Hunton Insurance Coverage attorneys Syed Ahmad and Geoff Fehling contributed to the firm’s Recall Roundup, a monthly publication canvassing consumer product and retail recalls and related litigation. In the October issue, Ahmad and Fehling discuss two recent decisions with potentially broad implications. In Lake Country Foods, Inc. v. Houston Casualty Co., No. 18-CV-734 (E.D. Wis. filed May 11, 2018), nutritional supplement manufacturer Lake Country Foods, Inc., (“LCF”) filed an insurance coverage complaint seeking to enforce its rights under a product contamination policy issued by Houston Casualty Company (“HCC”) arising from a salmonella contamination incident. In the October Recall Roundup, Ahmad and Fehling discuss the potential impact that the insurer’s counterclaims seeking reimbursement of the approximately $1.2 million advance payment it made in response to the alleged salmonella contamination incident might have on the pending insurance recovery dispute.
In a win for policyholders, a California appellate court has held that the loss of use of property resulting from alleged negligence constitutes property damage under a liability insurance policy.
The head of Hunton Andrews Kurth’s insurance practice, Walter Andrews, was interviewed earlier this week by ABC 7 (WJLA) concerning the need for cyber insurance and the benefits that it can provide to government contractors and other businesses that are impacted by a cyber event. Andrews explains the diverse spectrum of benefits that are available through cyber insurance products, but cautions that a serious lack of uniformity exists among today’s cyber insurance products, making it crucial that policyholders carefully analyze their cyber insurance to ensure it provides the scope and amount of insurance they desire.
Hunton insurance attorneys Syed Ahmad and Patrick McDermott recently wrote a chapter on insurance law in the District of Columbia to the newest edition of the District of Columbia Practice Manual. The chapter of the Practice Manual, in its 26th edition, is available here and now covers topics including the duties to defend and indemnify, insurers’ defenses to coverage, allocation issues, bad faith, policy interpretation principles, and coverage for cyber events.
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.
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.
Hurricane Florence will affect the U.S. east coast later this week with significant damage to property and resulting business disruption. Businesses far-removed from the impact zone also will be affected as manufacturing, retail, travel and supply chains, among other industries, are disrupted by the physical damage. For those in the impact zone, knowing the fundamentals about your property insurance is critical. For those in remote locations, now is a good time to refresh yourself as well, since post-storm disruptions and losses require prompt notice to insurers and fast action to help mitigate any resulting loss. A failure on either front could jeopardize coverage.
In a victory for policyholders, and an honorable mention for Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the dispersal of concrete dust that damaged inventory stored in an aircraft part distributor’s warehouse was a pollutant, as defined by the policy, but that it also constituted “smoke” as that term was defined in the dictionary, thereby implicating an exception to the policy’s pollution exclusion. The Court then granted summary judgment for the policyholder, who had suffered a $3.2 million loss.
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.
In a recent article appearing in Florida’s Daily Business Review (available here), Hunton Insurance Recovery Practice team head, Walter Andrews, explains why phishing and whaling scams should be covered by insurance. In the article, Andrews notes that recent appellate decisions support policyholders’ reasonable expectations of coverage and reject insurers’ contentions that social engineering losses do not result directly from the use of computers. Andrews goes on to explain that should a company find itself a victim of a phishing or whaling attack, it should carefully assess its insurance coverage to determine whether it applies to the loss, including under both traditional insurance policies and specialized cyber insurance products, and not be dissuaded by their insurers’ initial denial of coverage.