Duty to Defend

News & Analysis as of

Important Insurance Coverage Cases On the Horizon

This year, 2014, is lining up with interesting insurance coverage cases pending across the country which may lead to far reaching decisions. In California the Hartford Insurance Company has been dominating the...more

Forum-Shopping Insurance Companies' Latest Tricks

Decades ago, insurance companies tried to persuade trial courts in California to apply the law of some other state to multi-party environmental and asbestos insurance coverage disputes because the insurance companies believed...more

D&O Coverage: The Devil Is In the Details

A five-paragraph opinion by the New York Appellate Division suggests the potentially devastating consequences of ignoring the fine print of Directors & Officers Liability insurance policies. In Associated Community Bancorp.,...more

Insurance Coverage – Duty to Defend – Construction Defects

Regional Steel Corporation v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (June 13, 2014) - There has been a split of decisions in California as to whether incorporation of...more

Disclaimer Requirement of N.Y. Insurance Law § 3420(d)(2) Held Not to Apply to Property Damage Claims

The New York Court of Appeals recently confirmed that the heightened timeliness of disclaimer requirement in New York Insurance Law § 3420(d)(2) does not apply to claims arising from property damage, in KeySpan Gas East Corp....more

Eleventh Circuit Maps a Route Around Four Corners

Florida adheres to the "four corners rule," under which a liability insurer’s duty to defend an insured is determined solely from the allegations of the underlying complaint. In Composite Structures, Inc. v. The Continental...more

"Non-Trivial Probability" of Excess Judgment Obligates Insurer to Pay for Independent Defense Counsel

The court in Perma-Pipe, Inc. v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, Case No. 13 C 2989, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54867 (N.D. Ill. April 21, 2014), held that a CGL insurer breached its duty to defend by refusing to pay for...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

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In an unpublished appellate decision from the state of Washington, on May 5, 2014, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment in favor of a CGL insurer, Western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

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

Illinois Court Holds Duty to Defend Telemarketing Sales Rule Lawsuit

In its recent decision in North River Ins. Co. v. Guar. Trust Life Ins. Co., 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 736 (Apr. 14, 2014), the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, had occasion to consider whether an exclusion for...more

State Farm’s Relentless Pursuit to Deny Coverage for TCPA Cases

As policyholder lawyers, one can usually count on a few basic mistakes that insurers will make. First, they wrongfully deny coverage and fail to defend. They abandon their insured who is then left to its own devices to...more

California Court of Appeals: Insurer Liable for Settlement Negotiated by Insured

California Court of Appeals affirms a jury verdict finding an insurer liable for settlement costs of its insured when the insurer refused to defend its insured in bad faith. San Diego Apartment Brokers (“Brokers”)...more

Washington Court of Appeals Holds No Duty to Defend: An Invitation to Initiate Cleanup Is Not A Suit

On June 2, 2014, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a published opinion regarding what constitutes a “suit” in the context of environmental liability claims under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). The court held...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

Washington Court Rules Insurer’s Duty to Defend Environmental Liability is Triggered by Agency’s Explicit or Implicit Threat of...

A party faced with strict liability under the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) for the costs of cleaning up environmental contamination often has insurance that might apply, but a lingering question has been at what...more

The Duty to Defend: Understanding the Obligation and Identifying Some Tools Under Mississippi Law

Liability insurance coverage should always be an initial consideration when any business faces a claim or lawsuit. Do we have coverage for that? Ideally, the answer is an unqualified “yes.” In reality, the answer from an...more

New York Supreme Court Finds that GL Insurers Have No Duty to Defend Sony for Class Actions Arising out of PlayStation Data Breach

In February of this year, in the matter of Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Sony Corp. of America, et al., case number 651982/2011, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of Zurich American Insurance Co. and Mitsui Sumitomo...more

Bad Caregivers Benefit From A Careless Defense

Where an insured defendant is sued under multiple theories and coverage is available for only some of them, an Ohio appellate court has ruled that the insurer’s duty to defend includes an obligation to recommend that the...more

The New York Court of Appeals Considers the Consequences of a Liability Insurer’s Breach of the Duty to Defend

What are the consequences of a liability insurer’s breach of the duty to defend its insured against a potentially covered claim? Recent decisions from the New York Court of Appeals highlight differing views nationwide on...more

California Court Holds Offensive Odors Are Not Property Damage

In its recent decision in Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Mixt Greens, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39548 (N.D. Cal. March 25, 2014), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California...more

Policy Observer - March 2014

D&O Coverage for Subpoena Response Costs: An Emerging Consensus? Responding to a subpoena can be an expensive proposition. Fortunately, in many instances, a company can call upon its D&O insurer to help defray the...more

Insurance Recovery Law

Insurer Should Have Considered Extrinsic Facts When Determining Whether A Potential for Coverage Existed, Ninth Circuit Concludes - Why it matters: In a fascinating – albeit unpublished – decision from the Ninth...more

Debate Over the ALI’s “Principles of the Law of Liability Insurance” Continues – Advisers Slated to Discuss Contentious Portions

At its 2013 annual meeting, the American Law Institute (ALI) voted to adopt sections 1 through 15 of its “Principles of the Law of Liability Insurance.” However, extensive criticism during the floor debate prevented the ALI...more

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