Liability Insurance

News & Analysis as of

Corporate Insurance Trends 2014

Although we are seeing the tail end of many of the claims which arose from the Global Financial Crisis, the sophisticated plaintiff’s bar and ever-developing class action landscape means that companies and their officers will...more

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Class Representative's Authority to Dispose of Unclaimed Settlement Proceeds

A sharply divided Texas Supreme Court recently held that unclaimed class action settlement funds may be disposed of in the manner selected by the parties and are not subject to the state’s Unclaimed Property Act. In Highland...more

Florida Appellate Court: “Coverage Liability” Can Be Basis for Bad Faith in Suit Involving First Party Appraisal

On Wednesday, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion concerning the prerequisites for bringing bad faith claims in Florida. In an en banc ruling, the Court held in Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Ins....more

#Insurance Coverage for Emerging Social Media Risks

There are 1.3 billion people on Facebook, half a billion “tweets” every day, and countless other ways to communicate that did not even exist five years ago. In response to this social media revolution, smart companies are...more

Nutmeg, Sí, Palmetto, No!: Travelers Wins Both Sides of Insurer-vs.-Insurer Dispute

Although large or protracted losses can implicate more than one liability policy, sometimes only one insurer steps up to provide a defense. When that happens, the insurer can try any of several ways to recover its expenses...more

Maryland Insurer Not Permitted to Rely on Business Pursuits Exclusion to Deny Duty to Defend Where Continuity of Business Interest...

In Springer v. Erie Insurance Exchange, the Court of Appeals set out to determine whether the allegations in a complaint for defamation triggered the Business Pursuits exclusion in a homeowner’s liability insurance policy...more

Is There a Duty to Defend Pollution Claims? It’s the Complaint, Stupid

This Spring, cases from Florida and Wisconsin reaffirmed the general proposition that a liability insurer’s duty to defend must be determined from the specific claims in the underlying complaint against the insured, and not...more

Not So Fast: New York’s High Court Relieves Pressure on Liability Carriers to Disclaim Coverage “As Soon As Possible”

Under a New York statute, a liability insurer that denies coverage for a death or bodily injury claim must provide written notice of its decision “as soon as is reasonably possible.” Last year, in Long Island Lighting Co. v....more

Peeking Around Four Corners: Wisconsin Insurers Have Found a Way to Use Extrinsic Evidence to Excuse the Defense of Pending Claims

It is a truism that a liability insurer’s duty to defend is extremely broad—especially in states that apply the “four corners rule.” Under that rule, the insurer has a duty to defend whenever the underlying complaint alleges...more

August 2014: Insurance Litigation Update

No Longer on the Hook for Indemnity: NY Court of Appeals Reverses Decision That Held Insurers Liable to Indemnify Where They Wrongly Refused to Defend a Claim. In a decision last year in K2 Investment Group, LLC v. American...more

If the Suit Fits: A Washington Court Clarifies Triggers for the Duty to Defend

Like many other federal and state environmental laws, Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) exposes property owners to strict liability, regardless of fault or intent, for certain types of environmental contamination. ...more

Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute Does Not Modify Terms of Coverage

“Direct action” statutes permit an injured plaintiff to sue an insurer for coverage under someone else’s policy — the liability insurance policy of the tortfeasor who caused the injury. They have been enacted in only a...more

Fifth Circuit Holding Breathes Life Back Into the Contractual Liability Exclusion

Liability insurance policies typically exclude coverage for obligations arising out of the insured’s “assumption of liability in a contract or agreement.” Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court took a narrow view of this...more

West Virginia High Court Examines Number Of Occurrences Under Liability Insurance Policy

This year, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued an important decision concerning whether a carbon monoxide leak is a single or multiple occurrence under a liability insurance policy. Kosnoski, et al. v....more

Federal Judge Concludes Restitution May Be Covered Under Commonly Used Professional Liability Policy Language

A federal judge in Minnesota recently held that “restitution” paid to settle a class action lawsuit was covered under the terms of a professional liability policy. The court in U.S. Bank National Ass’n et al. v. Indian Harbor...more

U.S. Bank v. Indian Harbor: Another Blow to the Restitution/Disgorgement Defense

In recent years, purchasers of D&O and professional liability insurance have been stunned to learn that their carriers have denied coverage for a wide range of claims on the theory that their policies do not cover loss that...more

Third Circuit Holds Insurer’s Interpretation of Employer’s Liability Exclusion is Fairly Debatable

A recent 3rd Circuit decision, ArcelorMittal Plate, LLC v. Joulé Technical Services, Inc., 558 Fed.Appx. 205 (3d Cir. 2014) reiterates that under New Jersey law, an insurer does not act in bad faith when denying a claim that...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Notes Limited Reach of Multiple Trigger Rule in Insolvency Case

On July 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held, as a matter of first impression, that the Continuance of Coverage Provision of the Pennsylvania insurance insolvency statute, 40 P.S. § 221.21, precludes coverage for all...more

Joint Employment Finding Leads to Unexpected $3 Million Liability in Hospital Malpractice Case

When Washington Hospital obtained an insurance policy in 2003 to cover medical claims arising from acts by its employees, its insurer probably did not consider whether hospital employees included workers supplied by a...more

Washington Insurance Law 2014 Mid-Year Update

During the first six months of 2014, Washington judges issued several notable insurance-related decisions. Some of those decisions were favorable to insurers and could benefit insurers in future insurance claims and lawsuits...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

Risk Planning and Board Liability

Board members are in the hot seat, or to put it another way – they are in a hot kitchen. The question is whether they can stand the heat of the hot kitchen....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

Principal Architects on Residential Projects Liable for Construction Defects Outside Their Control; Developers and Owners May Pay...

On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided the much watched case Beacon Residential Community Assoc. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP. The court held that the “principal architect” “owes a duty of care to future...more

Individual Liability: What’s Behind The Headlines?

It’s been open season on financial institutions since the 2008-2009 financial crisis (“Financial Crisis”). State and federal prosecutors and regulators are competing with each other for press coverage of their latest consent...more

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