Duty to Defend Commercial General Liability Policies

News & Analysis as of

No Escape from Duty to Defend By Escape Clause

Underwriters of Interest Subscribing to Policy Number A15274001 v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company - Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (October 23, 2015) - The California Fourth Appellate District...more

Insurance Recovery Law - November 2015

Despite Prior Suits, Policyholder Entitled to Coverage for DOJ Investigation - Why it matters: A policyholder was entitled to coverage for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation despite already facing possibly...more

Third Circuit Announces Coverage-Defeating First Publication Rule

On October 23, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for Pennsylvania policyholders to obtain coverage for the misappropriation of advertising ideas...more

Court Extends Insurer Rights to Equitable Contribution

In Underwriters of Interest v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co. (No. D066615; filed 10/23/15), a California appeals court refused to enforce an “escape” other insurance clause in an insurer versus insurer contribution action,...more

Third Circuit Decides that “Publication” Doesn’t Include the Collection of Customer Data

On September 15, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals declared that Lamorak Insurance Company (formerly OneBeacon America Insurance Company) and the Hanover Insurance Group don’t have to defend their insureds, Urban...more

Insurance Company Not Required To Defend Its Insured Against Illegal Recording Of Telephone Communications Class Action Lawsuit

On September 29, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s order of dismissal and determined that First Mercury Insurance Company (“First Mercury”) did not have a duty to...more

Georgia Court Holds Coverage Triggered for Product Disparagement Claim

In its recent decision in Foliar Nutrients v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125528 (M.D. Ga. Sept. 21, 2015), the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia had occasion to...more

Supreme Judicial Court Affirms Award 0f $2,250,000 plus Interest Against Insurer for Breach of Duty to Defend and Settle — on...

In Boyle v. Zurich American Insurance Company, SJC-11791 (Sept. 14, 2015), the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) affirmed an award of $2,250,000 plus interest against an insurer for failing to defend its insured on a $50,000...more

Third Circuit Holds No Coverage For Suits Alleging Improper Collection of Customer Data

In its recent decision in OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. v. Urban Outfitters, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16399 (3d Cir. Sept. 15, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, applying Pennsylvania law, had occasion to...more

Insurance Recovery Law - September 2015

Exception to Mold Exclusion Requires Defense of Suit Alleging Injuries From Moldy Water - Why it matters: An exclusion for "Fungi or Bacteria" did not prevent a federal court judge in Tennessee from ordering an insurer...more

Accrual to be Kind: Pennsylvania Appellate Court Addresses Statute of Limitations for Declaratory Claim

A Pennsylvania appeals court recently addressed a nuanced procedural question: the applicable statute of limitations in a declaratory action of a coverage dispute. In Selective Way Ins. Co. v. Hospitality Group Svcs, Inc.,...more

Insurance Recovery Law - August 2015 #2

Good News for Corporate Policyholders: Insurer Cannot Refuse Coverage Based on Insured's Assignment of Rights Under Policies After Loss Has Occurred - Why it matters: Reversing its holding in a 2003 case, the Supreme...more

Seventh Circuit Issues Stern Warning For Insurers That Reject Their Duty to Defend

The first line of the Seventh Circuit’s opinion says it all: “This case provides a warning for insurance companies who refuse to defend their insureds.” As the court’s admonishment suggests, insurers that improperly refuse to...more

11th Circuit to decide whether construction defect notice under Florida repair statute is a “suit”

Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida addressed what constitutes a “suit” within the context of Florida’s right-to-repair procedure for construction defect disputes. In Altman...more

CA Supreme Court Finds “Consent-to-Assignment” Clauses Unenforceable After Loss Occurs During the Policy Period

In Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court (No. S205889; filed 8/20/15), the California Supreme Court overruled its earlier decision in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934, holding that...more

California Supreme Court Limits Enforceability of Anti-Assignment Clauses

In a unanimous decision handed down by the California Supreme Court on August 20, 2015 in Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court, the court removed a significant obstacle facing companies that want to assign their interests in a...more

CA Supreme Court Permits Insurers to Bring Direct Actions Seeking Reimbursement of Excessive Fees Against Cumis Counsel Under...

The California Supreme Court held in Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. J.R. Marketing, L.L.C. (Squire Sanders) (8/10/2015 - #S211645) that if Cumis counsel, operating under a court order which such counsel drafted and...more

Tenth Circuit: Legal Characterization of Facts in Underlying Complaint Insufficient to Trigger the Duty to Defend

On July 30, 2015, the Tenth Circuit affirmed that an insurer that issued a commercial general liability policy with an auto exclusion for bodily injury arising out of the loading and unloading of an auto did not have a duty...more

Texas Says EPA Administrative Actions under CERCLA Trigger Duty to Defend

As any company facing EPA administrative action under CERCLA knows, the financial risk and defense costs associated with those proceedings can be the same as the risk and costs of an EPA lawsuit under CERCLA. But insurers...more

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

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

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