General Liability

  • May 30, 2024

    Travelers Loses Dismissal Bid In BIPA Coverage Dispute

    A New York federal judge declined to trim a software company's lawsuit seeking coverage from a Travelers unit for underlying claims that the company violated the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, finding the company's declaratory relief and bad faith claims were not duplicative of a breach of contract claim.

  • May 30, 2024

    Only $100K Owed For NJ Theater's Virus Losses, Judge Says

    A Zurich unit owed a theater only $100,000 for its COVID-19-related losses under its policy's communicable disease coverage provision, a New Jersey federal court ruled, rejecting the theater's arguments that each public health order constituted a separate occurrence and that a "blanket" $1.9 million limit was applicable.

  • May 30, 2024

    Insurance Litigation Week In Review

    The U.S. Supreme Court revived the National Rifle Association's free speech claims against a former New York state official, a Washington state appeals court ended Quest Diagnostics' bid for COVID-related coverage, and market analyst AM Best reported record investment income for U.S. property and casualty insurers in 2023.

  • May 30, 2024

    Active Hurricane Season Looms Over Insurance Industry

    The Atlantic hurricane season could continue to stress fragile insurance markets, according to forecasts of a particularly active 2024 season, but experts say there are some positive developments for Florida insurers despite years of elevated losses.

  • May 30, 2024

    Consumer Advocate Unpacks Big Issues Facing Insureds

    The use of socioeconomic factors in auto insurance, climate change's impact on the rising cost of homeowners insurance and the hollowing out of insurance policies are some of the most pressing issues consumers face today, says an advocate from the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America.

  • May 30, 2024

    Insurer Rebukes Bad Faith Claims In $25M Child Abuse Row

    An insurer urged a Washington federal court to dismiss bad faith counterclaims brought against it by families who say the insurer failed to provide coverage toward a daycare center's $24.5 million settlement of claims that its former employee sexually molested children.

  • May 30, 2024

    Insurance Atty Fights For Lone Woman On Death Row In Miss.

    Attorney A. Kate Margolis lives a double life: one, in which she fights on behalf of insurance policyholders as counsel at Bradley, and another, spent trying to save convicted murderer Lisa Jo Chamberlin, the only woman on Mississippi's death row.

  • May 30, 2024

    Bottler Says It's Owed Defense In Wine Contamination Dispute

    A wine bottler told a California federal court its insurer must reimburse defense costs it incurred while fighting a now-settled suit seeking to hold the company liable for a $1.2 million wine contamination, arguing the lawsuit didn't specifically allege what the bottler's actions were nor the cause of contamination.

  • May 30, 2024

    Meet The Attys In Margolis Edelstein Malpractice Fight

    Counsel representing Margolis Edelstein and an insurer that has accused the firm of malpractice are gearing up for a July oral argument so the Delaware Supreme Court can decide if the firm can escape the suit.

  • May 30, 2024

    Justices Revive NRA's Free Speech Claims Against NY Official

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the National Rifle Association can proceed with certain claims in its lawsuit alleging that a former New York state official violated the gun rights group's free speech protections by pressuring financial institutions to cut ties with it.

  • May 29, 2024

    Archdiocese Seeks NY High Court Clarity In Abuse Row

    The Archdiocese of New York asked a state appeals court for leave to appeal to the state's highest court to clarify the proper pleading standards in a coverage dispute brought by Chubb over sexual abuse claims, arguing Chubb's "collective pleading strategy" is inconsistent with state precedent.

  • May 29, 2024

    11th Circ. Backs Insurer's Win In Trampoline Injury Suit

    United Specialty Insurance had no duty to defend or indemnify a landscaper accused of negligently installing a trampoline that led to a child's injuries, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed, finding that the landscaper's insurance application expressly disclaimed the installation of recreational or playground equipment.

  • May 28, 2024

    US Property Insurers See Record Investment Income In 2023

    U.S. property and casualty insurers earned a record income of $73.9 billion from their investments in 2023, market analyst AM Best reported Tuesday, a bright spot for an industry beset by underwriting losses connected to natural disasters and high inflation.

  • May 28, 2024

    No Coverage For IT Co.'s 'Collusive' Settlement, Insurer Says

    Chubb unit ACE American Insurance Co. told a Colorado federal court it owes no coverage to an IT company found liable by a jury for making fraudulent misrepresentations and breaching its cybersecurity agreement with an investment company, arguing the parties' post-verdict settlement was merely a workaround to "create insurance coverage."

  • May 24, 2024

    No-Show Plaintiff, 'Jackass' Atty Booted Too Fast, Court Says

    A Michigan appellate court sympathized with a trial court dealing with a no-show plaintiff and his lawyer who acted like a "jackass" — according to one appellate judge — but ruled Thursday that the trial court needed to do a better job documenting why it tossed the case instead of issuing a lesser sanction.

  • May 24, 2024

    Insurer's Coverage Suit Premature, Ga. Apt. Complex Says

    An apartment complex facing negligence claims over a shooting told a Georgia federal court that its insurer's suit seeking to avoid coverage must be tossed, arguing that without any factual findings in the underlying state court action, any finding on the insurer's duty to indemnify would be premature.

  • May 24, 2024

    Insurer Owes Coverage For School Defect Claim, Builder Says

    A general contractor told a Washington federal court it is entitled to coverage under a subcontractor's commercial general liability policy with a Liberty Mutual unit for defects and damage that a school district alleges was caused by the subcontractor while working on a school expansion project.

  • May 23, 2024

    Calif. High Court Deals Loss To Policyholder In COVID-19 Suit

    The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the coronavirus generally doesn't cause the kind of damage to property that would trigger coverage under an insurance policy, handing a win to a Chubb insurance company in one of the last major venues for pandemic coverage litigation.

  • May 23, 2024

    Colo. AI Bias Law Brings Little Certainty For Insurance Sector

    Colorado enacted the nation's first comprehensive regulatory scheme for protecting consumers from discriminatory and biased artificial intelligence systems, sending a warning signal to an insurance sector bracing for increased scrutiny and risks related to the technology.

  • May 23, 2024

    How An Ex-Attorney Turned Mediator Approaches Conflict

    Drawing from his 25-year career as an attorney litigating primarily insurance coverage disputes, Steven Schulwolf founded Schulwolf Mediation to help parties reach effective resolutions in even the toughest cases.

  • May 23, 2024

    Insurance Litigation Week In Review

    Policyholders suffered losses over COVID-19 coverage claims before the California Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit, the California high court weighed whether an exclusion rendered virus coverage illusory and if a policyholder's unfair competition claim against State Farm was untimely, and the Tenth Circuit questioned the scope of absolute pollution exclusions.

  • May 23, 2024

    2nd Circ. Revives Insurer's $2.5M Suit Over Valuation Software

    The Second Circuit on Thursday revived an insurer's indemnification bid against software company Audatex for $2.5 million in costs from a suit alleging its use of Audatex's valuation software resulted in underpayment for totaled cars, concluding the lower court erred in finding the suit didn't result from the insurer's use of Audatex's software.

  • May 23, 2024

    NC High Court Grants Review In Clothier's Virus Coverage Suit

    North Carolina's top court on Thursday agreed to take up a clothing company's coverage appeal for COVID-19 losses against Zurich after a lower appellate panel found the virus did not cause the kind of physical loss or damage necessary to invoke coverage.

  • May 23, 2024

    Antitrust Concerns Persist For New UN Insurance Group

    A new United Nations insurance-climate initiative demonstrates a continued interest among regulators for promoting a more sustainable industry, but experts say antitrust concerns and industry participation raise questions about its potential efficacy.

  • May 23, 2024

    4th Circ. Rules No Coverage For Mars' COVID Losses

    Candymaker Mars Inc. can't get coverage from Factory Mutual Insurance Co. for its COVID-19-related losses, the Fourth Circuit ruled Thursday, further rejecting Mars' bid to certify a question to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Expert Analysis

  • High Court Should Maintain Insurer Neutrality In Bankruptcy

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    While a recent Law360 guest article argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should endorse insurer standing in Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum, doing so would create a playground for mischief and delay, and the high court should instead uphold insurance neutrality, say attorneys at Lowenstein Sandler.

  • Spartan Arbitration Tactics Against Well-Funded Opponents

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    Like the ancient Spartans who held off a numerically superior Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae, trial attorneys and clients faced with arbitration against an opponent with a bigger war chest can take a strategic approach to create a pass to victory, say Kostas Katsiris and Benjamin Argyle at Venable.

  • Cos. Seeking Cyber Coverage Can Look To Key Policy Terms

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    As cyberattacks increasingly threaten business operations, including one last month that partially paralyzed UnitedHealth's services, expanded interpretations of several key policy terms may allow affected companies to recover under cyber business interruption policies or other coverage, even if their business hasn't completely shut down, say attorneys at Kasowitz.

  • Insurance Industry Asbestos Reserve Estimates Are Unreliable

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    Insurance regulators rely on industry self-reporting in approving insurance company reorganizations, but AM Best data reveals that actuarial and audit estimates have been setting perniciously low levels of loss reserves for asbestos liabilities and thus should be treated with deep skepticism, says Jonathan Terrell at KCIC.

  • High Court Should Endorse Insurer Standing In Bankruptcy

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    In Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum, the U.S. Supreme Court will examine bankruptcy standing doctrine as applied to insurers in mass tort cases, and should use the opportunity to eliminate spurious standing roadblocks to resolving insurer objections on their merits, says Frank Perch at White and Williams.

  • How VA Court Change Is Affecting Insurance Disputes

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    The expansion of the Virginia Court of Appeals' jurisdiction to include review of decisions involving insurance coverage stands to significantly grow the body of related case law, likely to the benefit of policyholders, as evident in the recent decision in Bowman II v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., say Michael Levine and Olivia Bushman at Hunton.

  • Ore. Insurance Ruling Opens Door To Extracontractual Claims

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    The Oregon Supreme Court's recent Moody v. Oregon Community Credit Union decision expanding an insurer's potential liability when adjusting life insurance policies exposes insurers to extracontractual tort liability, and the boundaries of this application will likely be tested through aggressive legal action, says Tessan Wess at GRSM50.

  • Strict Duty To Indemnify Ruling Bucks Recent Trend

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    A South Carolina federal court's recent decision that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to decide an insurer's duty to indemnify prior to the finding of insured liability sharply diverges from the more nuanced or multipronged standards established by multiple circuit courts, says Richard Mason at MasonADR.

  • How Merck Settlement Can Inform Cyberinsurance Approach

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    This month's settlement in Merck v. ACE spotlights how cyber exclusions have evolved since the significant decision in the case — allowing for insurance coverage despite the presence of a policy war exclusion — and where else corporate risk managers may look for coverage in case of a cyberattack, say attorneys at McGuireWoods.

  • What's In NY's Draft Guidance On AI Use In Insurance

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    Last week, the New York State Department of Financial Services released proposed guidance for insurers on the use of artificial intelligence systems and external consumer data and information sources for underwriting and pricing purposes, and these standards will likely help form the basis of an eventual nationwide insurance regulatory framework on AI, say attorneys at Sullivan & Cromwell.

  • How States Vary On The Fireman's Rule And Its Applicability

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    A recent decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals, reviving a firefighter’s suit, is illustrative of changes in the application and interpretation by state courts and legislatures of the Fireman’s Rule, which bans first responders from recovering for injuries sustained on the job, says Shea Feagin at Swift Currie.

  • Insured Takeaways From 10th Circ. Interrelated Claims Ruling

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    The Tenth Circuit's recent ruling in American Southwest Mortgage v. Continental Casualty that multiple claims arising from consecutive audit years were interrelated — and thus subject to a per claim limit — creates a concerning precedent for policyholders, so companies should negotiate relevant policy language, says Michael Stockalper at Saxe Doernberger.

  • Protections May Exist For Cos. Affected By Red Sea Attacks

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    Companies whose ships or cargo have been affected by the evolving military conflict in the Red Sea, and the countries under whose flags those ships were traveling, may be able to seek redress through legal action against Yemen or Iran under certain international law mechanisms, say attorneys at Alston & Bird.