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A DJ is a Sometime Thing: In Declaratory Judgment Actions Over Coverage, the Sixth Circuit Gives Trial Courts a Wide Berth

The Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, gives federal district courts “unique and substantial discretion” over whether to hear suits seeking a declaration of rights. Wilton v. Seven Falls Co., 515 U.S. 277, 286...more

Like Hats and Belt Buckles, Indemnity Agreements in Texas Must be CONSPICUOUS

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that Texas law allows an indemnity agreement to insulate a party from the consequences of its own, allegedly negligent conduct, but only if that feature...more

Assign Away: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Says Bad Faith Claims May be Assigned

On December 15, 2014, in the case of Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014, slip op. at 1 (Pa. Dec. 15, 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an insured may assign a statutory bad faith claim...more

Policy Observer - December 2014

Giving and Receiving: Insuring Company-Sponsored Volunteerism: This is the time of year when we are reminded of the importance of giving. Many companies not only donate generously to nonprofits and community programs,...more

Recent Decisions Reinforce the Value of Quality over Quantity in a Reservation of Rights Letter

In two recent cases, Advantage Builders & Exteriors v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co. No. WD 76880 (Mo. Ct. App. Sept. 2, 2014) and EAN Services, LLC v. Brunson, No. 2-14-118 (Ill. Ct. App. September 8, 2014), the courts remind...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- December 2014

Texas Appeals Court Upholds $8.7M Verdict for Policyholder Against Broker - Why it matters: An appeals court in Texas upheld an $8.7 million jury verdict against a broker that procured coverage with significant...more

As the Snowfall Comes to an End, Buffalo, New York Area Businesses Should Seek To Protect Their Insurance Rights

The Buffalo, New York, area has been devastated with record-setting levels of snowfall. In just a few days, the area has received a year’s worth of snow, with more than seven feet in some places. The heavy snow has led to...more

If You Are a Third-Party Beneficiary, Make Sure the Contract Is Crystal Clear!

In Be Clear if You Want to Have a “Third-Party Beneficiary” in Your Contract, I discussed that if in-house counsel wanted to ensure that a person or entity achieved the status of a third-party beneficiary, it was critical to...more

The Duty To Defend Broader Than The Duty To Indemnify? Your Insurer Doesn’t Think So, And Surprisingly, Some Courts Agree

Insurance law practitioners learn on day one that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify, encompassing even uncovered claims if at least one claim against the insured is potentially covered. See Bridge Metal...more

Insurance Alert: Insurer Delay Extends Time to Repair or Replace Damaged Property

In Stephens & Stephens XII v. Fireman's Fund Ins. (No. A135938, filed November 24, 2014), the plaintiffs obtained property insurance on a warehouse. Within a month, it was discovered to be stripped of all wiring and metal....more

Keeping Pace With Texas Hail Claim 'Case-Runners'

Texas insurance carrier clients writing significant property insurance business in Texas all confirm a disturbing trend. Historically, Texas insurers have seen less than 2 percent of their property insurance claims result in...more

CFO’s Thirst for Wine Club Invitation Costs Hospital Millions

You can’t make this stuff up. Last Monday a federal court in Rhode Island ordered two insurance companies to pay a $30 million claim by hospital management company Lifespan Corp. Lifespan filed the claim after being ordered...more

Is That Covered? Hail Damage

Back in May, 2014, parts of Berks and Lancaster counties were hit with a freak hail storm. With hail as large as tennis balls reported, homes and cars suffered significant damage. Hail damage is generally covered under auto...more

Court Denies Petition For Order Confirming Final Arbitration Award And Entry Of Judgment

In First State Ins. Co. v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-11322-IT (U.S.D.C. D. Mass. Oct. 21, 2014), a petition for an order to confirm a final arbitration award and entry of judgment was denied. The court determined...more

Addressing an issue of first impression, Connecticut Supreme Court concludes that Insurance Guaranty Association is not estopped...

In Connecticut Ins. Guaranty Association v. Joshua Drown, the Connecticut Supreme Court addressed, as an issue of first impression, whether an insurer’s preinsolvency breach of its duty to defend a claim during an underlying...more

7th Circuit Rejects Attempt to Reopen Final Judgment Under Rule 54(b)

Last month, we wrote about the Seventh Circuit’s willingness to reopen a 23-year old judgment under Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. But in Selective Insurance Co. v. City of Paris, the court reminded parties...more

Missouri Court Allows Insured to Pursue Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against Excess Insurer

In its recent decision in SSM Health Care Corp. v. Repwest Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158164 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 7, 2014), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri had occasion to consider whether...more

English High Court Holds Litigation Funders Liable for Indemnity Costs

The court’s decision will have wider significance for litigation funders, parties seeking funding, and their opponents. On 23 October, the English High Court handed down its judgment in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas...more

Illinois Court of Appeals Decision Serves as Caution to Policyholders Seeking Coverage for Underlying Settlements

The Illinois Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion providing guidance for policyholders seeking insurance coverage under commercial liability policies for settlements to resolve class actions asserted against them. In...more

Eleventh Circuit Requests Assistance in Interpreting Consent-to-Settle Provision

Most cases in the United States settle. Insurers are well-aware of this fact. Thus, insurance companies employ consent-to-settle provisions in insurance policies to limit and control their liability in the likely event of a...more

Policy’s “Named Storm” Deductible Applies To New Jersey Superstorm Sandy Claim

In Wakefern Food Corp. v. Lexington Insurance Company, No. MID-L-6483-13 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. filed Oct. 29, 2014), the Superior Court of New Jersey held in favor of Lexington Insurance Company in connection with a $50...more

Fifth Circuit Addresses Contractual Liability Exclusion

In its recent decision in Crownover v. Mid-Continent Cas. Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20737 (5th Cir. October 29, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior ruling and held that the...more

More “Texas Justice” For Policyholder On Contractual Liability Exclusion

On October 29, the Fifth Circuit reversed itself for the second time this year in a case involving the interpretation of a contractual liability exclusion in a CGL policy. This recent decision by the Fifth Circuit in...more

California Federal Courts Tell Insurers Not to Jump the Gun in Suing Policyholders for Reimbursement

In a series of opinions issued over the past few months, federal judges in California have reiterated that insurers must wait until they are finished defending their policyholders before they sue those policyholders for...more

Catch Me If You Can: Fake Doctor’s Application Voids Coverage for Himself But Not for Innocent Co-Insureds

Written like a blockbuster Hollywood film, the U.S. District Court in South Carolina, in Evanston Insurance Company v. Agape Senior Primary Care, et al., 2014 WL 5365679, issued a ruling October 21, 2014, in which it held...more

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