Commercial General Liability Policies

News & Analysis as of

The Alabama Supreme Court Changes Its Mind on Coverage Under CGL Policy

Last September the Alabama Supreme Court issued an opinion addressing the applicability of the “own work” exclusion to claims against a contractor for defective construction. However, on March 28, 2014, the Alabama Supreme...more

Insurance Recovery Law - July 2014

Second Circuit: Insurer Must Defend Where Factual Allegations Create a Possibility of Coverage - Why it matters: In a recent pro-policyholder decision, the Second Circuit, applying New York law, reminded...more

Policyholders Fight to Preserve Precedent But Court Limits Coverage For Implied Disparagement

On June 12, 2014, the California Supreme Court, in Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. v. Swift Distribution Inc. 59 Cal. 4th 277 (2014), issued its long awaited opinion affirming an appeal of a ruling that at first blush appeared to...more

California Supreme Court Refines the Tort of Commercial Disparagement

On June 12, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in the closely watched case of Hartford Casualty Insurance v. Swift Distribution, Inc., S207172. I reported on the Court of Appeals decision last year on...more

Insurance Coverage – Personal & Advertising Injury – Trade Disparagement

Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v Swift Distribution, Inc. - California Supreme Court (June 12, 2014) - Commercial liability policies provide coverage for “personal and advertising injury.” This term typically...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

When Is a Construction Defect a Mere Business Risk and Not Insurable?

In an unpublished appellate decision from the state of Washington, on May 5, 2014, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment in favor of a CGL insurer, Western National Assurance, relieving it of any...more

Policyholders Must Be Vigilant for Construction Defect Exclusions, Including For Impaired Property to Combat Insurance Companies’...

Continuing the most recent trend in coverage litigation, insurance companies are increasingly engaging “Big Law” firms to develop legal arguments for narrower interpretation of their policies when troublesome claims threaten...more

Data Breach Liability Exclusion – It’s Not Your Father’s CGL

No business is immune to data breach. Digital data in particular can be lost in innumerable ways, causing serious business interruptions and consumer injuries. After falling victim to a hack, virus, or cyber theft, companies...more

Summary of California Appellate Decisions - June 2014

Insurance Coverage; Professional Services Exclusion; Completed Operations; Duty To Defend: North Counties Engineering, Inc. v. State Farm General Insurance Company (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 902, 169 Cal.Rptr.3d 726...more

Policyholder Observer

Encryption Flaw "Heartbleed" Creates Data Risk: How Insurance Can Stanch the Bleeding - In early April, news broke of an encryption flaw named “Heartbleed” that exposed companies to data breaches for over two and one...more

Construction E-Note - June 27, 2014

In This Issue: - Mississippi Legislature Expands State’s Lien Law to Protect Subcontractors, Suppliers, and Materialmen - The Alabama Supreme Court Broadens the Definition of “Occurrence” in a General...more

More Legal Developments for the Construction Industry in the Southeast

Alabama - The Alabama Supreme Court reversed itself and concluded that faulty workmanship can constitute an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability insurance policy which triggers coverage for the insured. In a...more

The Alabama Supreme Court Broadens the Definition of “Occurrence” in a General Contractor’s Commercial General Liability Policy in...

On March 28, 2014, the Alabama Supreme Court withdrew its September 20, 2013 opinion and substituted a new decision in Owners Ins. Co. v. Jim Carr Homebuilder, LLC, 2014 WL 1270629 (Ala. Mar. 28, 2013). In its new decision,...more

Primer On Underwriting Insurance Risks In Argentina

Latin America presents excellent opportunities for the global (re)insurance industry. But, there are a number of important considerations for insurance and reinsurance companies underwriting risks in the region. This article...more

Disparate No Longer: California Supreme Court Resolves Split in Approach to Product Disparagement Coverage

Over the past 10 years, there has been an increase in lawsuits between business competitors, with claims that one business is unfairly gaining a competitive advantage over the other. These cases, involving allegations of...more

Williams Mullen Construction Industry Newsletter - Spring/Summer 2014

In This Issue: - CGL Insurance & Defects - No Sure Thing - Contract Quicksand - The Nuclear Option - Federal Contractors - Excerpt from CGL Insurance & Defects: Does Your Insurance Cover...more

In an Opinion with Far-Reaching Implications, the Second Circuit Finds Insurance Coverage for an ERISA Claim

When a general liability policy expressly provides coverage for employee benefits liability and the plaintiff in the underlying suit alleges a violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), does...more

California Supreme Court Addresses Coverage for Product Disparagement

In its recent decision in Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. Swift Distribution, Inc., 2014 Cal. LEXIS 3765 (Cal. June 12, 2014), the California Supreme Court had occasion to consider the type of statements that qualify...more

Rising up from the Trenches: Ninth Circuit Broadly Interprets Breach of Contract Exclusion in Trademark Infringement Case

On May 23, 2014, the Ninth Circuit upheld a California district court decision that broadly interpreted the breach of contract exclusion in a commercial general liability policy to preclude coverage for all personal and...more

New York’s Highest Court Rejects Timing Requirement for Disclaimers of Coverage

In its recent decision in KeySpan Gas East Corp. v Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 1319 (N.Y. June 10, 2014), the New York Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court – had occasion to consider the length of...more

New York and New Jersey Hold Fast to No “Occurrence” for Faulty Workmanship Claims

During the past year, five state supreme courts (Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, North Dakota and West Virginia) have found that faulty workmanship by a construction contractor or subcontractor can be a covered “occurrence.”...more

New York Court Rejects Insurer’s Motion to Dismiss Its Own Lawsuit

In its recent decision in Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Roy’s Plumbing, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73464 (W.D.N.Y. May 29, 2014), the United States District Court for the Western District of New York considered the implications of...more

Insurance Recovery Law - June 2014

Lab’s “Body Bag” Presentations Triggered Coverage For Defamation Claims: Why it matters - We’ve all sat through some pretty boring PowerPoint presentations. But the lesson from a recent decision: it might be a...more

Use chemicals in your business? Read your insurance policy: You might not be covered.

A recent federal appeals court ruling underscores the need for businesses using potentially irritating chemicals to check their insurance policies for “absolute pollution exception” clauses. These increasingly common clauses...more

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