An Iowa federal court recently ruled that an insurer must pay its policyholder’s defense costs from the date of installation of the allegedly faulty product, even though the underlying suits failed to allege when damage purportedly occurred. The ruling opens the door under each of the policyholder’s successive liability policies from 2000 to 2008, allowing the policyholder to recover millions of dollars in defense costs.
Last week, Golden Bear Insurance Company became the first admitted insurer approved by the California Department of Insurance to provide insurance coverage for marijuana companies. Golden Bear will now begin offering first- and third-party insurance coverage specifically targeting marijuana companies in the state.
In a recent Client Alert, Hunton & Williams insurance attorneys Lorelie Masters, Michael Levine, and Geoffrey Fehling discuss the importance of reviewing historical liability insurance policies and the potential benefit these policies can have on minimizing exposure to environmental hazards. In Cooper Industries, LLC v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al., No. L-9284-11 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. Oct. 16, 2017), a New Jersey trial court held that an electrical products manufacturer was entitled to coverage rights under commercial general liability policies issued to a predecessor company for environmental remediation costs stemming from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup of a 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River in New Jersey.
A Missouri appellate panel recently upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of the insured that an “all-sums” allocation would apply to determining exhaustion of the insured’s liability insurance coverage and, in so holding, rejected the pro-rata, proportional allocation sought by the insurers. The appellate panel further held that coverage could be exhausted vertically.
Earlier this month, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed coverage for injuries for carbon monoxide, holding that an insurer acted in bad faith when it improperly relied on an absolute pollution exclusion to deny coverage for a lawsuit involving alleged release of carbon monoxide gas inside a home.
This past Monday, August 14, a federal magistrate judge explained to an insurer that “you can’t always get what you want” when he denied the carrier’s motion to dismiss claims arising from a July 4, 2015 Rolling Stones concert, concluding that the facts in the complaint allege a properly pled claim.
A Colorado district court held last week that a general liability insurer must defend a product disparagement claim despite a broadly-worded intellectual property exclusion in the policy. The court reached its ruling even though the alleged disparagement involved representations about patent infringement. In so holding, the court rejected the insurer’s attempt to deny coverage where the “crux of the dispute” fell within the policy’s personal injury coverage part and the insurer had failed to show that the underlying allegations “unequivocally” fell within the ambiguously worded exclusion.
Last week, my partner, Syed Ahmad, commented on some of the biggest insurance rulings of the year in a Law360 feature article that can be found here. Among those decisions is USAA Texas Lloyd’s Co. v. Menchaca, where the Texas Supreme Court ruled that that policyholders may recover for bad faith in the absence of coverage under their policy. Ahmad also discussed the Connecticut appeals court decision in R.T. Vanderbilt Co., Inc. v. Hartford Acc. And Indem. Co., and its ruling that insurers may not force policyholders to act as an insurer during policy periods in which insurance was not available. Finally, Ahmad discussed the Third Circuit’s ruling in General Refractories Co. v. First State Insurance Co., where the court gave a broad meaning to the phrase “arising out of” such that an exclusion for claims arising out of asbestos was to be read more broadly than referring only to claims from exposure to asbestos in its raw mineral form. Significantly, however, the broad interpretation pertained only to the phrase “arising out of” and not the operative term “asbestos.”
Hunton & Williams’ Insurance Coverage lawyers Syed Ahmad, Andrea DeField and Jennifer White were featured in the Firm’s Recall Roundup, where they discuss recent noteworthy decisions on insurance coverage for product recalls:
Attorneys Syed Ahmad and Jennifer White contributed to the Hunton Retail Law Resource’s “Recall Roundup” for the month of March with a discussion a new cases in the world of recall-related insurance coverage litigation, including a new case filed by a policyholder against its insurance broker alleging that the broker was liable for misrepresentations in the electronic application that led the insurer to rescind coverage. Check out the blog post here.