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.[1]

Continue Reading Another (Insurer) Bites The Dust: Virginia District Court Rejects Narrow Reading of Pollution Exclusion

With the wave of wage and hour litigation showing no signs of receding, employers often have questions about whether they should consider insurance coverage for these claims. In the first of this two-part interview, Hunton & Williams partners Emily Burkhardt Vicente and Walter Andrews discuss what employers need to understand about insurance coverage for state and federal wage and hour claims.  View the 5-minute video here.

Corporate policyholders should carefully consider insurance coverage implications when structuring mergers, acquisitions, or other transactions that may impact available insurance assets. A New Jersey federal court recently granted summary judgment for a surviving bank asserting coverage rights under a D&O policy issued to an entity that dissolved in a statutory merger, based in part on the wording of the parties’ merger agreement structuring the transaction in accordance with the New Jersey Business Corporation Act (“NJBCA”).

Continue Reading Insurer Must Pay Post-Merger Defense Costs Under Merged Entity’s D&O Policy

Does the term “wrongful act” always require that the conduct at issue be “wrongful”? In at least one D&O insurance policy, the answer may not be as clear as it seems. A federal district court in Texas recently denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss a company’s coverage claim for nearly $5 million in costs the company incurred defending a statutory appraisal lawsuit filed by disgruntled shareholders, citing the D&O policy’s “terribly” written definition of “wrongful act,” which may have been written so broadly that it provides coverage for “acts” that are not actually “wrongful.”

Continue Reading Imprecise Policy Wording Prevents Dismissal of D&O Coverage Suit For Statutory Appraisal Claims

A panel of the California Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion (Stein v. Axis Ins. Co., (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 8, 2017, No. B265069) 2017 WL 914623), issued March 8, 2017, held that a policy exclusion requiring “final adjudication” did not support a refusal to pay the policyholder’s defense costs by Houston Casualty Company (HCC) following a trial court’s entry of judgment where the policyholder still could pursue appeal.

Continue Reading D&O Policy’s “Final Adjudication” Provision Requires More Than A Trial Court Judgment

As posted earlier today on Hunton & Williams’ Retail and Privacy blogs, and as reported in Law360, Hunton & Williams announces the formation of a cross-disciplinary legal team dedicated to guiding companies through the minefield of regulatory and cyber-related risks associated with high-stakes corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Continue Reading Hunton & Williams Launches M&A Privacy And Security Initiative

Hunton & Williams insurance partner, Syed Ahmad, tells Law360 about trends in D&O liability insurance that are likely to grab headlines in 2017, including the impact of privacy and cyber breaches on corporate executives and the continued fallout from 2015’s “Yates Memo,” emphasizing an increase in government prosecution of individual corporate wrongdoers and incentivizing companies to cooperate in cases against their executives.  A link to the article featuring Syed’s comments can be found here.

On November 4, Michael Levine and Matthew McLellan provided commentary for Westlaw about the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Apache Corp. v. Great American Insurance Co., No. 15-20499, 2016 WL 6090901 (5th Cir. Oct. 18, 2016), on which Michael Levine had previously written a blog post. In the Westlaw Journal: Computer and Internet, Mike and Matt discussed a frustrating gap in coverage for “computer fraud” that may be found in some crime policies. They encourage policyholders to review their legacy and cyber policies to ensure that complex cyber risks are actually covered. Read their commentary and the associated article here

On October 27, 2016, my colleague, Michael S. Levine, was quoted in Business Insurance concerning the recent decision in Camp’s Grocery Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., which he and I discussed on October 26, 2016 on the Hunton & Williams LLP Insurance Recovery Blog.  In Camp’s, the court refused to find coverage under legacy property and liability policies for third-party liabilities arising from the hacking of a point-of-sale network and the resulting breach of bank card and other data.  Mike’s comments on the risk of relying on legacy coverage for cyber protection and the increasing need to identify gaps between forms that purport to address potential cyber liabilities. If you have questions about the case, or about your cyber coverage, contact Mike or any member of our or Insurance Coverage Counseling and Litigation team for more information.