Duty to Defend Commercial General Liability Policies

News & Analysis as of

Construction Case Law Update - July 2015 #2

CGL Policies; Declaratory Judgments; Appeal of a Partial Final Judgment – A commercial general liability insurer and its insured sought declaratory relief over the question of insurance coverage and the duty to defend...more

Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds Primary Insurer’s Excess “Other Insurance” Clause Does Not Avoid Duty To Defend

In Preferred Mutual Insurance Company v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company, 87 Mass App Ct. 510 (June 17, 2015), the Massachusetts Appeals Court discussed several interesting insurance coverage issues when it addressed a...more

Orrick's Policyholder Insider Quarterly

Five Lessons Health Care Companies Should Learn From Cyberattacks - The American health care industry is under attack by sophisticated hackers seeking access to electronic medical records. Since January, three health...more

Montana Joins Majority of Courts Holding That Insurers Must Establish Prejudice to Disclaim Coverage Based on an Insured’s Late...

Joining a majority of states that have addressed the issue, the Montana Supreme Court recently held that “an insurer who does not receive timely notice required by the terms of an insurance policy must demonstrate prejudice...more

Insurance Recovery Law - July 2015 #2

California Court: Rejected Demand Within Policy Limits Not Necessary for Bad Faith Claim - Why it matters: Insurers must proceed with caution when they become aware that a settlement within policy limits is possible,...more

Construction Case Law Update - July 2015

Involuntary Dismissal of Counterclaims – In a suit between a developer and general contractor, the trial court erred in dismissing the general contractor’s counterclaims, without a motion by the developer, before the...more

Texas Supreme Court Decides that PRP Letters Issued by the EPA Under CERCLA Constitute a “Suit”

In McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation v. The Phoenix Insurance Company, No. 14-0465, —S.W.3d— (Tex. June 26, 2015), a 5-4 majority of the Texas Supreme Court held that the undefined term “suit” in the standard-form...more

Massachusetts Appeals Court Adopts Two-Prong Continuity and Profit Motive Test to Determine Whether Business Pursuits Exclusion...

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has provided some much needed guidance on the “business pursuits exclusion” in a recent coverage dispute between a homeowners’ insurer and a commercial liability insurer. In Preferred Mutual...more

Texas Joins Majority of States Holding that EPA’s CERCLA Proceedings Constitute a 'Suit' under Standard-Form CGL Policies

In response to a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that proceedings conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Comprehensive...more

Can an Insurer Intervene in a Class Action to Protect Against a Collusive Settlement?

Liability insurers are sometimes faced with a difficult scenario: Their insured has been sued in a class action with potentially large stakes. The insurer believes they have no duty to defend and a denial of coverage is...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules that CERCLA PRP Letters and Enforcement Proceedings Are “Suits” Subject to the Duty to Defend Under...

On June 26, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court held that enforcement proceedings under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”)—including the issuance of a “PRP letter” notifying...more

Privacy Tuesday – June 2015 – Courts Affirm Insurers’ Denial of Coverage for Electronic Data Claims  

In the last month, both a federal and state court denied coverage for claims relating to an insured’s handling of electronic data. In the first case, a federal court held that there was no coverage under a cyber insurance...more

The Supreme Court of New Jersey Defines a “Successful Claimant” Under New Jersey Court Rule 4:42-9(a)(6) for Fee-Shifting in...

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently issued a significant pro-policyholder decision regarding fee-shifting under the New Jersey Court Rules. Under Rule 4:42-9(a)(6), courts may award attorneys’ fees in “an action upon a...more

Connecticut Supreme Court’s Insurer-Friendly Decision on Data Breach Incident

On January 27, 2014, the Sedgwick Insurance Law Blog posted the following summary entitled, “ Highway Data Dump – Who are You Going to Call to Recover $6 Million?,” addressing the appellate decision in Recall Total Info....more

Insurance Recovery Law - April 2015 #2

Policyholder Can Keep Selected Counsel, Court Rules; Insurers’ Objection Too Late - Why it matters: A policyholder was able to maintain its selected defense counsel after a federal court judge ruled that the insurers’...more

Western District of Washington: Insured That Violated Duties of Notice and Cooperation Could Not Make Out Claim for Bad Faith...

Granite State Ins. Co. v. Integrity Structures, LLC, No. C14-5085BHS, 2015 WL 136006 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 9, 2015). The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held that an insurer did not act in bad faith...more

Connecticut Supreme Court Determines that Commercial General Liability Insurers Have Right to Obtain Declaratory Ruling as to...

Many construction professionals in Connecticut, and in particular those who do business with the State, are well aware of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Lombardo Bros. Mason Contractors, Inc., 307 Conn....more

Texas Court Holds No Duty to Defend Claims of Monopolistic Practices

In its recent decision in Uretek United States v. Cont’l Cas. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18610 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 17, 2015), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas had occasion to consider a general...more

Court Confirms Insurer Permitted to Choose Counsel in Discharging Duty to Defend

An insurer’s duty to defend and how that duty gets discharged may be one of the most frequently litigated coverage issues. Although typical policies afford insurers the right to control their insureds’ defense, insureds...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Appeal In Coverage Dispute; Superior Court Decision Recognizing a Duty to Defend Where Tort...

In a per curiam decision without a published opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh’s (“National”) appeal from a Superior Court decision holding that National had a...more

New York Insurance Law: 2014 Year in Review

Introduction - Perhaps the most significant and dramatic decision of the year played out when the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, backtracked on an earlier decision regarding the duty to defend. It first...more

Latest Updates to Media Liability Insurance in California

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP partner James Castle recently enhanced and updated the chapter on Media Liability Insurance for LexisNexis' California Insurance Law & Practice. Cases discussed include: ?S.B.C.C., Inc. v. St....more

Facing TCPA Claims for Texting Advertisements? You May Also Have Some Insurance Coverage Concerns

During this busy holiday shopping season, retailers may end up facing litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for sending advertisements to consumers’ cell phones. With large-scale litigation...more

Tenth Circuit: Property Damage Surrounding Defective Windows Is an “Occurrence” Because Damage Is Unexpected from Insured’s...

In Cincinnati Insurance Company v. AMSCO Windows, No. 13-4155 (10th Cir. November 26, 2014), Cincinnati insured AMSCO, which manufactures windows for use in homes and sells the windows to distributors. Certain AMSCO windows...more

Federal District Court in Pennsylvania Grants Summary Judgment To CGL Insurer Based Upon Lack of “Occurrence”

On October 14, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania granted a motion for summary judgment filed by State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. (“State Farm”), seeking a declaration that it had no duty...more

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