Contract Interpretation

News & Analysis as of

Insurance is Big in Texas: In Deepwater Horizon Case, Texas Stretches a Policy’s Four Corners to Include Other Contracts

Last month, in In re Deepwater Horizon, Relator, the Supreme Court of Texas applied a fundamental principle of insurance law to a case with enormous financial implications. The owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig had...more

Texas Supreme Court Incorporates Limitations From An “Insured Contract” Into GL Policy

In In re Deepwater Horizon, Cause No. 13-0670, Slip Op., Feb. 13, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that an allocation of liability found in an “insured contract” would determine the coverage provided to an additional...more

U.S. Supreme Court Describes “Ordinary Principles of Contract Law”

In a contract governed by federal law, does “The End” really mean “The End”? Some federal courts have said “no,” but the U.S. Supreme Court has just said “yes.” ...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules Additional-Insured Coverage is Limited by Underlying Indemnification Agreement in In re Deepwater...

In a much anticipated 8-1 decision, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that BP is not entitled to additional-insured coverage in In re Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-0670 (Feb. 13, 2015)....more

The $750 Million Comma? BP Is Not Entitled To Coverage For The Gulf Oil Spill As An Additional Insured Under Policies Issued To...

The Supreme Court of Texas ruled on February 13, 2015, that BP is not entitled to coverage as an additional insured under insurance policies Transocean procured for the Deepwater Horizon. ...more

$750,000,000 Missing Comma Comes Unhinged in BP’s Additional Insured Claim

Action Item: Courts must consider whether an insurance policy incorporates other documents and the extent thereof in evaluating the existence of additional insured coverage. Parties should evaluate the policy and underlying...more

Considerations with Regard to “Material Adverse Effect” Clauses

In the mergers and acquisitions context, there is a risk that the occurrence of some event between signing and close may cause the value of the target to diminish significantly, making the deal no longer attractive to the...more

Fifth Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Offering Guidance to District Courts

“When an arbitration goes an opponent’s way on the basis of questionable contract interpretation, parties often seek refuge in [Section] 10(a)(4).  But the Supreme Court has made clear that district courts’ review of...more

Contract-Drafting Bulletin - February 2015, Vol.1 Issue 1

In this issue: - Does Quality Contract Drafting Matter? - Shall I Dispense with ‘Shall’? Not Entirely - Interview with a Commercial Litigator - World of Boxing LLC v. King - Comments to a...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rebukes Reliance on Yard-Man In Retiree Health Benefit Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Sixth Circuit’s reliance on retiree-friendly inferences set forth in UAW v. Yard-Man are incompatible with ordinary principles of contract interpretation and should not be used when...more

Supreme Court Decides M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett

On January 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, No. 13-1010, holding that ordinary principles of contract law govern the interpretation of pension and insurance provisions of...more

Traditional Contract Rules Determine Whether Retirees Are Entitled to Lifetime Healthcare Benefits

Yesterday, in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that courts must apply ordinary rules of contract interpretation when determining whether retiree healthcare benefits vest for life pursuant to the terms of a...more

Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Sys., Inc. Guidance on Determining Damages for Standard Essential Patents

Patents claiming inventions which must be used to comply with certain technical standards (for example, the Wi-Fi standard or standards for 3G) are referred to as standards-essential patents or “SEPs”. There has,...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Weeks Ending November 28 & December 5, 2014

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - Contract Interpretation: trial court erred by interpreting declaration in way that rendered provisions meaningless – Bethany Trace Owners’ Association, Inc. v Whispering Lakes I, LLC, et al., No....more

Actual Negotiations Trump 40-Year Georgia-Pacific Test to Determine Type of Patent Licensing Royalties

The Grigoleit Co. v. Whirlpool Corp. - Addressing a lower court’s reasonable royalty determination that chose not to rely on the Georgia Pacific factors, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently...more

2014 Autumn Review – M&A Legal Developments

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

Second Circuit Considers "No Oral Modification" Clause in Helicopter Contract - The Court Examined Exceptions to "No Oral...

The Second Circuit recently issued a summary decision concerning the scope of a "no oral modification" clause in contracts governing the sale of helicopters. The underlying dispute involved three separate helicopter purchase...more

Bankruptcy Courts Fail to Enlighten on Electricity as Goods or Services

Is electricity goods or services? That seemingly simple yet confounding question is illustrated by three recent bankruptcy cases (all of which consider whether an electricity provider is entitled to an administrative expense...more

“Harmonizing” Contract Language Leads Two Circuit Courts To Deny Arbitration

Two parties recently convinced federal circuit courts that the language of their arbitration agreements was not sufficient to compel arbitration of their disputes. Both cases turned on how courts “harmonize” language from...more

ev3, Inc. v. Lesh, C.A. No. 515, 2013 (Del. Sept. 30, 2014)

In this en banc Memorandum Opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court’s denial of the defendant-below’s motion for a new trial following a jury verdict and remanded the case for a new trial. The Supreme Court...more

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Demands More from Website Operators Before Terms of Use Will Bind Users

The Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble Inc., No. 12–56628, August 18, 2014, US 9th Circuit, provides insight regarding courts’ treatment of Internet-based contracts of interest to those operating in...more

Fifth Circuit Requests Input from the Supreme Court of Texas Regarding Interpretation of Commercial General Liability (“CGL”)...

The rule courts generally employ to interpret undefined words in insurance policies — essentially, to look to the words’ plain or ordinary meaning — sounds simple. However, many times, there is more than one meaning of such...more

New York State Court Rules That Darwin Has Duty to Defend but AIG Does Not, for Same Risk, Based on Differing Policy Language

New York state court Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich recently ruled that American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”) didn’t have to pay certain defense costs for various suits brought against QBE Holdings, Inc. and its...more

Health Plans Petition the Supreme Court to Determine Whether FEHBA Preempts State Anti-Subrogation Statutes

The Federal Employees Health Benefit Act (FEHBA) governs federal employee health plans and contains a broad preemption clause comparable to the one found in ERISA.1 Despite the similarity, state and federal courts are split...more

Is Your Arbitration Agreement Still Enforceable in Missouri After Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc.?

This summer, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a decision that will affect arbitration agreements relied on by employers across the state. The decision—one of many in a recent trend of Missouri cases restricting the...more

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