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”).
In a June 1, 2016 decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford et al. v. E. Mishan & Sons Inc. required CNA Financial Corporation to defend E. Mishan & Sons, Inc.(“Emson”) – best known for its “As Seen on TV” products –in two class actions alleging a conspiracy to trap customers into recurring credit card charges and that Emson sold private consumer information that it obtained through its product sales.
On April 11, 2016, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a trial court’s decision that Travelers must defend a class action against its policyholder, Portal Healthcare Solutions, arising out of Portal’s alleged failure to safeguard confidential medical records. In the class action, the plaintiffs contended that Portal had allowed their private medical records to be accessed on the internet for more than four months by a simple Google search of a patient’s name. Portal sought coverage under provisions in two Travelers policies that provided coverage for alleged injury arising from “electronic publication of material” that “gives unreasonable publicity to a person’s private life” or that “discloses information about a person’s private life.”
On February 11, 2016, New York’s highest court held in Selective Ins. Co. of Am. v. Cnty. of Rensselaer, 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 01001 (2016) that, in a class action alleging improper strip searches of arrestees over a four-year period, each improper strip search was a separate occurrence under the policies at issue, mandating a separate deductible per strip search. Significantly, although the issue in this case concerned application of per-occurrence deductibles, the same reasoning would apply if the issue had been over the number of applicable policy limits.