Richard Bennett

Richard Bennett

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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

Eleventh Circuit: Sinkhole Loss in Florida Must Impair the Property’s Structural Integrity to be Covered

Effective in 2005, Florida statutes defined “sinkhole loss” to mean “structural damage to the building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity,” and they left the all-important term “structural damage”...more

4/2/2015 - Homeowner's Insurance Insurance Litigation Property Damage Property Insurance Scope of Coverage

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

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