The Wisconsin Supreme Court found an asbestos exclusion precluded coverage to the sellers of an apartment building accused of failing to disclose that the structure had ducts that were insulated with asbestos. Contractors renovating the building after the sale worked on the ducts, causing the release of asbestos in the building and making it uninhabitable. Ultimately, the purchasers were... Read More
A Pennsylvania State Appellate Court affirmed a ruling that an excess insurer must defend a policyholder that had exhausted its per–occurrence primary limits. The case involved a manufacturer of a failed flexible connector product in use at a gas station, which caused gasoline to leak onto neighboring properties. Applying Pennsylvania law, the court held that the state does not... Read More
The Florida Supreme Court recently held that a self-insured retention could be satisfied by a third-party payment under an indemnity agreement rather than requiring the policyholder to satisfy the retention separately with its own funds. In the underlying case, a homeowner sued a home-builder when she fell and injured herself on allegedly defective attic stairs. The home-builder’s coverage included... Read More
The Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held, under South Carolina law, that a policyholder need not prove actual damages in order to recover bad faith punitive damages. When a jury finds a “willful or reckless invasion of a legal right,” punitive damages can be presumed. The policyholder was a window and door manufacturer facing five product liability actions. ... Read More
The Georgia Supreme Court ordered a new trial after a jury verdict in favor of Ford Motor Co. in a product liability case because Ford failed to adequately disclose its insurance coverage during discovery. Ford responded to discovery requests and interrogatories about the nature and extent of its insurance coverage with objections that the discovery was both irrelevant and... Read More
A Delaware State Court, applying New York law, affirmed a jury verdict in an asbestos coverage case. In addition to agreeing with the jury that the excess policies contained defense duties, the court also left intact the jury’s verdict applying an “all sums” methodology. The court found that the policies should exhaust horizontally and therefore the policyholders must exhaust... Read More
Cow manure odors barred by Pollution Exclusion in Wisconsin, but Illinois hog manure odors covered.
An Illinois Appellate Court found that the relevant policy’s pollution exclusion did not preclude coverage for nuisance and negligence claims asserting the release of “foul and obnoxious odors” caused by the operation of a hog farm and the land application of manure from the hog... Read More
5th Cir. and TN cases find that multiple claims arose out of a single occurrence, lowering the applicable SIR’s for Hurricane Katrina and med mal claims.
The Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that St. Bernard Parish was entitled to a defense from its insurer in relation to claims by seventy property owners alleging that the Parish had wrongfully... Read More
Settlement with a primary insurer for less than full limits forever precludes access to excess coverage:
A Washington Appellate Court found that a policyholder that settles with its primary investment management insurer cannot access its excess insurance, even if it assumes the remainder of the primary’s limits. The case involved a fraudulent $240 million tax shelter. The policyholder settled with... Read More
Court minimizes “energy” aspects of the product finding no duty to defend or indemnify based on liquor liability exclusion.
The Federal Seventh Circuit Appellate Court, applying Illinois law, found that a liquor liability exclusion applied to bar defense and indemnity coverage to Phusion, the producer of the Four Loko alcohol energy drink, for various suits alleging injury and death. The... Read More