Duty to Defend

News & Analysis as of

California’s “Independent” Cumis Counsel Regime Faces A Novel Challenge

On May 5, the California Supreme Court will hear argument in a case that has the potential to profoundly change the relationship between the insurer, its insured and the insured’s independent defense counsel under Civil Code...more

South Carolina Law Does Not Permit an Insurer to Seek Contribution for Defense Costs from a Co-Insurer

An insurer cannot require contribution from a co-insurer for the expenses of a insured’s defense where one insurer denies liability and the other refuses to defend, according to a recent opinion of the Fourth Circuit Court of...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

Illinois Court Holds No Duty to Defend Malicious Prosecution Suit

In Indian Harbor Ins. Co. v. City of Waukegan, 2015 IL App (2d) 140293 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 2015) the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, had occasion to consider when coverage for a malicious prosecution claim...more

Washington Insurance Law - 2014 Year in Review

Introduction: During the final six months of 2014, Washington judges issued several notable insurance-related decisions. As was the case during the first six months of 2014, many of those decisions were favorable to...more

Insurance – Duty to Defend

Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange, et al. - Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District (March 4, 2015) - Typically, claims of sexual assault or claims related to sexual assault are not covered under a standard...more

Insurance Recovery Law - April 2015

Legal Issues Not Proper Expert Testimony - Why it matters: As a good reminder concerning the boundaries for admissibility of expert opinions, a federal court in Texas recently granted a policyholder’s motion to strike an...more

Duty to Defend Only Triggered Where Subject Activities Are Specified in the Policy - Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Gum Tree...

Finding that the specific allegations made in a plaintiff’s civil petition filed against an insurance policy holder did not meet the specifications of the insured’s policy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit...more

An Insurer Is Bound By a Default Judgment Resulting From Its Failure to Defend

An insurance company must defend its insured if there is a mere potential that the lawsuit against the insured is covered, and there are serious consequences when an insurer refuses to do so. In California, if a default...more

Insurance Recovery Law - March 2015

New York Federal Court Rejects Insurer’s Request for Recoupment - Why it matters: The federal court, applying New York law, held that an energy drink manufacturer’s advertising coverage claim—arising from underlying...more

A Delayed Defense is a Waiver of Civil Code Section 2860

When presented with a lawsuit potentially seeking covered damages, a liability insurer owes a duty to defend and is faced with three options:1) tender the defense unconditionally and therefore control the defense, including...more

Court Finds Potential for Personal Umbrella Coverage of Sexual Assault Not Covered by Underlying Homeowners Policy

In Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange (No. H039368, filed 2/5/15), a California appeals court ruled that a personal umbrella policy's broader coverage gave rise to a duty to defend sexual molestation allegations that were...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

Insurer Failure to Pay Defense Costs Excused by Insured Failure to Prove-Up Fees

In Country Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hilltop View, LLC, 2014 IL App (4th) 140007, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s order of contempt against the insurer, arising from the insurer’s failure to pay the defense costs the...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

Illinois Court Finds Duty to Defend Underlying Toxic Tort Claims

In its recent decision in Ill. Tool Works Inc. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 132350 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2015), the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, had occasion to consider whether an...more

New York Court Dismisses Bad Faith Cause of Action

In its recent decision in Spandex House, Inc. v. Travelers Property Cas. Co. of America, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14667 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 6, 2015), the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York had...more

The Case of the Zealous Defense Counsel

A law firm asked us for advice a few months into a fast-moving intellectual property lawsuit. The complaint alleged trademark and copyright infringement claims against the company and two of its officers. They noted that...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

Insurance Recovery Law - January 2015 #2

More Important Rulings From J.P. Morgan's New York Coverage Litigation - Why it matters: A New York Appellate Court unanimously held that a group of insurers could not invoke a Dishonest Acts Exclusion in a...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies Pollution Exclusion to Well Contaminated with Manure

Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the pollution exclusion applies to well water contamination arising from the application of manure to nearby farmland, relieving a general liability insurer of its duty to...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

Insurance Client Alert: Denial of Summary Judgment Does Not Automatically Establish Duty to Defend

In McMillin Companies v. American Safety Indemnity (No. D063586, filed 1/20/15), a California appeals court ruled that an insurer's loss of a summary judgment motion on the duty to defend does not necessarily establish that a...more

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