Ninth Circuit Rules That D&O Policies' "Insured Versus Insured" Exclusion Applies To Debtors-In-Possession and Assignee Creditors During Bankruptcy Proceedings

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In Biltmore Assocs., LLC v. Twin City Fire Insurance Co., 2009 WL 1976071 (9th Cir. July 10, 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit applied the “insured versus insured” exclusion, common in directors’ and officers’ insurance policies (“D&O insurance”), to prevent a creditors’ trust from collecting on a D&O insurance policy under a claim assigned to it from a debtor-in-possession. The Ninth Circuit held that a post-bankruptcy debtor-in-possession should be treated as the same entity as a pre-bankruptcy corporation for purposes of the D&O insurance policy. Because the underlying claim was brought by the debtor-in-possession against directors and officers of the company, the “insured versus insured” exclusion prevented any assignee of the debtors’ claim against the insurance company from collecting. The court held that the trustee of the creditors’ trust stood in the debtor’s shoes for the purposes of the action and, because the debtor-in-possession was still an insured under the D&O policy, the trustee could not collect on the claim.

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