Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes

  • December 04, 2019

    9th Circuit:  USFWS Officer’s Sexual Contact With Employee Was Not ‘Occurrence’

    PORTLAND, Ore. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 held that a former regional field dive officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s sexual contact with a fellow employee was not an occurrence under a homeowners insurance policy, affirming a lower court in part (American Reliable Insurance Company v. Lawrence Lockard, et al., Nos. 18-35758 and 18-35786, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35869).

  • December 04, 2019

    Panel:  Insured Did Not Timely Notify Directors And Officers Liability Insurer Of Suit

    CINCINNATI — An Ohio appeals court on Nov. 27 found that an insured failed to timely notify its insurer of an underlying lawsuit brought by a competitor and that the notice-prejudice rule does not apply, affirming a lower court’s ruling that a directors and officers liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (ISCO Industries, Inc., et al. v. Great American Insurance Co., No. C-180636, Ohio App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 4949).

  • December 04, 2019

    Couple:  Insurer Breached Contract By Denying Coverage In Underlying Case

    LOS ANGELES — An unmarried couple recently filed a brief in California appellate court contending that a lower court erred when it ruled that an insurer did not breach its contract to the insureds by refusing to cover one member of the couple when they were both sued for malicious prosecution related to an underlying lawsuit (Gilbert Purcell, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, et al., No. B292698, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 1).

  • December 03, 2019

    Judge Denies Insurer’s Renewed Motion As To Yahoo’s Bad Faith, Damages Claims

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Nov. 25 denied a commercial general liability insurer's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law on Yahoo! Inc.'s bad faith and bad faith damages claims, finding that the insurer has failed to present any new evidence or new argument since the original motion was denied in May (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 17-00489, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204411).

  • December 03, 2019

    Law Firm, Attorney Ask 4th Circuit To Reverse No Coverage Ruling For DPPA Claim

    RICHMOND, Va. — A personal injury law firm and its attorney recently asked the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s finding that a business liability insurer has no duty to defend against an underlying lawsuit alleging that they violated the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, arguing that construing the policy exclusions against the insurer and in favor of coverage is required under North Carolina law (Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. John J. Gelshenen Jr., et al., No. 19-1578, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75985).

  • December 03, 2019

    11th Circuit Values Life Insurance Class Claims At Over $75M, Reverses Remand

    ATLANTA — A class complaint accusing a life insurance provider of unlawful price increases over more than a decade includes an injunctive demand valued at more than $75 million as the face value of the policies being challenged are the amount in controversy, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 22 in an interlocutory appeal, reversing a trial court’s remand order (Vanessa Anderson, et al. v. Wilco Life Insurance Company, No. 19-14127, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34952).

  • December 03, 2019

    IP Exclusion ‘Unequivocally Bars Coverage’ For Trademark Suit, Federal Judge Says

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina held Nov. 26 that an insurance policy’s intellectual property exclusion “unequivocally bars coverage” for an underlying trademark lawsuit brought against the insured, granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment (Direct Technologies International, Inc. v. Maxum Indemnity Co., No. 19-81, W.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205158).

  • December 02, 2019

    Panel:  Record Fails To ‘Conclusively Establish’ Insurer Has No Defense Duty

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota appeals panel on Nov. 25 held that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend its attorney insured against an underlying legal malpractice claim, rejecting the insurer’s argument that there is no coverage because the claim was “deemed made” in a prior policy period (Hugh Alan Kantrud v. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, No. A19-0628, Minn. App., 2019 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1105).

  • November 25, 2019

    Judge:  Insurer’s Suit Disputing Coverage For Nuisance, Negligence Claims Is Timely

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on Nov. 21 held that an insurer’s declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying trespass, nuisance and negligence claims against its franchise insured is not barred by Alabama’s six-year statute of limitations and that there is no “parallel” state court proceeding that warrants abstention (Great American Alliance Company v. Bravo Food Service LLC, et al., No. 19-1026, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202024).

  • November 22, 2019

    No Coverage Owed For Malicious Prosecution Claim, Illinois High Court Rules

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court on Nov. 21 held that coverage for an underlying malicious prosecution claim was triggered by the initiation of a wrongfully convicted man's prosecution and not by his subsequent exoneration, reversing an appeals court’s finding that insurers had a duty to provide coverage (Rodell Sanders, et al. v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, et al., No. 124565, Ill. Sup., 2019 Ill. LEXIS 1057).

  • November 22, 2019

    Judge: Directors And Officers Liability Coverage Suit’s Proper Forum Is In England

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Three days after a federal judge in New  York found that a directors and officers liability insurance policy’s dispute resolution provision undermines a plaintiff's choice of forum, the court on Nov. 21 entered judgment granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on grounds of forum non conveniens (Peter Little v. XL Insurance Company SE, No. 18-11919, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200828).

  • November 20, 2019

    No EPL, D&O Coverage Owed For Shareholder Dispute, Federal Judge Rules

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Nov. 14 held that plaintiffs cannot recover under an insurance policy’s employment practices liability or directors and officers liability coverage for the underlying $725,000 settlement of a shareholder lawsuit (Madison Mechanical, Inc, et al. v. Twin City Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-01357, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198092).

  • November 20, 2019

    Target Sues Insurer For Coverage Of Banks’ Settlement In Data Breach Litigation

    MINNEAPOLIS — Citing a multimillion dollar coverage dispute of more than five years with its primary insurer over its settlement with a group of financial institutions (FIs) over a 2013 data breach, Target Corp. filed breach of contract claims against the insurer in Minnesota federal court on Nov. 15, seeking coverage declarations and damages (Target Corp. v. ACE American Insurance Co., et al., No. 0:19-cv-02916, D. Minn.).

  • November 20, 2019

    Professional Liability Insurer, Insured Dismiss Dispute Over Architectural Defects

    CHICAGO — An architectural firm insured and its professional liability insurer on Nov. 12 filed a voluntary stipulation of dismissal of the insurer’s declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging damages in a house that was designed by the insured one week after a federal judge in Illinois held that the insurer has no duty to defend the insured  (Wesco Insurance Company v. Elements Architectural Group, Inc., No. 18-2743, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192346).

  • November 20, 2019

    Insureds File Notice Of Appeal Of No Coverage Ruling Of Investors’ Suit

    ST. LOUIS — Insureds notified a federal court in Missouri on Nov. 15 that they will ask the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review a magistrate judge’s dismissal of their claims for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay brought against a directors and officers liability insurer (Verto Medical Solutions, LLC, et al. v. Allied World Specialty Insurance Company, No. 19-01532, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190779).

  • November 19, 2019

    Appellant Challenges Stay Of Suit Seeking Validity Of Insurer’s Subrogation Claim

    SAN FRANCISCO — An appellant recently asked a California appeals court to reverse a lower court’s ruling that stayed his declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing the validity of a professional liability insurer’s subrogation claim against his family trust, arguing that the stay “has no legal basis” (John Berman v. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, No. A155394, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).

  • November 15, 2019

    Federal Judge:  Suits Alleging Concert Injuries Trigger Coverage Under CGL Policy

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 12 held that all underlying personal injury claims against a concert operator “arise from” a security company’s “acts or omissions” in the performance of security services and, as a result, fall under the scope of a vendor services agreement’s indemnification clause and trigger coverage under a commercial general liability insurance policy (Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. v. Secura Insurance, et al., No. 17-216, W.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195830).

  • November 14, 2019

    New York Panel Reverses Ruling, Awards Summary Judgment In Insurers’ Favor

    ALBANY, N.Y. — After reversing a lower court’s order that granted a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed defendant insurers’ two affirmative defenses, a New York appeals panel on Nov. 13 awarded summary judgment in favor of the insurers and dismissed the lawsuit seeking recovery of an underlying $3.25 million judgment against the insured (Chaya Plotkin v. Republic-Franklin Insurance Company, et al., No. 2016-04231, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8234).

  • November 12, 2019

    5th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Coverage Dispute Arising From Electrocution Death

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment rulings in a coverage dispute arising from an electrocution death caused by a generator that was designed, sold and monitored by the insured (Aggreko, L.L.C. v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-40325, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33637).

  • November 12, 2019

    Magistrate Refuses To Stay Coverage Suit Over Olympic Athletes’ Sexual Abuse Claims

    DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on Oct. 25 denied the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) motion to stay its insurer’s rescission lawsuit pending resolution of underlying lawsuits alleging that it knew or should have known about sexual abuse committed against Olympic athletes and should have done more to stop the abuse (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company v. United States Olympic Committee, No. 19-01231, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193192).