Effective April 1, 2022, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has promoted insurance recovery lawyer Geoff Fehling, and 13 other attorneys, to partner. “Geoff hit the ground running from day one and quickly established himself as a valuable member of our practice and firm,” said outgoing insurance recovery practice head Walter Andrews. Andrews added, “Geoff’s promotion is well-deserved and a direct result of his hard work, client victories, and dedication to the firm.” “Geoff has become a go-to authority for clients and colleagues alike, especially in the area of directors and officers insurance and management liability issues, and will continue to build that practice out of our Boston office,” said partner and incoming practice head Syed Ahmad, adding “He works tirelessly to find creative solutions to complex insurance problems and has achieved tremendous results for our clients, in addition to significant efforts mentoring and marketing himself and the firm. I am proud to call him my partner.”

While companies develop their return-to-office policies or decide to keep employees working remotely, they should be mindful of potential liability under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”) in the event of future layoffs. A recent opinion from the Eastern District of Virginia provides a timely alert for companies to review their employment practices liability (“EPL”) coverage and understand their risk of future exposures. The court held that remote employees alleging violations under the WARN Act—a statute requiring sixty days’ notice before a “mass layoff” at a “single site of employment”—could receive class certification, despite the fact that class members physically worked at different locations. EPL policies can effectively mitigate the related risk by covering the cost of litigation, as well as the company’s resulting liability. Continue Reading Employers Be WARNed: Remote Employees Receive Class Certification in Suit for Wrongful Termination

As the use of captive insurance companies continues to grow, one issue businesses may face is whether to incorporate cells within a captive cell program. In a recent article in Business Law Today, Hunton attorneys Lorie Masters, Patrick McDermott, and Latosha Ellis address some of the relevant considerations.

With the circumstances in Ukraine intensifying and companies either shutting down or suspending operations in the region, the question arises about whether the sparingly used war exclusion will become more relevant as policyholders seek to recover losses. Economic effects of the conflict are spreading. Some companies may have to close operations entirely, some partially, and others may have their supply chains severely disrupted. The US government has warned companies to protect themselves against cyberattacks. The impact on policyholders, however, may take different forms, potentially implicating their business interruption, contingent business interruption, cyber, shipping and cargo, and political risk insurance coverages. Other coverages could be implicated as well.

Continue Reading The War Exclusion Will Be a Leading Issue in the Months and Years Ahead

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

Most insurance policies include a period of limitation provision that limits how long policyholders have to sue their insurers for coverage under the policy.  But those periods of limitation can be traps for the unwary.  As with many insurance provisions, different states construe the same language differently.  States not only start the clock at different times, some states pause the clock while the insurer considers whether it will provide coverage.

Continue Reading Running Out the Clock: The Period of Limitation in COVID-19 Insurance Lawsuits May Soon Come to an End

In 1938, a DuPont chemist’s experiment yielded not—as he first thought—a lumpen, waxy mistake, but a new chemical with remarkable properties: heat-resistance, chemical stability, and low surface friction. Decades of continuing experimentation yielded a class of chemicals with the capacity to make non-stick, water-resistant coatings. In time, these chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), would become a major component in thousands of consumer goods: food packaging, non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, paint, stain-resistant carpets and furniture, and firefighting foams. The discovery of the toxicity of these remarkable chemicals lagged behind the widespread adoption, but eventually yielded a moniker that reflected PFAS’s stability and longevity: “Forever Chemicals.”

Continue Reading PFAS: From Happy Mistake to Ubiquity to Toxic Liability (But is there coverage?)

Recently, the Ninth Circuit dealt with a case involving a scenario that is becoming all too common. In Ernst & Haas Mgmt. Co., Inc. v. Hiscox, Inc., 23 F.4th 1195 (9th Cir. 2022), a property management company’s accounts payable clerk received several e-mails from her supervisor instructing her to pay some invoices. Unbeknownst to the clerk, these e-mails did not originate with her supervisor, but were actually part of a fraudulent scheme to elicit fraudulent bank transfers. The clerk paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars in “invoices” before becoming suspicious but, by then, it was too late and the damage was done.

Continue Reading A Win for Policyholders Who Are Victims of Fraudulent Bank Transfer Schemes

In this final post in the Blog’s Landmark Montana Supreme Court Decision Series, we discuss the court’s ruling on the known loss doctrine and its interpretation of “occurrence” in National Indemnity Co. v. State, 499 P.3d 516 (Mont. 2021). Continue Reading Landmark Montana Supreme Court Decision Series: Known Loss Doctrine & Interpretation of “Occurrence”

Policyholders must be mindful of expansive causation language in policy exclusions that could pose significant—and sometimes unforeseen—hurdles to obtaining coverage for D&O claims. In TriPacific Capital Advisors, LLC v. Federal Insurance Co., a California federal court recently ruled that a D&O insurer had no duty to defend an investment firm’s $8.5 million employment suit because coverage was barred by the policy’s broad contract exclusion, which applied not only to breach of contract claims but also any claims “arising from” contractual liability owed by the company.

Continue Reading Broad Contract Exclusion Dooms Investment Firm’s $8.5 Million D&O Claim