Harvard College and Zurich American Insurance Company have been embroiled in an insurance coverage dispute for over a year regarding Zurich’s obligation to cover Harvard’s hefty defense bills incurred defending its affirmative action admissions policy, which is presently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, the world-renowned university told a District of Massachusetts court that it should deny Zurich’s motion for summary judgment because questions of fact remain unresolved. Harvard also accused Zurich of inappropriate discovery gamesmanship by withholding documents and information. 
Continue Reading Harvard Declares Class is in Session: Tells Court Zurich’s Motion for Summary Judgment Must Be Denied and Accuses Zurich of Playing Games

A Texas jury has found that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the property of Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) caused “physical loss or damage” and resulting economic loss, triggering coverage under BCM’s commercial property insurance program. The jury awarded BCM over $48 million following a three-day trial; the award consisted of $42.8 million in business interruption, $3.3 million in extra expense, and $2.3 million in damage to research projects.
Continue Reading Texas Jury Finds Presence of SARS-CoV-2 Virus Causes “Physical Loss or Damage” to Property, Awards Over $48 Million to Baylor College of Medicine

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP partner Syed Ahmad was quoted on July 20 in a Law360 article titled “R&W Insurance Claim Frequency Expected To Normalize.”  The article discussed the recent reduction in R&W claims and industry experts’ expectations that claim frequency will return to normal levels this year.  Mr. Ahmad commented on the challenges

Partner, Andrea DeField, and counsel, Latosha Ellis, were each recently awarded “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers” honors by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. The award honors 40 of the nation’s most promising lawyers under the age of 40 or who have been licensed for 10 years or less. Recipients demonstrate

In what is an unfortunate sign of the times, Springpoint Senior Living, Inc. recently sued its insurers in New Jersey federal court claiming they abruptly stopped covering Springpoint’s defense costs after doing so for nearly a decade.  A copy of the complaint can be found here. Springpoint’s allegations are emblematic of a growing trend among insurers taking drastic measures to avoid coverage, which is no doubt in response to the tightening economic conditions and looming recession around the globe. 
Continue Reading A Sign of the Times: Policyholder Forced to Sue Insurers to Resume Payment of Defense Costs

NL Industries recently prevailed against its commercial general liability insurers in the New York Appellate Division in a noteworthy case regarding the meaning of “expected or intended” injury and the meaning of “damages” in a liability insurance policy. In Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. NL Industries, Inc., No. 2021-00241, 2022 WL 867910 (N.Y. App. Div. Mar. 24, 2022) (“NL Indus. II”), the Appellate Division held that exclusions for expected or intended injury required a finding that NL actually expected or intended the resulting harm; not merely have knowledge of an increased risk of harm. In addition, the court held that the funding of an abatement fund designed to prevent future harm amounted to “damages” in the context of a liability policy because the fund has a compensatory effect. NL Industries II is a reminder to insurers and policyholders alike that coverage is construed liberally and exclusions are construed narrowly towards maximizing coverage. 
Continue Reading New York Court Narrowly Interprets “Expected or Intended Injury” Exclusion in Win for Policyholder

An amended version of the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act recently went into effect in New York State. This law applies to all civil lawsuits filed in New York State Court on or after December 31, 2021. The first disclosures required by the law will be due soon and it is important for defendants to be aware of their new obligations.
Continue Reading New York’s New Insurance Disclosure Law Goes Into Effect

A commentator recently summed up the risk of ransomware attack in 2022: “we’re all screwed.” True enough. But that’s all the more reason to prepare right now. After all, the only thing worse than a ransomware attack is not having adequate insurance coverage when it occurs. The time to prepare is now.
Continue Reading As Ransomware Proliferates, Insurance Can Help

After any merger or acquisition, disputes can arise regarding the accuracy of representations and warranties made by the seller to the buyer. In most transactions today, the buyer obtains representation and warranty insurance to cover the buyer for losses resulting from the seller’s breach of a representation or warranty. When an R&W policy provides coverage, a seller may attempt to offset its obligations to the buyer by amounts paid by the R&W insurer. Likewise, the R&W insurer may attempt offset against the damages paid by the seller to the buyer. But other legal and equitable concepts may prevent them from doing so.

In an article recently published by the Insurance Coverage Law Center, my colleagues Syed Ahmad, Patrick McDermott, and Adriana Perez explore whether such offsets are available to sellers and R&W insurers.
Continue Reading Representation and Warranty Insurance and the Collateral Source Rule

The Indiana Supreme Court recently reversed a trial court’s finding and an affirming intermediate appellate court opinion regarding the interpretation of a policy providing coverage for cyber-crime. In G&G Oil Co. of Indiana, Inc. v. Continental Western Insurance Co., the state high court rejected the lower courts’ narrow interpretation of coverage and impractical view on causation. A copy of the decision can be found here.

Continue Reading Indiana Supreme Court Decrypts Computer Crime Coverage