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In Wake of Disasters, Do Not Just Assume No Coverage Available for Cannabis-Related Losses

As reported extensively in the media over the past week, the cannabis industry has been hit hard by recent natural disasters. While companies doing business in this industry may face some unique challenges in purchasing insurance, and when attempting to obtain coverage for losses, insurance coverage – contrary to certain media reports – nevertheless may … Continue Reading

“Smoking Gun” Still Not Necessary To Prove Insurer Violated Pennsylvania’s Bad-Faith Statute

In Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company, No. 28 WAP 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirmed that, to prevail on a claim pursuant to Pennsylvania’s bad-faith statute, a policyholder does not have to prove that an insurance company acted with a “motive of self-interest or ill-will.”  While the Pennsylvania Superior Court had reached the same … Continue Reading

When Assessing Insurance Needs, Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries Must Consider Pennsylvania Regulations

Pennsylvania’s burgeoning medical-marijuana industry is and will be carefully regulated. When purchasing insurance, medical-marijuana dispensaries should pay careful attention to the Commonwealth’s regulations, in particular to the regulations relating specifically to dispensaries. Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana regulations are only temporary, and most of them (including the ones relating to dispensaries) will expire in 2018 Certain of those … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit pollution-exclusion opinion a cautionary tale for natural gas industry

The interpretation and application of a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy is often a fact-specific and jurisdiction-specific exercise. That said, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s recent decision, applying North Dakota law and interpreting such an exclusion in a CGL policy, should command the attention of the entire … Continue Reading

Lumbermens Liquidation: Deadline to File Liquidated Claims Extended to 2017

The deadline for submitting documentation to establish “closed” or “liquidated” claims in the Lumbermens Liquidation has been extended to November 10, 2017. To learn more about this important deadline extension, read our full alert on this topic by clicking here.… Continue Reading

The Cosby Show: The Insurance Coverage Episode

On November 8, 2016, the District Court in the District of Massachusetts held that AIG has a duty to defend Bill Cosby against pending defamation claims under both Massachusetts and California law. The court rejected AIG’s contention that the defamation claims fall within the exclusion for sexual misconduct since they were “arising out of” claimants’ … Continue Reading

Fair presentation and contracting out under the Insurance Act 2015

Following on from our previous alert on the Insurance Act 2015 and the key advantages it offers to policyholders of commercial insurance, we have prepared a second alert looking at what might constitute the knowledge of the insured for the purpose of complying with the duty to make a fair presentation, and the possibility of … Continue Reading

‘Sorry, But You Have Nothing in Common’: The New York Court of Appeals’ Recent Rejection of the ‘Common Interest Doctrine’ Outside the Context of Litigation

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, recently rejected an attempt to apply the “common interest doctrine,” an exception to the general rule that communicating privileged information to a third party waives the attorney-client privilege, to situations where separately represented parties communicate attorney-client privileged information in connection with transactions or other circumstances … Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Holds That An Insurer Need Not Show Prejudice If Denying Coverage For A Settlement Prior to Notice of Claim

On Monday, April 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of Colorado ruled that policyholders could not be indemnified for a settlement incurred before providing their insurers of notice of the claim—even if the insurer did not suffer any prejudice from lack of notice. In a 4-3 decision in Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co., No. … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Coverage Under General Liability Policy for Claim Alleging Failure to Protect Data

In an encouraging development for insureds, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a health care company’s general liability insurer was required to defend the company against claims stemming from an alleged failure to secure electronic medical records. In The Travelers Indemnity Co. of America v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, L.L.C., … Continue Reading

Companies can insure against cyber ransom

National Public Radio and other news outlets are reporting that a Los Angeles-area hospital recently paid a $17,000 ransom (in the form of 40 bitcoins) to hackers to unencrypt its computer networks, which had been held hostage after “ransomware” was introduced into the hospital’s network. Ransomware is a form of malicious software, or “malware,” that encrypts … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage for Statutory Damages Under Professional Liability Policies

Increasingly, companies are being named as defendants in putative class actions, like those brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act, involving violations of statutes that contain provisions mandating certain damages or ranges of damages. One question raised is whether “statutory damages” are uncovered “fines” or “penalties,” or whether they are … Continue Reading

365 Days Later: Lessons Learned from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

One year ago today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the first two of four important insurance-coverage law opinions that it would hand down in 2014 and 2015. Those four decisions – which address a number of topics including insurer bad faith, trigger of coverage, policy exclusions, and settlements and reservations of rights – significantly impacted … Continue Reading

Stadium Owners Watching Closely To See if Insurer Fumbles Reggie Bush Claim

San Francisco 49ers running back Reggie Bush reportedly intends to sue the city of St. Louis after slipping on a concrete surface behind the St. Louis Rams’ bench during a recent game, injuring his knee and ending his season. If a lawsuit is brought, St. Louis (which owns the Rams’ stadium where the injury occurred) … Continue Reading

Eastern District of New York ultimately arrives at right outcome when interpreting “Employer’s Liability” exclusion in CGL policy

In Hastings Development, LLC v. Evanston Insurance Company, No. 14-cv-6203 (ADS)(AKT) (Oct. 30, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York correctly determined that an “Employer’s Liability” exclusion in a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy only applied and precluded coverage when an insured is sued by its own employee(s) and not … Continue Reading

PA Policyholders May Find Road Blocks In Obtaining Coverage For Misappropriation of Advertising Ideas under CGL Policies

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for Pennsylvania policyholders to obtain coverage for the misappropriation of advertising ideas under standard commercial general liability policies. In The Hanover Insurance Company v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., No. 14-3705 (Oct. 23, 2015), the Third Circuit … Continue Reading

Beware of Good Intentions: Insurer Cannot Escape Duty to Defend by Interpleading Policy Limits That Were Not Subject to Competing Claims

On October 6, 2015, the United States District Court, Northern District of California held that an insurer breached its duty to defend by interpleading remaining policy limits and ceasing its defense of its insured.  Doublevision Entertainment, LLC v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Company, N.D. Cal., No. C 14-02848 WHA. Despite language in the policy stating that … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds That Terms of Insurance Policy Renewal ‘Must be the Same or Nearly the Same as the Initial Contract’

Recently, resolving an insurance-coverage dispute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that “for a contract to be considered a renewal, it must contain the same, or nearly the same, terms as the original contract.”  The court’s precedential ruling in Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. F&M Equipment, Ltd., No.14-1897 (Oct.15, 2015), which is … Continue Reading

Insurers Beware: Respond Promptly or Lose the Right to Control the Defense

The tables may be turning. Insurers often seek to avoid their coverage obligations by invoking time limitations in their policies for providing claim notifications. On the other hand, these same insurers routinely take their sweet time in responding to claims, contending that they need time to “investigate” even before making a decision whether or not to … Continue Reading

If not “determinative,” then at least compelling: Other, specific exclusionary language available on market undermines application of pollution exclusion

Recently, in a non-precedential order, an Illinois appellate court correctly held that a “Pollution and Health Hazard Exclusion” in a commercial general liability policy did not preclude coverage for mold-related bodily injury claims. See In re Liquidation of Legion Indem. Co., 2014 IL App (1st) 140452-U (Sept. 30, 2015) (applying Texas law). That court held, … Continue Reading

Host of insurance-coverage questions tied to Legionnaires’ disease

A recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York has, according to published news reports, been responsible for the death of 12 people. According to those same reports, more than 100 other people have become ill as a result of the outbreak, which has been traced to a rooftop cooling tower(s). For better or worse, … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Politsopoulos represents victory for policyholders across Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued a long-awaited decision in Mutual Benefit Insurance Company v. Politsopoulos, No. J-85-2014, delivering the insured in that case, and policyholders across Pennsylvania, a big victory. As explained more fully in Reed Smith’s recent Client Alert – “’The” insured versus “any” insured: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court limits the application of … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s misapplication of the pollution exclusion and disregard for policyholders’ business and purpose in purchasing insurance

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two opinions in which it held that pollution exclusions barred coverage for third-party claims resulting from alleged contamination of water due to the seepage of cow manure and septage, respectively. As addressed in Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson's dissents to the two decisions, the majority's opinions in both cases - Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. v. Falk, Nos. 2013AP691, 2013AP776, 2014 WL 7375656 (Wis. Dec. 30, 2014), and Preisler v. General Casualty Insurance Co., No. 2012AP2521, 2014 WL 7373070 (Wis. Dec. 30, 2014) - were faulty for a number of reasons.… Continue Reading
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