Contract Interpretation

News & Analysis as of

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

Is a lump sum contract a feature of a "design and build" contract? - A case study of Goh Eng Lee Andy v Yeo Jin Kow [2016] SGHC...

Is a lump sum contract a feature of a "design and build" contract? This was the central issue that the High Court had to decide in the recent case of Goh Eng Lee Andy v Yeo Jin Kow [2016] SGHC 110. After examining the...more

LOL! OMG. HUH? Court Finds That Text Message Can Form Binding Contract

In the world of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it is no secret that individuals are communicating regularly on their smartphones about their business affairs. Recently, a court addressed the question about whether a text...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

Arizona court applies traditional exclusion in modern “cyber” coverage form

In one of the first published rulings on coverage under a stand-alone “cyber” insurance policy, a federal court in Arizona recently applied old-school coverage analysis to a new-school cybersecurity policy in P.F. Chang’s...more

It Depends on the Meaning of the Word “Or” – Interpreting Brand Name or Equal Clauses

The CBCA recently published an opinion addressing the interpretation of “Brand Name or Equal” clauses in Glancy & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Veterans Affairs. In Glancy, the contract specifications identified a patient...more

"No Variation" Clauses Weakened By Court Of Appeal

When is a change not a change? One answer to that paradox is: when it is an attempted contractual variation. Such variations can fail for a number of reasons: lack of consideration, lack of clarity in what is agreed and an...more

Brexit - Flexit Clauses

There has been plenty of commentary about how the Brexit debate is impacting corporate, commercial, finance and real estate transactions. In the media there have been reports of “market jitters” surrounding the possibility of...more

New York High Court Applies All Sums Allocation To Long-Tail Claims Under Certain Insurance Policies

The New York Court of Appeals recently answered two certified questions from the Delaware Supreme Court concerning insurance allocation, and the Court’s answers may impact significantly policyholders litigating “long-tail”...more

Insurance Recovery Group News: New York Holds Excess Insurers Liable For “All Sums” Related To Long Tail Claims

For more than two decades, the problem of allocating the costs of long tail claims – such as environmental and asbestos claims – among multiple insurance carriers has generally been resolved in one of two ways. Courts in...more

New York’s Highest Court Creates Exception to Pro Rata Allocation

On May 3, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals answered two certified questions posed by the Delaware Supreme Court regarding the appropriate allocation method for long-tail claims among successive excess carriers. The first...more

Trial Court’s Interpretation of a Contract Much Harder to Overturn, the Supreme Court of Canada Confirms

To overturn a trial court’s interpretation of a contract on appeal, it is not enough that the trial court was wrong, it must be really wrong, the Supreme Court of Canada recently affirmed in Heritage Capital Corp v Equitable...more

PF Newsletter: LMA Updates - Quarter One 2016

Legal & Regulatory - BRRD: FCA publishes modification by consent for Article 55 rules - Article 55 of the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive 2014/59 (BRRD) requires European Economic Area (EEA) firms and...more

NY High Court’s ‘All Sums’ Allocation Ruling in Viking Pump is a Game Changer

On May 3, 2016, New York’s high court took a giant step forward in protecting policyholders facing latent injury claims, allowing them to avoid multiple deductibles, retentions and insolvent coverage. In the Matter of Viking...more

New York’s Highest Court Rules in Favor of “All Sums” and Vertical Attachment in Certified Question from Delaware Supreme Court

In the recent decision of Viking Pump, Inc., et al. v. TIG Insurance Co., et al., 2016 N.Y. LEXIS 1018 (N.Y. May 3, 2016), the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court), on questions certified by the Delaware...more

Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals Decides Issue Of Class Arbitrability Is A Question For The Court, Not Arbitrator

A South Carolina federal court dismissed a petition to compel class arbitration, reasoning “that whether the arbitration clause permits class arbitration is a simple contractual interpretation issue, and because the question...more

District Court Rules Johnson Controls Retirees Not Entitled to Lifetime Health Benefits

A district court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision in M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 135 S. Ct. 926 (2015), the Third Circuit’s rule that clear and express...more

Give your dough to the baker even if he will eat half of your bread!

As dispute lawyers we often deal with contracts that result in unintended consequences because they have not been drafted by lawyers expert in the chosen governing law of the contract. While many legal systems share...more

Don’t trip up – a warning for owners

The recently decided case of SBT STAR BULK & TANKERS (GERMANY) GMBH & CO KG V COSMOTRADE SA (THE “WEHR TRAVE”) [2016] EWHC 583 (Comm) in the Queen’s Bench Division of the Commercial Court and before The Hon Sir Bernard Eder...more

Three Point Shot - March 2016

California Court to PGA Tour Caddies: You'll Get Nothing and Like It! As the full swing of the PGA season rounds the corner, and with the azaleas blooming at Augusta, the trusted confidants of golf's premier players...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

Corporate Trustees: how gross must negligence be?

Surprisingly, the distinction between negligence and gross negligence in English contract and trust law is unclear. On one view, reflected in the older cases, there is little or no difference at all....more

Considerations For Manufacturers/Distributors Who Are Negotiating Contracts Without Any Leverage

Negotiating contracts in the supply chain are certainly challenging. As a lawyer, there is a temptation to want to change every term that is not to your liking. And, for that reason, a lot of lawyers will receive a contract...more

Draft Agreements with Contract Construction Principles in Mind

Generally it’s the parties’ mutual intent that controls a contract’s interpretation. But that intent isn’t always easy to figure out. When the parties dispute a contract’s interpretation and it goes to court, the court...more

Canary Wharf v Deutsche Trustee Company Limited: Contractual interpretation now settled and straightforward, correct?

The English High Court has once again had to visit the principles for interpretation of contracts under English law, in Canary Wharf v Deutsche Trustee Company Limited and others. The particular issue in dispute concerned...more

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