Richard Bennett

Richard Bennett

Cozen O'Connor

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Insurance Fraud Act Suits by Insurers Held to Trigger Right to Jury Trials in New Jersey

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that a civil defendant sued by an insurance company for violations of the state’s Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA) has the right to trial by jury. In Allstate New...more

7/23/2015 - Allstate Compensatory Damages Disgorgement Insurance Fraud Insurance Industry Jury Trial NJ Supreme Court Punitive Damages Treble Damages

California Court: Appraisers Cannot be Directed to Assign Loss Values to Undamaged or Non-Existent Items in the Insured’s Scope

It is axiomatic that the appraisers’ task is solely to determine the amount of loss, as opposed to coverage or liability. In Li-Lin Sung v. California Capital Ins. Co., 2015 WL 3797827, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 530 (Jun. 18,...more

7/22/2015 - Appeals Appraisal Fire Damage Insurance Industry Loss Coverage Residential Property Owners Residential Real Estate Market

Sixth Circuit: A Michigan Collapse Extension Overrides Exclusions for Cracking and Defective Design

In Joy Tabernacle — The New Testament Church v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2015 WL 3824733, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10707 (6th Cir., Jun. 22, 2015), a unanimous panel of the federal Court of Appeals recently held that a...more

7/16/2015 - Appeals Construction Defects Construction Industry Faulty Workmanship Insurance Contracts Insurance Industry Property Insurance Summary Judgment

Tennessee Court Weighs in on Whether Arson is a Species of Vandalism and Malicious Mischief

Last month in what was a case of first impression in Tennessee, a unanimous panel of the state’s intermediate level appellate court joined those jurisdictions that have concluded that arson does not constitute a type of...more

7/14/2015 - Arson Fire Damage Fire Insurance Insurance Industry Property Insurance Summary Judgment Vacant Properties Vandalism

Seventh Circuit Holds Insured Entitled to a New Roof for Purely Cosmetic Hail Damage

The Seventh Circuit is becoming a difficult venue for insurers. In November we reported that the Court of Appeals had held that the phrase “continuous or repeated exposure” in definition of occurrence meant that a continuous...more

7/13/2015 - Appeals Insurance Industry Motion for Summary Judgment Property Damage Property Insurance Severe Weather Water Damage

New York Court: Broadly-Worded Flood Limit “Meaningless” Unless it Applies to Any Kind of Loss Caused by Flood

Tuesday, in El-Ad West LLC v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2015 WL 4078762, 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5753 (Jul. 7, 2015), a unanimous panel of New York’s intermediate level appellate court held that a flood sub-limit capped all...more

7/9/2015 - Condominiums Flood Insurance Flooding Insurance Industry Land Developers Property Insurance Superstorm Sandy Zurich America Insurance Co.

Texas Court Rejects Ambiguity Arguments Bottomed on a Single Phrase

Last Thursday in King v. Burwell, 2015 WL 2473448, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4248 (U.S., Jun. 25, 2015), Chief Justice Roberts explained that “[a] provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of...more

7/8/2015

Oklahoma Holds Question of Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes is for the Courts to Decide.

The issue of whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes has first-party insurance implications because policies typically exclude damage from tremors attributable to man-made causes as opposed to purely...more

7/3/2015 - Earthquakes Exclusive Jurisdiction Fracking Insurers Jurisdiction Oil & Gas Policy Exclusions Popular Property Insurance

Missouri Court: “Equivalent” Requires that Replacement Siding be Both Equal in Value and Virtually Identical

In December, we published a post about a Minnesota Supreme Court case that held that under a replacement cost policy, the phrase “comparable material and quality” meant that all of the siding on 20 buildings had to be...more

7/1/2015 - Equivalency Determinations Insurance Litigation Property Damage Replacement Costs

New York Court: Undefined Word “Occurrence” in a Deductible Provision Must be Construed by the Finder of Fact

Many property policies expressly define the term “occurrence” to encompass a series of similar and related events. Last month, however, in Rokeach v. Hanover Ins. Co., 2015 WL 2400097, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6580 (May 19, 2015,...more

6/26/2015 - Deductibles Insurance Litigation Occurrence

Missouri Court Clarifies What Constitutes An Ensuing Loss

Last week in Performance Arts Cmty. Improvement Dist. v. ACE Amer. Ins. Co., 2015 WL 3491292, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71592 (W.D. Mo., June 3, 2015), a federal court in Missouri shot down an insured’s arguments that a wall...more

6/10/2015 - Builder's Risk Exclusion Construction Defects Insurance Litigation

Ninth Circuit: Under Arizona Law Mudslide Can Be Covered as the Direct Result of Fire

Last Friday, a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit held that loss from the excluded peril of mudslide occurring one month after a wildfire could be covered as the “direct” result of the blaze. In Stankova v. Metropolitan...more

6/3/2015 - Fire Insurance Insurance Litigation Policy Exclusions Property Damage Property Insurance Proximate Cause

Georgia Court: Policy Does Not Require Insured to Produce Recordings of Her Conversations With the Carrier

On May 20th, a federal court in Georgia held that the standard “requirements in case of loss” language compelling the insurer to turn over her books and records during the adjustment process did not require the production of...more

5/29/2015 - Allstate Bad Faith Breach of Contract Discovery Fire Damage Insurance Industry Residential Property Owners

Indiana Court Nixes Requests for Reinsurance and Reserves

Early last month a federal court in Indianapolis barred a policyholder from seeking the claims and underwriting files of the defendant carrier’s reinsurer in Indianapolis Airport Auth. v. Travelers Property Cas. Co. of Amer.,...more

5/28/2015 - Airports Breach of Contract Construction Industry Contractors Declaratory Judgments Insurance Industry Motion To Quash Reinsurance Travelers Property Casualty Co.

Oklahoma Court Holds the Policyholder Can Also Be the Vandal

Earlier this week an Oklahoma federal court addressed a mortgagee’s claim for vandalism loss – a topic we also discussed in Wednesday’s post. In American Modern Home Ins. Co. v. Tulsa Fed. Credit Union, 2015 WL 2372549, 2015...more

5/26/2015 - Insurance Litigation Mortgage Lenders Property Insurance Vandalism

Pennsylvania Joins Oklahoma, Bans Homeowners Insurers From Attributing Earthquakes to Fracking

Last month we reported that the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner had issued a bulletin cautioning earthquake insurers against denying claims on the basis that the quake was attributable to a man-made cause, which is to say oil...more

5/22/2015 - Earthquakes Fracking Homeowner's Insurance Homeowners Insurance Industry Popular

Illinois Court Holds Vacancy Clause Does Not Bar Vandalism and Theft Claim by Mortgagee

In a case of first impression in Illinois, a unanimous panel of the state’s Appellate Court recently addressed the interplay between a vacancy clause and a mortgagee provision and held that the insured’s failure to comply...more

5/21/2015 - Appeals First Impression Insurance Litigation Mortgagee Property Insurance Scope of Coverage Vacancy Clause

Alabama’s High Court: No Contract Means No Bad Faith

In many states, pleading and proving the existence of a valid contract is necessary for both a breach of contract cause of action and also for a viable bad faith claim, and the Alabama Supreme Court addressed exactly that...more

5/18/2015 - AL Supreme Court Bad Faith Breach of Contract Life Insurance

Iowa Court: Anti-Concurrent Causation Language Mandates That the Jury Determine Whether an Excluded Peril Was One Cause of the...

Last month, we discussed a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that enforced an anti-concurrent causation (ACC) clause.  The month of April also saw a unanimous panel on Iowa’s intermediate level appellate court do the same...more

5/15/2015 - Flooding Insurance Litigation Loss Causation Policy Exclusions Property Insurance

Arizona Court: Argument that All Business Income Loss Caused by a Wildfire is Covered is “Off Base”

Several weeks ago in White Mt. Communities Hosp., Inc. v. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co., 2015 WL 1755372, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50900 (D. Ariz., Apr. 17, 2015), an Arizona federal court underscored that business interruption losses...more

5/13/2015 - Business Interruption Fire Damage Insurance Litigation Property Damage

Smelly Cat – Closely-Divided New Hampshire Supreme Court Addresses Whether Cat Urine Is a Pollutant

Last Friday, New Hampshire’s highest court unanimously held that the pungent aroma of cat urine could constitute physical loss or damage under a property policy. In Mellin v. Northern Security Ins. Co., 2015 WL 1869572, 2015...more

4/29/2015 - Air Pollution Insurance Litigation Pollution Exclusion Property Damage Property Insurance

Texas Supreme Court Enforces Anti-Concurrent Causation, Bars Coverage Where Wind and Flood Combine to Cause the Loss

Last Friday, Texas’ highest court unanimously endorsed lower court and federal court decisions giving effect to anti-concurrent causation (ACC) clauses and held that such provisions bar coverage where a combination of an...more

4/28/2015 - Anti-Concurrent Causation Clauses Hurricane Ike Insurance Litigation Property Damage TX Supreme Court

Squatter’s Warming Fire in Vacant Home Held Not to be Vandalism by Divided California Court

In February, we published a Post about a Florida decision that aligned that state with the clear majority of American courts that have held that the destruction of property by an intentionally set fire is encompassed within...more

4/10/2015 - Fire Damage Insurance Litigation Policy Exclusions Property Damage Vandalism

Kentucky Court: Depreciating Labor to Get Actual Cash Value Is Like Making the Insured Use a Very Old Roofer With Debilitating...

Surprisingly few states have addressed the question of whether an insurer can depreciate labor – as opposed to materials – to arrive at actual cash value (ACV). ...more

4/10/2015 - Cash Value Depreciation Insurers Materials and Labor

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner: Don’t Deny Earthquake Claims as Man-Made by Linking Them to Fracking

The jury is still out on whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes, but carriers whose policies afford coverage for quakes have recently been denying such claims, asserting that they are excluded because...more

4/3/2015 - Drilling Waste Disposal Earthquake Insurance Earthquakes Fracking Insurance Industry Oil & Gas

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