Recent Insurance Coverage Decisions Of Note In California

California Courts handed down some interesting decisions re insurance coverage during the fourth quarter of 2012:

St. Paul Mercury Insurance v. Mountain West Farm Bureau (10/25/12)

In an equitable contribution action, an insurer who had a duty to defend a general contractor named as an additional insured refused to do so after it paid into the settlement on behalf of the framing subcontractor that was its primary insured. The Court of Appeal held that the insurer had a separate and independent duty to defend the additional insured because (a) the settlement agreement did not release the insurance company from further liability, (b) the additional insured endorsement did not include language that demonstrated a limit on actual coverage, and (c) the property damage at issue occurred during the policy period.

Hartford Casualty v. Swift Distribution (10/29/12)

The issue in this case was “whether the ‘advertising injury’ provision of an insurance policy required the insurer to provide a defense for its insured against a claim that the insured company's advertisements disparaged another company's products.” The products resembled one another and had similar names but the advertisement at issue did not identify the other company’s product or disparage it, which was crucial to coverage under the language of the advertising injury coverage. Because this was lacking, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court and found no duty to defend.

Gemini Insurance Company v. Delos Insurance Company (12/5/12)

As previously reported, this case highlighted the need for a subrogation waiver between additional insureds. In the matter, a landlord was able to obtain subrogation from the insurance policy of a tenant who caused fire damage even though it was named an additional insured and there was an interinsured exclusion in the tenant’s policy.

For more information on the above-decisions, please contact us at (818) 473-5720 or email your questions to cabusinesslawreport@tharpe-howell.com. At Tharpe & Howell, we understand that in today’s environment of tight margins and skyrocketing costs, successful management of the legal issues faced by insurers demands focus on cost containment and quality results. And it requires delivering simultaneously on three fronts: razor sharp analysis of insurance coverage questions, strategic and cost-effective handling of insurance litigation, and aggressive defense of bad faith cases. Tharpe & Howell’s Insurance Coverage Practice area offers seasoned expertise and representation in all three areas – and all in the same practice group. Most law firms divide these tasks among several departments, often leading to overlapping service, the loss of strategic focus and critical information, and rising costs. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all three phases, so you get the same attorney to handle your coverage questions and litigation. And you get the ultimate continuity of service, cost-efficiency and the results you want. [This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act or rely upon any of the resources and information contained herein without seeking appropriate professional assistance.]

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Published In: Business Torts Updates, General Business Updates, Construction Updates, Government Contracting Updates, Insurance Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Peter S. Bauman - Senior Commercial Litigation Attorney Callahan & Blaine, (714) 241-4444 (office) / (949) 842-1720 (mobile) | Attorney Advertising

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