken Levine to draft its chapter on living benefits under life insurance policies, for the publisher’s preeminent Appleman on Insurance library treatise. This chapter reviews the manner in which these benefits arise, including a discussion of cash surrender and nonforfeiture values; the historical evolution of regulation to preserve and administer these benefits; policy loans; accelerated death benefits; the secondary (viatical) market, tax treatment of these benefits; and, authority and support for other aspects of these benefits.
December 19, 2012
In Capitol Specialty Insurance v. JBC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. et al., No. 68129-0-1, 2012 Wash. App. LEXIS 2835 (Ct. App. Dec. 10, 2012), the Washington Court of Appeals held a firearms exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy unambiguously excludes coverage for all claims arising from a nightclub shooting regardless of who used the firearm, including those claims characterized as pre-shooting negligence. The court distinguished the holding from those claims where there are allegations of post-shooting acts that lead to further injury or harm to the claimant.
November 15, 2012
Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled an insured can pursue its bad faith claim even where the insurer made timely payment of the appraisal award and the court dismissed the breach of contract claim on summary judgment. Intermodal Equip. Logistics, LLC and Sea Train Logistics, LLC v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., No. 3:10-cv-00458 (S.D. Tex. Galveston Div. May, 24, 2012).
November 08, 2012
Virginia Supreme Court Ends Chinese Drywall Debate - Global Insurance Alert - We are pleased to report that the Virginia Supreme Court has tacked down – or, more appropriately, "drywall-ed in" – the issue of whether a pollution exclusion in a property insurance policy precludes coverage for Chinese drywall claims under Virginia law.
November 06, 2012
On October 15, 2012, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit – applying Texas law – addressed another Cumis counsel matter. See Coats, Rose, Yale, Ryman & Lee, P.C. v. Navigators Specialty Ins. Co., No. 12-10055, 2012 WL 4858194 (5th Cir. Oct. 15, 2012).
October 19, 2012
Ohio Supreme Court Rules That Claims of Defective Workmanship Against A Builder Do Not Constitute An Occurrence Under A CGL Policy - Global Insurance Alert - On October 12, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Cort resolved a long-simmering conflict among Ohio's intermediate appellate courts by answering the following certified question: Are claims of defective construction/workmanship brought by a property owner claims for "property damage" caused by an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability policy?
October 09, 2012
Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Global Warming Action on Displacement Grounds - Global Insurance Alert - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a complaint filed by the Native Village of Kivalina and the city of Kivalina (collectively Kivalina) against 22
of the world’s largest energy producers alleging damages caused by global warming. Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.,No. 09-17490 (9th Cir. filed Sept. 21, 2012). Kivalina alleged that the barrier island on which the village is located is becoming uninhabitable.
October 04, 2012
Utah Court of Appeals Relies on Wikipedia to Determine Common Meaning of Term Used in Insurance Policy Exclusion - Global Insurance Alert - In Fire Insurance Exchange v. Oltmanns, 2012 UT App 230 (2012),the court determined the term “jet ski” as used in an exclusion in a homeowner’s policy was ambiguous, based in part on a Wikipedia definition of the term.
September 25, 2012
Texas Supreme Court Revisits Ruttiger Extracontractural Liability in Workers' Compensation Claims All But Vanquished - Global Insurance Alert! - On June 22, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court, in Texas Mutual Insurance Company v. Ruttiger, withdrew its original August 26, 2011 opinion, substituting it with an opinion that even further limits a claimant’s extra-contractual rights in a workers’ compensation matter.
September 20, 2012
Florida Appellate Court Holds that Appraisal Award Constitutes a 'Favorable Resolution' and Permits Insured to Pursue Bad Faith Claim - Global Insurance Alert - The Florida District Court of Appeal, Fourth District, recently held that an appraisal award in favor of an insured constitutes the "favorable resolution" of an action for insurance benefits necessary to proceed with a statutory first-party bad faith action under Florida law. Trafalgar v. Zurich Ins. Co., 2012 WL 3822215 (Fla. App. 4 Dist. Sept. 5, 2012).
September 14, 2012
Sixth Circuit Confirms that Cybercrime is Crime... and Finds Coverage - Global Insurance Alert - On August 28, 2012, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a groundbreaking decision that sent shock waves through the world of cyber-risk insurance.
September 13, 2012
Petersen v. Columbia Casualty Company: A Case Study in the Differences Between the Duty to Advance and the Duty to Defend - Global Insurance Alert - On August 21, 2012, in Petersen v. Columbia Casualty Company, et al., No. SACV-12-00183, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna held that a professional liability insurance policy, which provided that the insurer had a duty to advance defense expenses, should not be interpreted under the standards that govern policies containing the broader “duty to defend.”
September 04, 2012
Jonathan Toren of the Global Insurance Department authored this article in Law30 discussing Acticon V. China North East Petroleum. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently held that even if a stock recovers its value after dropping following a corrective disclosure, a showing of loss causation is not necessarily negated at the pleading stage in a claim for securities fraud, in Acticon AG, et al. v. China North East Petroleum Holdings Ltd., et al., No. 11-4544-cv (2nd Cir., August 1, 2012).
August 29, 2012
Recent Amendments to the Pennsylvania Insurance Holding Company Act: New Enterprise Risk Report - Insurance Corporate and Regulatory Alert - Pennsylvania’s Insurance Holding Company Act (IHCA) was recently amended by Act 136, signed into law on July 5, 2012. Act 136 made a number of changes to the IHCA.
August 29, 2012
The Broad Scope of Contractual Liability Exclusions in D&O Policies - Global Insurance Alert - On August 17, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in Federal Insurance Co. v. KDW Restructuring & Liquidation Services LLC et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-01357, held that Federal Insurance Company does not have a duty to defend or to indemnify its insured, Uni-Marts, LLC, under a D&O policy for claims arising out of Uni-Marts’ alleged misrepresentations and omissions to gas station purchasers.
August 27, 2012
Recent Amendments to the Pennsylvania Insurance Holding Company Act: Changes Affecting Corporate Governance and Intercompany Transactions and Agreements - Insurance Corporate and Regulatory Alert - Pennsylvania’s Insurance Holding Company Act (IHCA) was recently amended by Act 136, which was signed into law on July 5, 2012. Act 136 makes a number of changes to the IHCA, including imposing new corporate governance requirements and processes and expanding the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s authority to examine affiliates of an insurer.
August 14, 2012
Eleventh Circuit Holds An Arbitration Panel is A Tribunal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 For Purposes of Obtaining Discovery For Use in Foreign Arbitration - Global Insurance Alert! - As a matter of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, held that an arbitral panel in Ecuador was a tribunal under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for purposes of obtaining discovery for use in foreign proceedings. See, Consorcio Ecuatoriano de Telecomunicaciones S.A. v. JAS
Forwarding (USA), Inc., No. 11-12879, 2012 WL 2369166 (11th Cir. June 25, 2012).
August 10, 2012
California Supreme Court Adopts "All-Sums-With Stacking" Rule Disapproves FMC Corp. v. Plaisted In The Process - Global Insurance Alert - In a long-awaited decision, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that in cases of continuous or progressive property damage, each insurer, including excess insurers, on the risk at any point when damage occurred is liable for indemnity up to its policy limit if its policy contains “all sums” language.
August 09, 2012
Recent Amendments to the Pennsylvania Insurance Holding Company Act Changes Affecting Controlling Persons - Insurance Corporate and Regulatory Alert - Pennsylvania’s Insurance Holding Company Act (IHCA) was recently amended by Act 136, which was signed into law on July 5, 2012. Act 136 makes a number of changes to the IHCA, including requiring new filings, mandating prior notice and/or approval for certain transactions, and expanding the Insurance Department’s regulatory authority.
August 06, 2012
On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued Hoover v. Maxum Indemnity Company, Nos. S11S1681, S11G1683, 2012 WL2217040 (Ga. June 18, 2012), dramatically changing Georgia's ''Reservation of Rights'' law. In short, Hoover held insurers may no longer disclaim coverage under a specific policy provision, while reserving the right to do so under others. Id. at *3. The court held that a carrier waives coverage defenses that do not form the basis of the claim denial. Id. According to Hoover, a carrier cannot ''both deny a claim outright and attempt to reserve the right to assert a different defense in the future.'' Id. at *2.
July 27, 2012
Washington Court Concludes Umbrella Insurer Has a Duty to Defend Suit Against Insured Even Though Underlying Primary Insurer Similarly Has a Duty to Defend - Global Insurance Alert - In a surprising unpublished decision, the Washington State Court of Appeals recently ruled that an umbrella insurer had a duty to defend a suit against its insured despite the fact the underlying primary insurer had also previously been found to have a duty to defend the same parties in the same suit.
July 24, 2012
Recent Arizona Court Opinion Reduces Ratio of Bad Faith Punitive Damages Award to a 1:1 Ratio to Compensatory Damages - Global Insurance Alert - In its recent decision, the Arizona Appellate Court, Division One, affirmed a bad faith verdict in the amount of $155,000 and held that the $55 million punitive damages award against the insurer was “unconstitutionally excessive.”
July 20, 2012
First Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Bank’s Online Security Measures “Commercially Unreasonable” in Landmark Decision - Global Insurance Group Alert - In a landmark decision, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals held in PATCO Construction Company, Inc. v. People's United Bank, No. 11-2031 (1st Cir. July 3, 2012) that People's United Bank (d/b/a Ocean Bank) was required to reimburse its customer, PATCO Construction Co., for approximately $580,000 that had been stolen from PATCO's bank account...
July 02, 2012
New Ninth Circuit Decision Purportedly Imposes Duty on California Insurers to Negotiate a Settlement within Policy Limits - Global Insurance Alert! - The recent Du v. Allstate Ins. Co. opinion is the 9th Circuit’s Erie guess of the proper interpretation of a long-standing issue
of California bad faith law: whether an insurer has a duty to attempt to settle within policy limits even if there is no policy limits demand, and, if so, when that duty attaches. The 9th
Circuit ruled that an insurer does have the duty to attempt to settle a claim within policy limits when it is “reasonably clear”
June 30, 2012
Bank Errors - BEST’S REVIEW - As of early April, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had filed 27 lawsuits against directors and officers of failed banks. In several of these actions, the FDIC also named spouses of some executives, outside professionals and D&O insurers.
June 29, 2012
Exhaustion Implications for Multi-Policy Settlements - Global Insurance Alert - In JP Morgan Chase & Co. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 2012 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4627 (N.Y. App. Div. June 12, 2012), the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, applying Illinois law, affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of certain upper-level excess insurers, agreeing that the insured failed to prove that certain underlying policies had been properly exhausted.
June 27, 2012
The Potential Implications of the JOBS Act on D&O Coverage - Global Insurance Alert - On April 5, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, better known as the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act is intended to help smaller and new companies raise capital, and, to accomplish this goal, institutes fundamental changes to existing securities laws in the areas of fundraising and emerging growth companies (EGCs).
June 25, 2012
Maximus Opinion Permits Functional Exhaustion of Underlying Insurance - Global Insurance Alert - Excess insurers should carefully note both trends in the law, and particular policy language, that may potentially influence whether their policyholders can exhaust underlying policies without actually receiving payment of the full underlying limits. In its recent opinion in Maximus, Inc. v. Twin City Fire Insurance Company, No. 11-CV-1231, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia determined that an ambiguously worded follow-form excess policy permitted this result.
June 19, 2012
Confidentiality Agreements and Standstill Provisions; the Delaware Chancery Court Broadly Construes Confidentiality Agreements and Enjoins a Hostile Bid Despite the Absence of Standstill Provisions Relating to Stock Transactions - Global Insurance Alert - In a significant recent decision, Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Vulcan Materials Company, the Delaware Chancery Court reiterated the preference of Delaware courts to enforce confidentiality agreements and to construe them broadly as a matter of public policy.
June 15, 2012
On May 31, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court rendered its 32 page, long-awaited decision in QBE Insurance Corp. v. Chalfonte Condominium Apartment Association, Inc. The court reaffirmed that Florida does not recognize the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing in the context of a first-party claim, a claimant only has a statutory first-party bad-faith cause of action, and Florida courts shall not rewrite insurance contracts.
June 01, 2012
Proving Fine Art Damage: It's All in the Details - Claims Magazine - To Maximize Subrogation Recoveries, Pay Attention of damages and hiring the right damages experts
are as important as proving the cause of
June 01, 2012
When Loss Ensues: Washington State Supreme Court Issues Mixed Messages on Ensuing Loss Provisions in All-Risk Policies - Global Insurance Alert - All‐risk property insurance policies generally provide coverage for any peril that causes property damage, except when the damage is caused by a risk specifically excluded in the policy.
June 01, 2012
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules "Any Exposure" to Asbestos Fibers Does Not Pass Evidentiary Muster Under Frye (in a Decision with Significant Implications for Insurers - Global Insurance Alert - On May 23, 2012, a unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the admissibility of “any exposure” expert opinion testimony, which is commonly advanced by asbestos plaintiffs.
May 17, 2012
Washington Court Holds that a Corporate Officer's Breach of Contract is Not a Covered 'Loss' from a 'Wrongful Act' Under a D&O Policy - Global Insurance Alert - In a recent case, Sauter v. Houston Cas. Co., No. 66809-9-1, (May 14, 2012), a Washington appeals court analyzed a type of policy not often considered by Washington courts – a director and officer (D&O) policy.
May 17, 2012
The Impact of the Professional Services Exclusion on Negligent Supervision/Sexual Molestation Claims - Claims Management Magazine -
May 01, 2012
Split Decisions: The Outcome of Court Cases Concerning Appraisals Varies from State to State for Insurers - Best’s Review -
April 09, 2012
Reinsurer and Third Party Claims Administrators Not Proper Defendants in Asbestos Coverage Action - Global Insurance Alert! - On February 29, 2012, Judge Rita Novak, of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., issued a ruling of major significance granting the Motion to Dismiss filed by Cozen O’Connor on behalf of its clients and holding that a policyholder could
not hold a reinsurer or third-party claims administrators liable for allegedly assuming the direct insurer’s insuring obligations or tortious interference.
March 26, 2012
Indiana Supreme Court Again Finds the Pollution Exclusion Ambiguous, But Indicates a Possible Way Forward - Global Insurance Alert! - Enforcing the pollution exclusion clause in a commercial general liability policy continues to be problematic for insurers in the state of Indiana. On March 20, 2012, the Indiana Supreme Court once again held that the absolute pollution exclusion is unenforceable because of the term "pollutant" is ambiguous.
March 13, 2012
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