Last week, the Second Circuit remanded environmental coverage litigation between Olin Corporation and OneBeacon based on its conclusions that (1) all sums allocation applied and (2) a prior insurance provision allowed OneBeacon the opportunity to show that prior excess insurers had made payments for the same claims, thereby reducing OneBeacon’s liability for Olin’s remediation costs at five manufacturing sites.

The district court had calculated OneBeacon’s liability on a pro rata allocation. Based on the New York Court of Appeals’ intervening decision in Viking Pump (previously covered here, the Second Circuit found that an all sums allocation should apply. The decision thus allows Olin to obtain full indemnification under OneBeacon’s policy for amounts spent to remediate the manufacturing sites, up to the limits of that policy. Because the district court had applied a pro rata allocation based on pre-Viking Pump case law, the Second Circuit remanded for the district court to recalculate damages.


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On November 9, 2016, my colleagues Syed Ahmad, Shawn Regan and Shannon Shaw, published an article in Corporate Counsel discussing a recent decision from New York’s highest court that may impact the exchange of information between policyholders and their insurers. The article addresses the impact of Ambac Assurance v. Countrywide Home Loans, in which

A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the absence of a duty to defend does not foreclose the potential for indemnity coverage under primary and umbrella liability policies. The decision in Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. et al. v. DP Engineering LLC, stems from a March 31, 2013, incident where an industrial crane collapsed at a nuclear generating facility near Russellville, Arkansas, causing significant damage and injuries, including one death.

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Two of three of Rapid-American Corp.’s excess liability insurers do not have to respond to underlying asbestos claims unless and until all underlying coverage is exhausted by the payment of claims, says Judge Bernstein of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in a June 7, 2016 decision. Rapid-American has been involved in asbestos litigation since 1974 and settled disputes with many of its underlying insurers, but an amount sufficient to reach its excess coverage policies has not yet been paid. Rapid-American argued that it was not necessary for the primary policies’ underlying limits to be exhausted by actual payment before insurers’ excess liability coverage attaches.

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On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals held that each of several excess liability insurers can be wholly responsible for the entire extent of their policyholders’ asbestos liabilities.  The Court further held that “vertical” exhaustion would apply; rejecting the insurers’ attempt to apply “horizontal” exhaustion before upper-layer policies must respond.  The decision, in In the Matter of Viking Pump, Inc. and Warren Pumps, LLC, Insurance Appeals, comes in response to two questions certified from the Delaware Supreme Court:

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As the New York Times recently reported, Bill Cosby joins the ranks of celebrity homeowners who have tapped defense coverage under their ordinary homeowner’s insurance. Others who paved the way include Roger Clemens, O.J. Simpson, and Bill Clinton. Each had “enhanced personal injury clauses” buried in the fine print of their policies that can provide a defense against lawsuits.1 Bill Cosby has such a policy, and a federal court in California recently denied American International Group’s (“A.I.G.”) request to allow A.I.G. to immediately appeal an earlier decision which held that a “sexual misconduct” exclusion in Mr. Cosby’s homeowner’s policy did not limit this coverage and that A.I.G., therefore, owed a duty to defend Mr. Cosby against a lawsuit brought in California state court by Janice Dickinson (“Dickinson action”).2 In denying A.I.G.’s request for an interim appeal, the court determined that it would be more efficient for the Ninth Circuit to “analyze all exclusions of the policy at the same time.”3

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With nearly 2000 locations, the recent outbreaks linked to Chipotle restaurants involving three strains of E. coli, norovirus and Salmonella, have had a substantial impact on the fast-food chain’s supply chain.  In a recent article appearing in Risk Management Magazine, The Chipotle Outbreaks Highlight the Risks of Supply Chain Failures, Syed comments on the