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Texas Supreme Court oral arguments (9/14)

No. 12-0803 -- Texas Dep't of Aging & Disability Servs. v. Cannon -- The plaintiff brought a wrongful-death case against the department and department employees. The department moved to dismiss the employees, arguing that...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

Court Denies Renewed Attempt To Dismiss Defenses In Reinsurance Dispute Associated With Asbestos-Related Liabilities

In this case, plaintiffs sought leave to renew their motion to dismiss certain retention-related and assignment affirmative defenses based on provisions of certain Loss Portfolio Transfer (LPT) agreements, and to re-argue the...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Absolute When There Has Been Pollution

Pollution exclusions first became routine in liability policies in the early 1970s. After a decade of often unsuccessful litigation trying to enforce those exclusions, insurers introduced a so called “absolute” pollution...more

Newly-Published Regional Steel Case Raises More Questions Than It Answers

In May, California’s Second Appellate District affirmed a summary ruling that a Commercial General Liability insurer did not have a duty to defend a subcontractor who supplied faulty “seismic tie hooks” that were encased in...more

Washington Court of Appeals Holds No Duty to Defend: An Invitation to Initiate Cleanup Is Not A Suit

On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held...more

Washington Court Rules Insurer’s Duty to Defend Environmental Liability is Triggered by Agency’s Explicit or Implicit Threat of...

A party faced with strict liability under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for the costs of cleaning up environmental contamination often has insurance that might apply, but a lingering question has been at what...more

April 2014: Insurance Litigation Update

New York Court of Appeals Answers Important Questions About Whether an Increased Risk of Harm Constitutes a Physical Injury. Over the past fifteen years, the question of whether tort claims for medical monitoring fall within...more

Storing Heating Oil In Residential Tank Is Not An Abnormally Dangerous Activity In New Jersey

The Appellate Division recent held that the storage of home heating oil in an underground storage tank is not an abnormally dangerous activity. In Ross v. Lowitz, the plaintiffs, John and Pamela Ross, owned property that was...more

How Many Occurrences? Determining the Number of Occurrences for Fracking-Related Claims in CGL Policies

The controversy surrounding the use of the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and gas is well-documented. While proponents argue that fracking presents the opportunity for an...more

Weekly Law Resume - January 2014: Insurance Coverage – Additional Insured Endorsements

Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (January 13, 2014)- Ambiguities in an insurance policy are normally resolved “in favor of the...more

Potential Recovery Opportunities Arising From Pollution Claims

Energy production in the United States is at an all-time high. In 2013, an average of 7.5 million barrels of oil were pumped every day, which bested the previous production record (2012) by one million barrels. Domestic oil...more

2013 Review Of 3rd-Party Pollution Exclusion Decisions

Decades after its inception, the liability insurance policy’s pollution exclusion remains a much-litigated area of insurance law. In the third-party liability context, the provision precludes coverage for injury or damage...more

Oklahoma Court Enforces Terms of Pollution Buy-Back

In its recent decision in Star Ins. Co. v. Bear Prods., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148559 (E.D. Okl. Oct. 16, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma had occasion to consider the...more

Malibu High School Teachers Letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Regarding their Concern that...

Malibu High School Teachers Letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Regarding their Concern that Contaminants at Malibu High School are Causing Cancer. A letter signed by 20 Malibu Middle and...more

Insureds Must Exhaust Coverage From Solvent Insurers

On September 24, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that policyholders must look to its solvent insurers before seeking benefits from the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (“Guaranty...more

The Lone Ranger Rides Again – The Fifth Circuit’s Withdrawal of its Ranger Opinion and Certification to the Texas Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has responded to the request for rehearing in Ranger Insurance, Ltd. v. BP P.L.C., 710 F.3d 388 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2013) by withdrawing its March 1, 2013 opinion (reversing the...more

Hold On To Your Insurance … Federal Court Certifies Deepwater Horizon Questions To Texas Supreme Court

BP’s woes from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf continue. The federal Fifth Circuit in In re: Deepwater Horizon, withdrew an opinion of a three-judge panel and certified questions for consideration by the Supreme...more

New Developments Involving the Deepwater Horizon Incident

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed course on August 29th and withdrew its earlier opinion in a dispute involving Transocean Deepwater Drilling, Inc., Ranger Insurance, Limited, and BP, P.L.C., among...more

Reinsurance Newsletter - September 2013: Delaware Court Approves Of Discovery Order Granting And Denying In Part Motion To Compel...

Mine Safety Appliances Co. v. AIU Ins. Co., C.A. No. 10C-07-241 MMJ, 2013 Del. Super. LEXIS 229 (Del. Super. Ct. Jun. 6, 2013). A Delaware state trial court approved a Special Discovery Master’s memorandum opinion and...more

In Alabama, Bad Faith Claim Defeated As A Matter Of Law Though Basis For Coverage Denial Was Debatable

A policyholder’s tort claim for the bad faith refusal to pay a claim was dismissed as a matter of law where a legitimate dispute existed as to coverage liability at the time of the coverage decision by the U.S. District Court...more

South Carolina Court Rejects Theory of Seamless Claims Made and Reported Coverage

In its recent decision in GS2 Engineering & Environmental Consultants, Inc. v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95137 (D.S.C. July 9, 2013), the United State District Court for South Carolina had occasion to...more

Late notice by petroleum transporter results in insurance coverage denial

In the matter of Starr Indem. & Liab. Co. v. SGS Petroleum Serv. Corp., Case No. 12-20545 (5th Cir. June 18, 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently upheld their prior decision in Matador Petroleum...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Insured’s Attempt to Use Lack of Prejudice When Notice Provision is Separately Negotiated

The 5th Circuit rebuffed an insured’s attempt to circumvent policy language requiring notice within 30 days of a pollution occurrence in a bumbershoot (umbrella) policy in Starr Indemnity & Liability Company v. SGS Petroleum...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusion Applies Indoors

In Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Wolters, et al., — N.W.2d –, 2013 WL 2363239 (Minn. May 31, 2013), the Minnesota Supreme Court joined the minority view in holding that the absolute pollution exclusion applies to...more

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