Ambiguous

News & Analysis as of

California Court of Appeal Finds Life Insurance Policy Ambiguous and Rules in Favor of the Insured

Sequeira v. Lincoln Nat’l Life Ins. Co., No. A139639 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 31, 2015) - The California Court of Appeal recently reiterated the importance of careful drafting to insurers when it reversed a trial court’s...more

Court Finds Dow Claims Clearly Indefinite

In Dow Chemical Co. v. Nova Chemicals Corp., the Federal Circuit held claims reciting a limitation that could be calculated in several ways indefinite where the patent claims, specification, and prosecution history failed to...more

Are FCA Retaliation Claims Against Supervisors, Executives Viable?

When the False Claims Act (FCA) retaliation provision was amended in 2009, the amendment was not explicit as to whether plaintiffs could only recover for retaliation claims against companies, or whether plaintiffs also could...more

Death v. Suicide in Event Cancellation Policies

While many Event Cancellation/Non-appearance policies offer effective coverage for financial losses and additional costs when the insured performer dies from natural causes or an accident, they reach their limits if the...more

4 Ways to Avoid Ambiguity in Your Writing

Ambiguity in any writing is annoying, but in a contract it can be devastating if you wrote it, because any ambiguity in a contract is likely to be construed against you. Here are some ways to avoid ambiguity in your next...more

Appellate Court Notes

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions - AC36506 - Sidorova v. East Lyme Board of Education - Due to budget cuts, the Board of Education laid off the plaintiff who was a tenured French teacher. She sued for...more

Rules Against Title Insurer on Date of Loss Issue

In the recent decision in First American Title Insurance Co. v. Johnson Bank, 1 CA-CV 14-0190, 2015 WL 3965740 filed June 30, 2015, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the date for calculating a loss under a lender’s title...more

New York Court Denies Insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Based upon Undefined Term “Occurrence” in Policy

In Rafer Rokeach v. Hanover Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65801, *1-16 (S.D.N.Y. May 19, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York examined the undefined term “occurrence” in the deductibles...more

Contra Proferentem in New York: A Last Resort for Resolving Ambiguity in Coverage Disputes

In insurance litigation, insureds often argue that, if a provision in an insurance policy is found to be ambiguous, that ambiguity should be resolved in favor of the insured, and against the insurer that drafted the contract,...more

A Guide to Contract Interpretation - July 2014

In this issue: - Introduction - Contract-Interpretation Flow Chart - Contract-Interpretation Principles And Case-Law Supplement - Determine the intent of the parties with respect to the provision...more

In re Packard (Fed. Cir. 2014)

Often times it appears that, serendipitously or by design, the Federal Circuit issues an opinion on an aspect of patent law that the Supreme Court is also considering. And sometimes the shadow of the Court's impending...more

Inventors Take Note: Supreme Court to Decide How Ambiguous is Too Ambiguous for Patents

In a case argued in April, Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments, the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide the question “how ambiguous can a patent claim be before it is invalid?” Regardless of the Court’s decision, the case...more

Bet on David, Not Goliath - or Why Ambiguities in an Insurance Policy Favor the Insured

When does the little guy ever win a contract battle? When the contract is an insurance policy, of course! It's an age-old story played out in case after case: Ambiguous terms in an insurance policy will be strictly construed...more

Ambiguities In Reinsurance Broker Agreement Preclude Summary Judgment

A federal district court in Arkansas recently examined provisions of a Broker Authorization Agreement between a reinsurance broker (Global Risk) and a ceding insurer (Aetna). In denying cross-motions for summary judgment on...more

Is “Insolubly Ambiguous” the Correct Standard to Determine Compliance with Sec 112?

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on a petition challenging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s standard for determining when a patent claim is indefinite under 35 U.S.C. §112, ¶ 2. See IP Update,...more

US Court of Appeals Revises Opinion: Section 1782’s Use in Arbitration Ambiguous

With the Eleventh Circuit’s revision, using Section 1782 to request the production of evidence in private international commercial arbitrations remains uncertain. On January 10, the US Court of Appeals for the...more

One Policy Term, May Have Two Meanings

A California Court of Appeal held in Transport Ins. Co. v. Superior Ct. (R.R. Street & Co.) that a named insured’s reasonable expectations of coverage can be different from those of an additional insured’s. This ruling leaves...more

A Pinch of SALT: 20 Years of Ambiguity in Addback Statutes

It has been more than 20 years since Ohio enacted legislation requiring taxpayers to add back some expenses paid to related parties for state income tax purposes. Since then, more than 20 states have enacted similar...more

The Problem of Patent Glossaries Part I: Ambiguity in Patent Claims and the Nature of Meaning

What motivates the USPTO to consider the use of glossaries in patent applications is surely the hue and cry that software patents are frequently, if not inherently, vague and ambiguous, and that something must be done to help...more

Court favors plain and ordinary meaning of policy terms when insured claims policy language is ambiguous

In Glassman, the plaintiff insured sued his disability insurer, Crown Life, claiming that while Crown Life had been paying his disability claim for well over two decades, it had failed to increase his benefits each year due...more

Insurance Recovery Law -- Oct 18, 2013

New York Court Rules That Conflict Between Exclusion and Grant of Coverage Created Ambiguity in Exclusion Requiring Trial - Why it matters: In a coverage dispute arising out of the Madoff debacle, a financial bond...more

A Guide to Contract Interpretation - October 2013

In This Guide: - Introduction - Contract-Interpretation Flow Chart - Contract-Interpretation Principles And Case-Law Supplement - Excerpt From: Introduction: Transactional attorneys and...more

How will a court construe ambiguities in ERISA plan terms?

If the plan confers discretion to the administrator “to interpret plan terms”, ambiguities may NOT be construed against the plan administrator. Here’s the case of Porter v. Lowe’s Companies, __ F.3d__ (5th Cir....more

Ambiguity Remains Regarding Threshold for Leave under Part XXIII.1

Ontario’s statutory regime for secondary market liability came into effect in 2006 as a result of amendments to the Securities Act (Ontario) (OSA), which created a statutory cause of action for deficient market disclosure...more

Lessons Learned from Litigators: How to Avoid Litigation When Doing a Deal

In this Publication: - 2.1 Introduction 2–1 - 2.2 General Considerations About Contract Drafting 2–2 - § 2.2.1 Does the Contract Reflect a “Meeting of the Minds”? 2–2 - § 2.2.2 The Words of the...more

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