There was nothing ambiguous in former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s ruling in AIG Property Cas. Co. v. Cosby, No. 17-1505 (1st Cir. June 7, 2018), where, sitting by designation, Justice Souter ruled that AIG Property and Casualty Co. (“AIG”) must defend Bill Cosby in suits brought by eight women alleging that Cosby defamed them after they accused him of sexual misconduct.  Cosby held two insurance policies issued by AIG:  a homeowner’s policy and a personal excess liability policy (the “umbrella policy””).  Under each policy, AIG has a duty to “pay damages [Cosby] is legally obligated to pay [due to] personal injury or property damage caused by an occurrence covered[] by this policy anywhere in the world . . . .”  Both policies define “personal injury” to include “[d]efamation” and require AIG to pay the cost of defending against suits seeking covered damages.  Both policies also contain so-called “sexual misconduct” exclusions.  The homeowner’s policy’s exclusion bars coverage for liability or defense costs “arising out of any actual, alleged[,] or threatened . . . [s]exual molestation, misconduct or harassment[,] . . . or . . . [s]exual, physical or mental abuse.”  The umbrella policy contained similar wording.  However, that policy also contained another “sexual misconduct” exclusion under the “Limited Charitable Board Directors and Trustees Liability” coverage part.  That exclusion applied more broadly to claims for damages “[a]rising out of, or in any way involving, directly or indirectly, any alleged sexual misconduct” (emphasis added).

Continue Reading 1st Cir. and Former SCOTUS Justice Find Ambiguous “Arising Out Of” Requires Cosby Defense

A New York trial court held last week in American Home Assurance Co. v. The Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J., Index No. 651096/2012 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Nov. 29, 2017) (Bransten, J.) that an insurance policy issued in 1966, to insure the construction of the World Trade Center, continues to provide insurance coverage over modern-day asbestos claims, with each claim constituting an individual occurrence.

Continue Reading New York Court Finds 51-Year-Old AIG Policy Still Covers World Trade Center Asbestos Injury Claims

From disaster preparedness and workplace safety to autonomous deliveries and performance arts, companies worldwide increasingly rely on drones as a natural extension of their business. Recent Federal Aviation Administration forecasts predict that nearly 4 million drones—over 420,000 of which will be used for commercial operations—will be operating in the U.S. by the year 2021.

Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Lawyers Syed Ahmad and Geoffrey Fehling Discuss The Importance of Insurance Coverage for Commercial Drone Operations

Dick’s Sporting Goods (“DSG”) sued a Chinese insurer, PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited Suzhou Branch (“PICC”), seeking coverage under a products liability insurance policy for personal injury claims arising out of a burst exercise ball. In Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. v. PICC Prop. & Cas. Co. Ltd. Suzhou Branch, No. 2:16-cv-01635-DSC-RCM (W.D. Pa. July 28, 2017), a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania found that an insurance policy’s forum-selection clause required DSG to assert its claims in a Chinese court and, accordingly, recommended that DSG’s coverage claims be dismissed.

Continue Reading The Ball Is In Their Court: U.S. Insured May Have To Litigate Insurance Coverage Dispute In China

Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in James G. Davis Construction Corporation v. Erie Insurance Exchange1 that a subcontractor’s insurer was obligated to defend the general contractor against allegations that it was negligent in its supervision of the subcontractor. In doing so, the court reversed the trial court’s ruling that the general contractor was covered only for claims of vicarious liability for the subcontractor’s actions.

Continue Reading Maryland Intermediate Appellate Court Finds Duty to Defend General Contractor Against Allegations of Negligence under Subcontractor’s Insurance Policy