Hunton commercial litigators and insurance recovery lawyers teamed up to address the intricacies of snap removal – a strategy being employed by insurers and other litigants with increasing frequency.  The technique is designed to defeat the forum-defendant rule that permits a plaintiff to bring its case in state court when suing a defendant in the defendant’s own home state.  However, some courts to confront this maneuver have rejected its use, disallowing a savvy defendant to effect an end-run on the forum-defendant rule by promptly removing a state court lawsuit before an in-state defendant is “properly joined and served.”  A recent Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article written by Christopher Cunio, Nicholas Stelakis and Veronica Adams discusses the tension that is emerging on this issue and how courts have addressed it.
Continue Reading Oh Snap! Snap Removal is Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Recently, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals handed down a victory for policyholders when it affirmed a Circuit Court’s order compelling an insurer to produce its underwriting manual in a breach of contract action. In People’s Trust Insurance Co. v. Foster, No. 1D21-845 (Fla. 1st DCA Jan. 26, 2022), the policyholder, Mr. Foster, filed a breach of contract claim against his insurer, People’s Trust, after People’s Trust failed to pay his insurance claim for damage caused to Mr. Foster’s home due to a leaking water pipe. People’s Trust denied Foster’s claim because “Foster’s pipe damage predated the policy’s inception.”
Continue Reading Florida Appellate Courts Holds Underwriting Manuals are Discoverable in Breach of Contract Case

A federal court in New York denied an insurer’s attempt to dismiss a coverage dispute, rejecting the insurer’s contention that the individual insured directors were “necessary” parties. The insurer argued that, because the outcome of the coverage suit could jeopardize the directors’ indemnity and thereby implicate the D&O policy’s Side A coverage for non-indemnified losses, the directors had an indispensable interest in the litigation. The court disagreed.

The coverage dispute in LRN Corp. v. Markel Insurance Co., 1:20-cv-08431 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2021), arose from an underlying lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery Court brought by an LRN shareholder against the company and three of its directors. The plaintiff in the underlying lawsuit alleged that a self-tender offer by LRN to acquire shares of LRN’s common stock was coercive and part of a scheme that was in part orchestrated by the LRN’s directors. LRN, though dismissed from the underlying lawsuit, continued to pay legal fees for the named directors.
Continue Reading Insured Directors Not “Necessary” for Complete Adjudication of Insurer’s Coverage Obligations

A Delaware Superior Court judge recently upheld a policyholder’s preferred forum in Delaware, denying five insurers’ motion to dismiss or stay the Delaware coverage action filed after the insurers had filed suit preemptively in Texas. The court in CVR Refining, LP v. XL Specialty Insurance Co., No. N21C-01-260 EMD CCLD, 2021 WL 3523925 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 11, 2021), held that, although the insurers (XL Specialty, Twin City Fire, Allianz Global Risks US, Argonaut, and Allied World) filed suit three days before the insureds, both suits were filed “contemporaneously” under Delaware law and that the insurers had failed to demonstrate any “overwhelming hardship” necessary to dismiss the case. The court also found that, since the insurers were all licensed to do business in Delaware, they could not show overwhelming hardship. Thus, the policyholder’s preference to litigate its insurance claims in Delaware must stand.
Continue Reading Delaware Court Upholds Policyholder’s Choice of Forum, Denies Insurers’ “First-Filed” Argument Following Race to the Courthouse

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Texas denied Factory Mutual’s Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the plaintiffs adequately alleged that the presence of COVID-19 on their property caused covered physical loss or damage in the case of Cinemark Holdings, Inc. v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 4:21-CV-00011 (E.D. Tex. May 5, 2021). This is the third COVID-19-related business interruption decision from Judge Amos Mazzant since March, but the first in favor of a policyholder. Taken together, the three decisions have two key takeaways and provide a roadmap for policyholders in all jurisdictions.

Continue Reading Allegations That COVID-19 Was Physically Present and Altered Property are Sufficient to Sustain COVID-19 Business Interruption Suit

Navigating discovery in coverage and bad faith suits can often feel daunting to young associates. This is especially true given that the discoverability of common insurance materials, such as claim files, underwriting files, and reserve information, often varies by jurisdiction. Hunton Andrews Kurth attorneys Andrea DeField and Adriana Perez authored an article, published in the

Last week, a Georgia federal jury popped a motor carrier liability insurer and its insured with a $21 million verdict in a wrongful death suit. According to the Complaint, the insured driver lost control of his tractor-trailer while driving on Georgia Highway 369. As a result, the trailer disconnected and overturned, injuring a pedestrian walking along the highway’s shoulder. The pedestrian eventually succumbed to his injuries, and his estate filed suit against the driver and the driver’s insurer under Georgia’s Direct Action Statute, which allows plaintiffs to name motor carrier insurers as defendants along with their insureds.

Continue Reading Georgia Jury Awards $21M against Trucking Insurer and its Insured in Pedestrian Death

A Maryland federal court recently awarded summary judgment to National Ink and Stitch, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack.  We discussed the significance of the decision in a January 27 blog post that can be found here.

Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Partners Andrews and Levine Comment to Law360 and Business Insurance on Recent Ransomware Coverage Win for National Ink

A Maryland federal court awarded summary judgment last week to policyholder National Ink in National Ink and Stitch, LLC v. State Auto Property And Casualty Insurance Company, finding coverage for a cyber-attack under a non-cyber insurance policy after the insured’s server and networked computer system were damaged as a result of a ransomware attack.  This is significant because it demonstrates that insureds can obtain insurance coverage for cyber-attacks even if they do not have a specific cyber insurance policy.

Continue Reading Maryland Court Finds Coverage For Lost Data And Slow Computers After Ransomware Attack

When facing a crisis, such as product recall or a cyber attack, companies routinely engage third-party consultants. When doing so, there are potential privilege issues involved. Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance attorneys Syed Ahmad and Adriana A. Perez discuss these privilege issues in an article published by Westlaw. The full article is available here. In