Hunton insurance recovery partner Syed Ahmad was recently asked by Insurance Law360 to opine concerning key insurance issues that are pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and ripe for decision this fall. In the article, which can be found here, Ahmad notes with respect to the case of Secura Insurance v. Ray Duerr Logging LLC, case number 2016AP299, concerning whether damage tied to a wildfire constitutes one or multiple occurrences for coverage purposes, the Court of Appeals did a good job of focusing on the particulars of the claim at hand and not superficially relying on abstract labels like “cause test” or “effects test,” that are not all that illuminating, explaining that what one party characterizes as the “cause” of a loss can often be what another party deems to be “effect” resulting in the loss.
Ahmad also commented on West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ixthus Medical Supply Inc. et al., case number 2017AP909, concerning whether wholesaler Ixthus Medical Supply Inc. is owed a defense in a trademark infringement and unfair competition suit filed by Abbott Laboratories, despite a common “intentional acts” exclusion in its insurance policy. There, Ahmad explains that “the [Court of Appeals’] analysis properly focused on the possibility that the claims were not necessarily based on the kind of intentional conduct that the exclusion addressed,” Ahmad said. “The duty to defend is exceedingly broad, and this case represents a good example of the insurer denying coverage without taking into account all of the different ways liability can be established.”