Ambiguous

News & Analysis as of

Lack of Comma Means That Breaking Up Overtime Pay is Hard to Do: Litigation Trends

Breaking up is hard to do - Not since Neil Sadaka’s classic song has a “comma” meant so much. A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers has come down to punctuation and the lack of an Oxford comma has...more

District of Connecticut Reaffirms That Definition Of “Collapse” Is Unambiguous

The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut recently reaffirmed its ruling that the term “collapse,” as defined by a homeowners insurance policy, is unambiguous and that the policy in question did not...more

Want to Arbitrate? Not So Fast. California Court of Appeals Decision Illustrates Limits to Contractual Obligation to Arbitrate

On December 27, 2016, the California Court of Appeals published a decision on the enforceability of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement (the "Agreement") in the context of an employee-employer relationship.? The issue...more

Chris Lazarini Comments on Ambiguity in Insurance Policy - Thought Leadership - Bass Berry

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini commented a case in which a broker-dealer claimed the term "final judgment" in its insurance policy was ambiguous and should be construed against its insurance carrier, as is typical...more

Court Smacks Down Plaintiff’s “[But Mom…] Everyone Else Is Doing It” Public Policy Argument To Void Illegal Exclusions Provisions

Seyfarth Synopsis: A Court ruled that under the Affordable Care Act, an ERISA governed plan exclusion cannot unequivocally bar emergency medical care related to injuries sustained in a fireworks explosion. Recently, a...more

Option Contract Ruling Reversed by Texas Supreme Court.

North Shore Energy v. Harkins interpreted an Option Agreement between landowners and a producer over a 400 acre tract. In football they would say the Texas Supreme Court pancaked the plaintiff. In the law, some would call it...more

Three Point Shot - November 2016

Who's First in Ownership of the "Sweet Spot" Remains Unclear - Baseball is often called a "game of inches," whether one is describing the strike zone, a close play at the plate, or a liner past third base that just kicks...more

When Silence is Unambiguous...Has the Seventh Circuit Created Ambiguity Over Review of Arbitrators’ Decisions?

United States Soccer Fed’n, Inc. v. United States Nat’l Soccer Team Players Ass’n, No. 15-3402, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17339 (7th Cir. Sept. 22, 2016). The Seventh Circuit decided last month that an arbitrator exceeded his...more

Recent Significant Case Law Developments Regarding What Constitutes a Reckless Interpretation of a Law and When Retention of an...

Key Points: - Learn the latest case law developments regarding what evidence the government or the relator must establish to prove that the defendant “recklessly” interpreted a statute or regulation in violation of the...more

Hold on to Your (Top) Hat: ERISA Section 502(a)(3) May Be Used to Enforce the Terms of a “Top-Hat” Benefits Plan

Thanksgiving is typically a time for gratitude, gathering with family, and acts of kindness among fellow men and women. But in one recent case, a bank used Thanksgiving to force-feed a separation agreement to its outgoing...more

News from Abroad: Canada's Federal Court Questions No File Wrapper Estoppel on Claim Construction

The Supreme Court of Canada in Free World Trust v Électro Santé Inc, 2000 SCC 66 rejected the use of extrinsic documents such as file wrappers (patent prosecution histories) for claim construction, on the basis that allowing...more

Words, words, words: When is a salesman not a salesman?

In the classic Broadway musical My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle laments, “Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words.” You may have felt the same frustration working with lawyers who quibble about the contractual meaning of...more

Patent Infringement Claim Exempts Related Counterclaims from Mandatory Arbitration

In reviewing the scope of an arbitration agreement that was part of a supply agreement, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, determining that the defendant’s breach of...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19378 - State v. Francis - SC19411 - State v. Wright - Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC35949 - State v. Porter - AC36656 - State v. Gonzalez - AC36971...more

Broad “Assumption of Liability” Clause in Subcontract Likely Trumps “Waiver of Subrogation” Clause in Prime Contract

In a recent case handled by Bradley, a federal court in Maryland issued a decision attempting to reconcile inconsistent contract provisions. The general contractor said that its fire sprinkler subcontractor was...more

Despite Pollution Exclusion, Insurer On Hook for Contamination in Indiana

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Northern District of Indiana rejected the insurer’s assertion that its pollution exclusion clauses unambiguously included all contaminants. Indiana, unlike other jurisdictions, is pro-insured when...more

2016 Summer Review: M&A legal developments

We set out below a number of interesting English court decisions which have taken place and their impact on M&A transactions. This review looks at these developments and gives practical guidance on their implications....more

Indiana Court Concludes Broad Pollution Exclusion Is Ambiguous

In its recent decision in Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96361 (N.D. Ind. July 25, 2016), the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana had...more

Contra Proferentem Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Against the Insurer’

Despite best efforts, ambiguities are inevitable in contracts. The doctrine of contra proferentem shifts the risk of ambiguity to the party that drafted the contract. The doctrine is frequently applied against insurers where...more

Is Anyone Home? Washington Supreme Court Interprets Two-Step Vacancy Endorsement

Disputes involving “vacancy” exclusions typically involve the appropriate definition of that word. The recently-decided case of Lui v. Essex Ins. Co., 2016 Wash. LEXIS 692 (Wash. June 9, 2016) presents a somewhat different...more

Colorado Supreme Court Limits Use of Extrinsic Evidence and Reasonable Expectations Doctrine

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision in American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hansen, No. 14SC99 (Colo. June 20, 2016), holding that extrinsic evidence can only be used to interpret ambiguous policy language,...more

Contractual interpretation disputes from the Trustee's perspective: The saga continues

In the first four months of 2016 three more judgments relating to issues of contractual interpretation of provisions contained in documents of securitisation transactions (all three of them for legacy CMBS deals) and...more

What You Say in Your SPD About Claims Processing Makes a Difference

Employers who self fund their medical plans often have contracts with their third party administrators about claims processing. Some of those contracts provide that the claims processor has discretion to decide claims; others...more

A Troubling Decision for Employment Arbitration Agreements with Potentially Ambiguous Language and What it Means for Employers...

On April 5, 2016, in a rare rebuke of an employment arbitration agreement by a federal court, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Hon. Madeline Cox Arleo, U.S.D.J.) held that it would not compel...more

Highest EU court strikes down vague and ambiguous information requests

Statement of reasons was excessively vague in light of the extent of information requested and the advanced investigation stage. Introduction - On 10 March 2016, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark...more

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Cybersecurity

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