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Maryland Insurer Not Permitted to Rely on Business Pursuits Exclusion to Deny Duty to Defend Where Continuity of Business Interest...

In Springer v. Erie Insurance Exchange, the Court of Appeals set out to determine whether the allegations in a complaint for defamation triggered the Business Pursuits exclusion in a homeowner’s liability insurance policy...more

Is There a Duty to Defend Pollution Claims? It’s the Complaint, Stupid

This Spring, cases from Florida and Wisconsin reaffirmed the general proposition that a liability insurer’s duty to defend must be determined from the specific claims in the underlying complaint against the insured, and not...more

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (8/14 - Part 2)

In its weekly orders on Friday, August 22, 2014, the Supreme Court was busy. The Court issued 7 opinions, granted 4 petitions for review, and set 4 mandamus petitions for argument. Scott Stolley summarized 3 of the opinions,...more

7th Circuit Holds Excess Insurer Has No Duty to Indemnify Punitive Damages

In its recent decision in Fox v. Am. Alternative Ins. Corp., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12799 (7th. Cir. July 7, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, applying Illinois law, had occasion to consider...more

Peeking Around Four Corners: Wisconsin Insurers Have Found a Way to Use Extrinsic Evidence to Excuse the Defense of Pending Claims

It is a truism that a liability insurer’s duty to defend is extremely broad—especially in states that apply the “four corners rule.” Under that rule, the insurer has a duty to defend whenever the underlying complaint alleges...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - August 2014

In This Issue: - Northern District of Texas Dismisses Bad Faith Claims in Well-Control Policy Dispute - District of South Dakota: Denying a Claim for Reasons Known to be False is Not a Reasonable Basis to Deny...more

Confirmation That the Limitation Period for 'Building Actions' is 10 Years, Not Six

The recent Victorian Court of Appeal decision of Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165 (Brirek Case) has settled the appropriate time period, at least in Victoria, in which a...more

Lawsuits Against Social Media Sites Rarely a Good Idea – This One Probably Isn’t Either

A Houston area woman has sued Facebook asking for $123 million because Facebook was slow to take down a fake a profile created by her ex-boyfriend with pornographic images. The plaintiff sued Facebook and the...more

Ninth Circuit Finds No Tag Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporation

When a corporation sends an officer to a conference in California, is the corporation present in California? A corporation can only act through its officers. Thus, it might be said that the corporation is present wherever...more

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion May Not Be That “Absolute”

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion (“APE”) contained in current general liability insurance policies excludes coverage for costs related to the cleanup of environmental pollution. Insurance companies have taken the position...more

Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute Does Not Modify Terms of Coverage

“Direct action” statutes permit an injured plaintiff to sue an insurer for coverage under someone else’s policy — the liability insurance policy of the tortfeasor who caused the injury. They have been enacted in only a...more

District of South Dakota: Denying a Claim for Reasons Known to be False is Not a Reasonable Basis to Deny a Claim

Lewison v. W. Nat’l Mut. Ins. Co., Civ. No. 13-4031-KES, 2014 WL 3573403 (D.S.D. July 21, 2014). The District of South Dakota grants in part and denies in part an insurer’s motion for summary judgment on two...more

Vermont: There is No Cause of Action for Negligence in Adjusting a Property Loss

Last week, the Vermont Supreme Court firmly rejected the notion that an insured can bring a cognizable claim for negligence against his or her carrier in connection with the inspection and handling of a first-party property...more

West Virginia High Court Examines Number Of Occurrences Under Liability Insurance Policy

This year, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued an important decision concerning whether a carbon monoxide leak is a single or multiple occurrence under a liability insurance policy. Kosnoski, et al. v....more

Connecticut Court Holds Negligence Misrepresentation Claim Does Not Trigger Defense

In its recent decision in Pa. Gen. Ins. Co. v. Thakur, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110251 (D. Conn. Aug. 11, 2014), the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut had occasion to consider whether a claim for...more

Insurers Be Warned, Your Communications Are Discoverable

Insurers and reinsurers regularly communicate regarding matters they view as confidential. These communications often relate to claims, both routine and litigated, by the underlying insureds. Insureds, in turn, seek discovery...more

Georgia Supreme Court: Business Judgment Rule Valid, But Bank Officers Can Still Be Liable

In the context of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) litigation against the former directors and officers of a failed bank, the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the business judgment rule in the...more

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law Alien Tort Case Developments: Fourth and Eleventh Circuits Apply Kiobel’s “Touch and...

In the last month, two federal appellate courts have issued decisions in cases filed against U.S.-based corporations pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). Both courts applied the “touch and concern” standard established...more

West Virginia Upholds Disclaimer Based on Liquor Liability Exclusion

In its recent decision in Essex Ins. Co. v. Napple’s Bullpen, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97186 (N.D. W.Va. July 17, 2014), the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia had occasion to consider...more

Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Course, Finds Insurance Coverage for Faulty Workmanship Claims

Companies such as homebuilders, construction companies and contractors face significant financial risk from bodily injury and property damage claims arising from allegedly faulty workmanship or construction defects. Although...more

Washington Insurance Law 2014 Mid-Year Update

During the first six months of 2014, Washington judges issued several notable insurance-related decisions. Some of those decisions were favorable to insurers and could benefit insurers in future insurance claims and lawsuits...more

Court Rejects Vicarious Liability Under Georgia Boating Law

The State Court of Dekalb County, Georgia recently held that companies operating in the boat rental business cannot be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their rental customers. Carol Morris v. Yaaqov...more

Milliken v. Jacono: Home Seller not Required to Disclose Murder/Suicide

In a unanimous decision handed down July 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that psychological stigma is not a material defect of real estate which sellers must disclose to buyers. The Court held that the...more

District Court Dismisses Skydiver’s Action Against Aircraft Liability Insurer Based on Jumper Exclusion

U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia - In McGirk v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds’s, -- F. Supp. 2d --, 2014 WL 690684 (W.D.Va. Feb. 21, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia...more

No Coverage Under Aviation Policies Where Product Was Not Used in Connection With Aircraft or Aviation Operations

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division - A New Jersey appellate court affirmed an order granting summary judgment, stating that the insurer owed no duty to defend or indemnify its insured in a personal injury...more

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