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California Supreme Court Holds Horizontal Exhaustion Not Needed – Vertical Exhaustion Rules

On April 6, 2020, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Montrose Chemical Corp. of California v. Superior Court, No. S244737.  It ruled that in the continuing loss context, California law permits a policyholder to seek indemnification under any excess policy once it has exhausted the underlying excess policies in the same policy period.  … Continue Reading

No Professional Liability Coverage for Bank After DOJ Settlement of Mortgage Certification Violations

Professional liability policies provide coverage for wrongful acts undertaken by the insured in the performance of professional services.  In the medical and legal fields, professional services are generally clear.  In other professional contexts professional services may not be as clear.  In a recent case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether professional liability coverage … Continue Reading

A Split Eighth Circuit Affirms Insurer Had a Duty to Defend County Against a 1983 Case

Liability insurance policies, especially directors and officers and other types of errors and omissions policies, often have provisions that deem related acts to constitute one wrongful act.  How that provision applies is fact specific, but its application can make a difference in determining which insurance policy must defend an underlying claim.  In a recent case, … Continue Reading

No Coverage Under Directors and Officers Policy For TCPA Law Suit Settlement

Companies that bring marketing campaigns using unsolicited faxes tend to end up in putative class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Many companies use vendors to design and implement those campaigns.  Those vendors are not always named in the TCPA action.  What happens when the TCPA action settles and the vendor contributed to … Continue Reading

Can Fear or Emotional Distress Associated With COVID-19 Be a “Bodily Injury”?

With the United States now having the highest number of confirmed infections in the world, the nation now finds itself in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog post, we continue to explore potential COVID-19 insurance coverage issues, this time focusing on whether fear of contracting COVID-19 alone or emotional damages caused by … Continue Reading

No Coverage for Insured’s TCPA Defense Says Pennsylvania Federal Court

Policyholders will look to their insurers when they are sued for unsolicited faxing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Do they have insurance coverage?  That depends on the policy, but TCPA coverage is hard to come by.  That doesn’t stop policyholders from trying.  In a recent case, a Pennsylvania federal court put an end … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Coverage Litigation Escalates

As the COVID-19 pandemic brings about more shutdown orders, non-essential businesses that have been shut because of government orders are fighting to obtain insurance coverage.  The first four cases brought were declaratory judgment actions seeing orders that their policies covered the suspension of their businesses.  The latest case, however, goes a two steps further and … Continue Reading

Whether a Partial or Complete Cessation of Business Is Required for BI Coverage – COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing few signs of slowing down in the immediate future, reality is starting to settle in on businesses and governments. As Congress and various state legislatures continue to discuss legislation aimed at remedying the economic damage caused by the pandemic, many businesses are grappling with extensive interruptions to their operations. In … Continue Reading

Actual Cash Value: Is the Cost of Labor Part of Depreciation? The Courts Are Divided

Depreciation typically is deducted from the actual cash value (“ACV”) of property when the insured elects to have its property damage claim paid on an ACV basis.  No one doubts that depreciation includes the cost of materials.  The question is, however, whether the cost of labor can be depreciated as well.  In a few recent … Continue Reading

COVID-19 and Waiting Periods Under Business Interruption Coverage

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses and governments are acting to flatten the curve.  Recently, California, the largest state by population, implemented an extensive quarantine statewide, affecting over 40 million people.  New York and other states and municipalities also have issued similar closure orders.  In this blog post, we continue to examine the issues surrounding … Continue Reading

Civil Authority Orders and COVID-19 Coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and local and state governments are issuing directives closing restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and other businesses.  Some local governments have even issued shelter-in-place orders.  In other instances, some businesses have begun closing their doors as a preemptive measure, either to reduce the spread of the virus or in response to … Continue Reading

Can Coverage for COVID-19 Be Excluded?

Business insurance policies contain exclusions precluding coverage under specified circumstances. Two exclusions potentially relevant to COVID-19 claims are the virus, bacteria or communicable disease and pollution exclusions. In this blog post, we examine these exclusions in the context of coverage issues for COVID-19.… Continue Reading

Businesses Scramble to Assess Insurance Coverage for COVID-19

COVID-19 has sickened hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in the deaths of thousands. Millions will likely be affected. Up until very recently, there was widespread belief that some countries may be spared the level of disruption seen earlier this year. Recent events have shown this is no longer a reasonable assumption. The WHO … Continue Reading

And So It Begins: The COVID-19 Coverage Cases Start

The first insurance coverage case has been brought by a restaurant in New Orleans seeking a declaratory judgment against its insurer, as well as the governor and the state, that the restaurant’s insurance policy does not contain an exclusion for viral pandemic and that the policy will cover the restaurant for any future civil authority … Continue Reading

Duty to Defend Found on Claims Under California Credit Card Act

Among the various consumer data privacy laws are laws precluding companies from collecting and selling consumer credit card information.  When a company is accused of selling its customers’ credit card information to third-parties in a class action, does it have insurance coverage to defend it from that class action?  The Ninth Circuit recently addressed this … Continue Reading

The Facts Matter in Prospective Coverage Disputes Over COVID-19

There are two main questions in every insurance coverage dispute.  First, what are the actual facts that gave rise to the claim?  Second, what are the actual words contained in the specific insurance policy provisions relevant to the claim?  The facts and words matter because, more often than not, each claim and each policy has … Continue Reading

Failure to Allocate Between Covered and Non-covered Damages Bars Indemnity

Insureds often face lawsuits where the claimant is seeking a broad array damages some of which may be covered by insurance and some of which are not covered by insurance.  Because the duty to defend is very broad, insurance companies will typically defend under a reservation of rights concerning the allocation between covered and non-covered … Continue Reading

Privacy Exclusion Precludes Coverage for Claims of Breach of Driver’s Privacy Protection Act

As data privacy statutes proliferate, insurance coverage disputes are rising concerning whether liability policies cover the defense and indemnification of violations of data privacy statutes.  Many of these consumer data privacy statutes predate the mass electronic collection and storage of personally identifiable information.  The analysis is similar about whether there is coverage against lawsuits arising … Continue Reading

Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Negligent Misrepresentation Is Not Property Damage

To obtain coverage under a property insurance policy there has to be property damage caused by an occurrence during the policy period.  Seems simple, but as we have seen, sometimes the round peg just does not fit in the square hole.  In a recent case, the Ninth Circuit addressed whether allegations of breach of fiduciary … Continue Reading

It Is Tough to Avoid the Duty to Defend

Most states view the duty to defend more broadly than the duty to indemnify.  Some people call the duty to defend “litigation insurance” because it often applies even where the allegations are slim, conclusory and ultimately untrue.  A recent Fifth Circuit case reemphasizes how many courts address the duty to defend.… Continue Reading

When You Agree to Buy Out Partner Upon Death and Fail to Do So Don’t Expect Your Insurer to Defend You

A Directors and Officers (“D&O”) insurance policy provides coverage for a multitude of actions by corporate officers.  D&O policies, however, come with many exclusions to void coverage for intentional acts and other actions founded on contracts and other instruments.  Many corporate officers, especially in smaller companies, look to D&O policies to defend and indemnify them … Continue Reading

Defamation Plaintiff Has Default Judgment But Not Standing To Sue Insolvent Policyholder’s Insurance Company

Bankruptcy and insurance have been engaged in a tangled web for decades.  Claimants against bankrupt insureds are often frustrated in seeking a recovery that they might otherwise obtain if the insured had not gone bankrupt.  In a recent case, the Third Circuit addressed the standing of a default judgment creditor claimant to sue the bankrupt … Continue Reading
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