General Business Civil Procedure Personal Injury

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Seventh Circuit Issues Stern Warning For Insurers That Reject Their Duty to Defend

The first line of the Seventh Circuit’s opinion says it all: “This case provides a warning for insurance companies who refuse to defend their insureds.” As the court’s admonishment suggests, insurers that improperly refuse to...more

Making The California Assumption Of Risk Doctrine Work For You

The doctrine of assumption of risk is a legal defense that may operate to relieve a California owner or occupier of and from liability to third parties who are injured on their premises. One species of the doctrine, primary...more

CA Supreme Court Finds “Consent-to-Assignment” Clauses Unenforceable After Loss Occurs During the Policy Period

In Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court (No. S205889; filed 8/20/15), the California Supreme Court overruled its earlier decision in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934, holding that...more

California Statute Trumps Anti-Assignment Clauses in Liability Insurance Policies

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...more

California Supreme Court Limits Enforceability of Anti-Assignment Clauses

In a unanimous decision handed down by the California Supreme Court on August 20, 2015 in Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court, the court removed a significant obstacle facing companies that want to assign their interests in a...more

One Business Day Delay In Delivering Settlement Check Costs Insurer $1.1 Million

A South Carolina federal district court judge has ordered that Nationwide must pay an accident victim $1.1 million, in excess of the $50,000 Nationwide policy, as a result of Nationwide’s failure to timely respond to a...more

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: Establishing an Arguable Basis for Delay or Denial of a Claim Precludes a Finding of Bad Faith

Dey v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 14-60300, 2015 WL 3772762 (5th Cir. June 17, 2015). Fifth Circuit holds that “pocketbook dispute” between insured and insurer over value of the insured’s claim and insurer’s...more

Tenth Circuit: Legal Characterization of Facts in Underlying Complaint Insufficient to Trigger the Duty to Defend

On July 30, 2015, the Tenth Circuit affirmed that an insurer that issued a commercial general liability policy with an auto exclusion for bodily injury arising out of the loading and unloading of an auto did not have a duty...more

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Predicts That Pennsylvania Supreme Court Would Prevent an Insured from Recovering Punitive Damages...

Wolfe v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., No. 12-4450, 2015 WL 3634779 (3d Cir. June 12, 2015). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals holds that evidence of punitive damages award against insured in underlying suit was not...more

Without So Much as a Fig Leaf . . .

Legal commentators and court watchers rightly complain about activist judges who make laws rather than interpret them. Last month’s decision in the The Babcock & Wilcox Co. et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., is...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Tort Claims Initially Dismissed Under Economic Loss Doctrine Where Product Caused Damage to “Other Property”

On June 29, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in CHMM LLC v. Freeman Marine Equipment, Case No. 13-35163 (D.C. No. 3:12-cv-01484-ST), reversed the District Court’s judgment in an admiralty case, holding that a vessel...more

Read Before Signing: Court Finds Fact-Intensive Gross Negligence Claims Should Proceed to Jury, Where Deviation from Industry...

In Jimenez, et al. v. 24 Hour Fitness, USA, Inc. (filed June 9, 2015, No. C071959), California’s Third Appellate District held that where fact-intensive gross negligence claims exist, especially with evidence of potential...more

Eastern District of Pa. Again Recognizes Montreal Convention Exclusively Governs Claims

Action Item: Until there is appellate resolution of the preemptive effect of the Montreal Convention, airlines sued in state court over damages allegedly arising during the course of international transportation should...more

Insurance May Cover Call Recording Class Actions

Companies often monitor or record conversations between their employees and customers for training or quality control purposes. California law prohibits monitoring or recording unless both parties consent. Class actions have...more

Connecticut Supreme Court Affirms No Coverage under CGL Policy for Damages Arising from Lost Computer Tapes

The Supreme Court of Connecticut recently affirmed the lower court’s finding that no coverage obligation exists for insurers in Recall Total Info. Mgmt. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 2015 Conn. LEXIS 150 (Conn. May 26,...more

Colorado Supreme Court: Indefinite, Future Assignment of Insurance Proceeds Unenforceable Against Insurer

It is not uncommon for injured persons to assign their rights to insurance proceeds to a third party, and the enforceability of those assignments has been the subject of frequent litigation around the country. In the most...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Property Damage Directly Caused By Fire

In Stankova v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8935 (9th Cir. May 29, 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, applying Arizona law, had the opportunity to address the concept of...more

Supreme Court of Tasmania reminds insurers how to interpret common exclusion clauses

In Hammersley v National Transport Insurance, the Full Court of Tasmania’s Supreme Court examined the authorities on the meaning of “accidental”, “recklessness” and “used in an unsafe or unroadworthy condition” – terms which...more

Franchisors in Québec have the implied obligation to protect and enhance the brand: the Dunkin’ Donuts case

In a unanimous decision, the Québec Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Superior Court which found that a franchisor must take reasonable measures to protect and enhance the value and reputation of its brand. Thus,...more

Florida High Court to Decide When a Trial Court May Set Aside a Default Judgment

On April 9, 2015, the Florida Supreme Court held oral argument on Santiago v. Mauna Loa Investments, LLC, No. SC13-2194 (review granted May 22, 2014), which will require the Court to clarify the scope of a trial court’s...more

Litigation Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Affirms Protection for Business Property Owners"

The Supreme Court of Texas, interpreting Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code, affirmed that business property owners have broad protections against suits for injuries claimed by contractors, subcontractors...more

Middle District of Pennsylvania: Possibility of Bad Faith Exists Despite Payment of Claim Where Insured Alleges Untimely Claims...

Scheirer v. Nationwide Ins. Co. of Am., No. 3:13-CV-1397, 2015 WL 1013986 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2015). Middle District of Pennsylvania denies cross-motions for summary judgment on bad faith claim, holding that material...more

New York Court Holds Parking Lot Exclusion Inapplicable

In its recent decision in Lancer Indem. Co. v JKH Realty Group, LLC, 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3293 (N.Y. 2d Dep’t Apr. 22, 2015), the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, had occasion to consider the application...more

Connecticut Supreme Court Likely To Affirm Personal Injury Coverage For Data Breach Requires Actual Publication To Third Parties

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday April 27th on an appeal testing the scope of coverage afforded for a business’s data loss or theft events under its Commercial General Liability insurance’s “Personal...more

Tennessee “As Is” Property Buyers Better Beware

A recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision reinforces that parties to a contract are free to disclaim reliance on representations made by the other party. In Terry Pritchett v. Comas Montgomery Realty & Auction...more

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