A California federal court found coverage under AIG’s general liability policy for the defense and indemnity of email scanning suits against Yahoo!. Those suits generally alleged that Yahoo! profited off of scanning its users’ emails. Because the allegations gave rise to the possibility that Yahoo! disclosed private content to a third party, the court found that the suit potentially fell within the coverage for “oral or written publication, in any manner, of material that violates a person’s right of privacy.” Thus, AIG’s duty to defend was triggered.

The court also found that AIG had a duty to indemnify for Yahoo!’s settlement in the email scanning suits. One key question was whether the settlement amount paid as attorneys’ fees to plaintiff’s counsel constituted damages under the policy. The court concluded that they were, based on the fact that the plaintiffs sought attorneys’ fees under a statute and on its finding that Yahoo! would reasonably expect that those fees would qualify as damages.

Yahoo! had also alleged that AIG acted in bad faith in its claims handling because AIG had denied coverage for the first two lawsuits and then ultimately acknowledged such an obligation with respect to the third lawsuit and in so doing had cited exclusions that were not a part of the policy. The court found that issue was one for a jury to decide.

This decision is another example that valuable cyber coverage for defense and indemnification may be available under general liability policies. Of course, whether there is coverage will depend on the particulars of the claim and the insurance policy.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently construed the undefined term “advertising idea” in a case of first impression in the Commonwealth, holding that a footwear company’s insurers must provide a defense against an underlying claim alleging unfair use of a former Olympian’s name to promote a line of running shoes.

Continue Reading Massachusetts High Court Says Use of Olympian’s Name Is Covered “Advertising Idea,” Not An Excluded IP Violation

North Dakota’s highest court delivered a blow to Mid-Continent Casualty Company in Borsheim Builders Supply, Inc. v. Manger Insurance Co., ruling that a contract between a policyholder and general contractor fit the insured contract exception of contractual liability.

Continue Reading North Dakota Supreme Court Clarifies Breadth of Contractual Liability Coverage

Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance practice head, Walter Andrews, recently commented to the Global Data Review regarding the infirmities underlying an Orlando, Florida federal district court’s ruling that an insurer does not have to defend its insured for damage caused by a third-party data breach.

Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Head Comments On Hotel Data Breach Coverage Dispute

An Alabama state court recently ruled that Protective Life Insurance wrongly denied California-based Apex Parks Group’s claim for unpaid key person death benefits. Apex, an amusement park company, insured its founder and CEO Alexander “Al” Weber Jr., who died unexpectedly in November 2016 while on vacation.  Eight months earlier, Apex purchased “key person” insurance coverage from Protective.  According to the complaint, Protective’s medical examiner had received Mr. Weber’s medical history prior to issuing the policy.

Continue Reading Alabama Jury Finds Policyholder Entitled To $10M Under “Key Person” Policy

A District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts recently ruled that Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Co. breached its duty to defend its insured in a lawsuit brought by Plaistow Project, LLC, after a family owned laundromat leaked chemicals onto Plaistow Project’s property. Plaistow Project, LLC v. ACE Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., No. 16-CV-11385-IT, 2018 WL 4357480, (D. Mass. Sept. 13, 2018). Plaistow Project sued State Line Laundry Services in state court, and ACE denied coverage under the pollution exclusion in State Line Laundry’s insurance policy. Plaistow Project then settled with State Line Laundry. Under the settlement terms, Plaistow Project was assigned State Line Laundry’s rights against ACE.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Judge Holds That Insurer Breached Its Duty To Defend Lawsuit After Chemical Spill

Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance recovery associate, Andrea (Andi) DeField, was recently named among the 40 outstanding lawyers under the age of 40 in South Florida.  Andi has wasted no time using her status to help raise awareness and money for cystic fibrosis research.

On September 27, Andi attended the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 40 Under 40 kickoff, an event held annually for the past 10 years to honor the best and brightest lawyers in the South Florida community while raising much-needed funds to support the Foundation’s mission.  The awards gala will be held on November 10, 2018. Andi is now part of a dedicated committee comprised of present and former honorees and other leaders in the legal industry.  Together, Andi and her colleagues hope to raise the funds necessary to someday eradicate cystic fibrosis.

Andi’s fundraising website can be found here.  Please consider helping Andi support this very worthwhile cause.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (“DLT”), is already proving to be a game-changer for businesses globally and across sectors. But is it secure? And can insurance help protect against risks and, thus, help advance the development of this technology? Continue Reading Insuring the Blockchain

In a victory for policyholders, a New York trial court rejected insurers’ summary judgment arguments, ruling that an insurer must establish a common “fact, circumstance, situation, transaction or event” underlying an investigation before it can rely on a prior and pending litigation and investigation (“PPLI”) exclusion based on that earlier investigation. The court further ruled that the insurer cannot base its coverage denial on a common “fact, circumstance, situation, transaction or event” learned during the investigation.

Continue Reading New York Court Rejects Insurers’ Use of Prior/Pending Investigation Exclusion; Requires Factual Predicate to Exist Before the Prior Investigation and not Arise From It

Hurricane Florence has yet to make landfall, but the storm has already wreaked havoc on this weekend’s college football schedule, concerts, and other events. West Virginia and NC State postponed their Saturday game indefinitely.  Rescheduling remains to be seen.  UCF and North Carolina cancelled their game outright, as did East Carolina and Virginia Tech.  Other teams relocated their games or changed dates and start times, with many offering free tickets to fans who can accommodate the last-minute changes.  The NFL also is keeping a close eye on the situation, as the storm could impact Sunday’s game between the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts at FedEx Field.  Meanwhile, non-sporting events also have been cancelled, including Alan Jackson’s concert at the North Charleston Coliseum, the Zac Brown Band’s concerts in Charlotte and Raleigh, and J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival, which alone will require the refunding of some 30,000 tickets.

Continue Reading Uncertainty About Hurricane Florence’s Impact Zone Has Caused Widespread Event Cancellations. Insurance May Cover The Financial Loss