Richard Bennett

Richard Bennett

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Order of Civil Authority Claim for Superstorm Sandy Barred by Flooding Exclusion in New York

On Thursday of law week, a federal court in New York City tossed an Order of Civil Authority (OCA) claim by a New York City law firm in Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn, LLP v. Sentinel Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39409...more

3/31/2015 - Flooding Hurricane Sandy Insurance Litigation Loss of Income Policy Exclusions

New Jersey Trial Court Holds Storm Surge Not Subject to Flood Sublimit Where Policy Expressly Includes “Ensuing Storm Surge” in...

In recent years, many courts have held that storm surge is a species of excluded flood loss; we reported on a New York example in July. This week, in Public Serv. Enter. Group, v. ACE Amer. Ins. Co., 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub....more

3/30/2015 - Flooding Hurricane Sandy Insurance Litigation Policy Limits

Iowa’s Highest Court: Damage by Rainwater is Damage by Rain

Last July, we posted that an intermediate level appellate court in Iowa had held that a policy excluding loss “caused by rain” did not bar coverage for loss occasioned by the non-excluded peril of “rainwater.” ...more

3/24/2015 - Insurance Litigation Policy Exclusions Property Damage State Farm Water Damage

California Court Holds Product Contamination Insurance Does Not Cover Ingredients Contaminated by Insured’s Supplier

On February 6th, an intermediate level California appellate court held that a product contamination policy only covered contamination that occurs during or after manufacturing operations by the insured, meaning that there was...more

3/19/2015 - Contamination Corporate Counsel Insurance Litigation Manufacturers Policy Exclusions Suppliers Supply Chain

Silica Dust Damage Held Barred by Pollution and Faulty Workmanship Exclusions in New York

Building construction frequently generates silica dust, a substance that can cause lung disease and other respiratory problems.  Abrasive sand-blasting or jack hammering as well as concrete drilling and block cutting can lead...more

3/17/2015 - Faulty Workmanship Liability Insurance Policy Exclusions Pollution Exclusion Silica

New York’s Highest Court Enforces a Water Damage Exclusion Despite an Ensuing Loss Exception

In Platek v. Town of Hamberg, et al., 2015 WL 685726, 2015 N.Y. LEXIS 252 (N.Y., Feb. 19, 2015), the New York Court of Appeals held that an exclusion for water below the surface of the ground was unambiguous and operated to...more

3/13/2015 - Groundwater Insurance Litigation Policy Exclusions Water Damage

Sixth Circuit: Growing Marijuana is Not the Same as Buying a Houseplant or Entertaining Visitors

Half of the states in this country have now legalized marijuana for medical use, and that has led to a number of small-scale growing operations in policyholders’ homes.  While not nearly as dangerous as cooking meth on the...more

2/27/2015 - Homeowner's Insurance Marijuana Medical Marijuana Property Damage Property Insurance

Florida Court Holds Arson is a Type of Excluded Vandalism and Malicious Mischief

Earlier this month a unanimous Florida appellate court joined a number of other states that have held that an all-risk policy exclusion for vandalism and malicious mischief operates to bar coverage for an arson loss. ...more

2/26/2015 - All-Risks Insurance Arson Policy Exclusions Property Damage Vandalism

Inventory Computation Exclusion Bars Employee Theft Claim in Alabama

Employee theft claims are frequently problematic when the only evidence of shortage is a comparison between computer records and a physical inventory conducted after the malefactor has been discharged.  ...more

2/9/2015 - Commercial Insurance Policies Former Employee Inventory Termination Theft

Virginia Court Nixes Claim Chinese Drywall Damage to HVAC Systems is Covered as Equipment Breakdown

In Travco Ins. Co. v. Ward, 284 Va. 547, 736 S.E.2d 321 (2012), the Virginia Supreme Court held that loss occasioned by the sulfuric gas released by defective Chinese drywall was excluded under the primary coverage grant of a...more

2/6/2015

Late Notice Held to Bar a $6,000,000 Hurricane Wilma Claim in Florida

In The Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Condo. Ass’n. v. Lexington Ins. Co., – Fed.Appx. –, 2015 WL 106862, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 293 (11h Cir., Jan. 8, 2015), a unanimous panel of the Eleventh Circuit recently held that a...more

1/30/2015 - Condominiums Hurricane Wilma Late Notices Loss Causation Property Damage Property Insurance

If You Post It, Your Opponent Can Probably Discover It

In March we ran a post on how important videos, photographs, and statements on social media sites can be when investigating a property loss. A picture is literally worth a thousand words. Earlier this month, a Florida court...more

1/27/2015 - Bodily Injury Evidence Facebook Photographs Privacy Policy Social Media Social Networks Target Video Recordings

Anti-Sequential Causation Clause Upheld in Hurricane Irene Case in New Jersey

In Ashrit Realty, LLC v. Tower National Ins. Co., 2015 WL 248490, 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 107 (N.J.Super.Ct., App.Div., Jan. 20,  2015), New Jersey’s Appellate Division held that an anti-concurrent/anti-sequential...more

1/26/2015 - Claim Preclusion Hurricane Irene Insurance Litigation Loss Causation Property Damage Property Insurance

Website Names the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2014

December saw two posts about the depressing demise of TRIA, so we thought we’d end the year on a considerably lighter note. FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce project that addresses this country’s...more

12/31/2014 - Corporate Counsel Frivolous Lawsuits Popular

Minnesota Holds “Comparable Material and Quality” Requires Wholesale Replacement Where Undamaged Siding Is Faded

Matching issues are frequently problematic when storms damage only portions of an insured structure’s exterior and it proves impossible to replace the damaged sections with material that is an exact match for the rest of the...more

12/24/2014 - Condominiums Insurance Litigation Property Damage Property Insurance Replacement Costs

Our Dysfunctional Congress Skedaddles, Leaving TRIA to Die

Last Friday we reported that the House of Representatives had finally passed a bill reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and sent it to the Senate. The post included a picture of a cartoon bomb with a lit...more

12/19/2014 - Appropriations Bill Legislative Agendas Terrorism Insurance TRIA

If It’s December, It Must Finally Be Time for Congress to Do Something About TRIA

It looks like Congress is finally turning its attention to reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). The statute will sunset on December 31st unless action is taken before then....more

12/15/2014 - Legislative Agendas TRIA

Florida Court: Under All-Risk Policy, Insured Does Not Bear Burden of Showing Loss Was Caused by a Sinkhole

On November 26th, a unanimous panel of Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals held that a trial judge had erred in placing the burden of showing that loss was caused by covered sinkhole activity on the shoulders of the...more

12/10/2014 - All-Risks Insurance Appeals Burden of Proof Property Damage Property Insurance

New Jersey Court: Loss of Use – Without More – Can Be “Direct Physical Loss or Damage”

Last month, a New Jersey federal court held that the term “direct physical loss of or damage to” property did not require that the property be physically altered in any permanent way. In Gregory Packaging, Inc. v. Travelers...more

12/5/2014

With Respect to Discoverability, Indiana Federal Court Distinguishes Between Pre-Suit and Post-Suit Reserves

In May, we reported on a Third Circuit decision holding that loss reserve information was generally irrelevant and not discoverable. In October, a federal court in Indiana came to the same conclusion with respect to...more

12/1/2014 - Affirmative Defenses Claims Adjusters Counterclaims Discovery Insurers Property Damage Property Insurance

Seventh Circuit: Under Wisconsin Law, “Continuous or Repeated Exposure” Language Means That a Continuous Trigger Theory Applies

Yesterday, in Strauss v. Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., – F.3d – , 2014 WL 6435314, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21794 (7th Cir., Nov. 18, 2014), the Court of Appeals held that the use of the phrase “continuous or repeated exposure” in a...more

11/20/2014 - Appeals Occurrence Policy Limits Property Damage Property Insurance Triggering Event Water Damage

New Jersey Court Holds $22 Million “Named Storm” Deductible Applicable to a Superstorm Sandy Loss

On October 29th, a New Jersey trial court held that a commercial policyholder’s Superstorm Sandy claims were subject to a $22 million “named storm” deductible equal to 2% of the total insurable values at risk at all of the...more

11/4/2014 - Commercial Property Owners Deductibles Hurricane Sandy Property Damage Property Insurance

Second Circuit Affirms a Southern District Decision Construing “Covered Location” Narrowly

In January, the Southern District rejected an insured’s $2 million claim for a generator destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The unit was in the basement of an office building in lower Manhattan, but the contract of insurance...more

10/31/2014 - Commercial Property Owners Hurricane Sandy Insureds Policy Exclusions

Oklahoma Supreme Court Reconciles Sewer Backup Exclusion With Accidental Discharge Coverage Grant

In May, we reported that a New York court had found that a policy containing both an exclusion for water that backs up through sewers and drains and a coverage grant for accidental discharge or overflow from a plumbing system...more

10/30/2014 - Property Damage Property Insurance Wastewater

Pennsylvania Court: Inaction When Damage is Known to Be Likely is Enough to Render the Loss Non-Fortuitous

On September 19th, a federal court in Pennsylvania held that a wall collapse was not fortuitous because the insureds knew that the wall was unstable and likely to fall and yet took no steps to correct the problem. ...more

10/27/2014 - Policy Exclusions Property Damage Property Insurance Repairs

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