Reservation of Rights

News & Analysis as of

When The Government Comes Knocking: Maximizing Insurance Coverage for Government Investigations

As many readers will know, a government investigation can begin with something as seemingly innocuous as an email from a governmental agency to a company’s general counsel asking for information, or as attention-grabbing as a...more

When an Exception to the “Mold Exclusion” Exposes Carriers to More Than Just Fungi or Bacteria

The recent New York City outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (named for a 1976 outbreak of a type of pneumonia at an American Legion convention) has raised awareness of the illness. It has also renewed the courts’ interest in...more

State Farm v. Hansen: Nevada Supreme Court Adopts California Independent Counsel Rules

The Nevada Supreme Court has adopted California’s independent counsel rules, holding that an insured is entitled to select its own counsel where an insurer’s coverage reservation creates an actual conflict of interest between...more

Insurance Recovery Law - October 2015

Unfair Trade Practices Exclusion Doesn't Cover Consumer Protection Suits - Why it matters: An unfair trade practices clause did not bar coverage for a policyholder's subsidiary, an Illinois federal court ruled, ordering...more

Nevada Supreme Court adopts Cumis independent counsel rule, but refuses to hold that reservation of rights letter always presents...

Answering two certified questions, the Nevada Supreme Court has adopted the independent counsel rule first laid down in San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Insurance Society, Inc., holding: When a conflict of...more

Mississippi Court Holds Defense Costs Outside of Limits

In its recent decision in Federal Ins. Co. v. Singing River Health System, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134814 (S.D. Miss. October 2, 2015), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi issued a decision...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19253 - RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. SKF USA, Inc. [An important decision on contract waiver but one all attorneys should recall from the UCC or Contracts course we took...more

Cancel My Reservation! Pennsylvania Sows Confusion Over Consent-to-Settle Clauses

This summer, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania addressed an important question that has divided other courts: if an insurer defends a claim subject to a reservation of rights, may the insured settle the claim without the...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court allows insured to settle without consent of insurer defending under reservation of rights

Bad faith claims can have major consequences for insurers. Stopping the Setup gets into the minds of plaintiffs' lawyers and addresses the ways they try to create bad-faith claims against insurance companies. This overview...more

Liability Insurers receive $25.5 million reminder about the importance of Reservation of Rights letters

“This insurance,” the policy clearly stated, “does not apply to . . . punitive damages. . . .” And yet the carriers will be paying the entire judgment entered in Lompe v. Sunridge Partners, LLC, 54 F. Supp. 3d 1252, 1271 (D....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

11th Circuit Finds a Covered “Occurrence” Under CGL Policy For Damages Resulting From Contractor’s Faulty Work and Rejects...

In Pennsylvania National Mutual Insurance Company v. St. Catherine of Siena Parish, 790 F.3d 1173 (11th Cir. 2015), a judgment was obtained by the Parish (a Catholic Church) against Kiker Corporation (“Kiker”), which was...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

Independent “Cumis” Counsel Now Face Direct Claims for Reimbursement From Insurers

On April 30, 2015, we blogged about Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. J.R. Marketing, LLC, Case No. S211645, then set for oral argument in the California Supreme Court. [see the prior post: California’s “Independent”...more

California Supreme Court: Insurer Can Directly Sue Independent Counsel for Excess Fees in Limited Circumstances

On August 10, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that could have broad implications regarding an insurer’s right to seek reimbursement of unreasonable fees and costs directly from so-called Cumis...more

Insurance Recovery Law - August 2015

Insured's Notice to Broker Satisfied Policy Requirements, Illinois Court Rules - Why it matters: An insured's notice to its broker satisfied the policy's notice requirements, an Illinois appellate panel recently...more

Seventh Circuit warns insurance companies who refuse to defend their insureds

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued “a warning for insurance companies who refuse to defend their insureds.” In National American Insurance Company v. Artisan and Truckers Casualty Company, No. 14-2694, 2015...more

Without So Much as a Fig Leaf . . .

Legal commentators and court watchers rightly complain about activist judges who make laws rather than interpret them. Last month’s decision in the The Babcock & Wilcox Co. et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., is...more

Pennsylvania Permits Insureds Being Defended under a Reservation of Rights to Settle Without Their Insurer's Consent

A standard provision in the commercial general liability policy and many other liability policies precludes voluntary payments—settlements—by the insured without the insurer’s consent. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds That Insured May Settle Tort Claim Without Insurer Consent Under “Fair and Reasonable” Standard

In Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. American Nuclear Insurers, a divided Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, deciding an issue of first impression under Pennsylvania law, recently held that when an insurer defends its insured subject to a...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds Insured Entitled to Settle Underlying Claim Even Absent Insurer Consent

In its recent decision in Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. American Nuclear Insurers, 2015 Pa. LEXIS 1551 (Pa. July 21, 2015), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, deciding a matter of first impression within the Commonwealth, had...more

Duty to Cooperate Ruling Narrows Insurers’ Ability to Foreclose Coverage for Settled Class Action Claims

Insurance policies typically include a cooperation clause, which requires the insured to cooperate with the insurer in the defense of a covered claim. Insurers routinely use this clause as a sword against their insureds by...more

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues Its Landmark Ruling in Babcock

On July 21, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Babcock & Wilcox Company, et al. v. American Nuclear Insurers, et al., No. 2 WAP 2014 (Pa. July 21, 2015). The court resolved an issue...more

PA Supreme Court Gives Policy Holders Right to Settle Without Insurer Approval

Insurance coverage counsel have been anxiously awaiting the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. Am. Nuclear Insurers, 2015 Pa. Lexis 1551 (July 21, 2015), since the high court agreed to hear the...more

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues Its Landmark Decision in Babcock

On July 21, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Babcock & Wilcox Company et. al. v. American Nuclear Insurers et. al, No. 2 WAP 2014. Reed Smith filed an amicus brief in the case...more

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