Insurer Required to Pay Policyholder Attorneys’ Fees Despite Policyholder Misrepresentations

The Florida Third District Court of Appeal found that an insurer was required to pay attorney fees that homeowners incurred during a coverage dispute despite a finding that the policyholders committed fraud. The Third District affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that the insurer was required to pay the policyholders’ attorneys’ fees because the insurer lost its counter-claim against the policyholders. The court found that there was no exception for fraud.

In Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Bascuas, (Third District Court of Appeal, Florida, …

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Rental Property Fire Presents a Review of Residential Insurance Policies in Michigan

On September 29, 2015, the Michigan Court of Appeals  affirmed a directed verdict granted to an insurance agent, Jervis-Fehtke (Jervis), on a professional negligence claim brought by a property owner, Williams, as a result of damage to Williams’ rental property caused by fire.

After a gas explosion destroyed Williams rental property, Williams submitted a claim to her insurer, Auto-Owners Insurance Company (Auto Owner). Auto-Owners denied the claim because Williams’ policy did not cover losses caused by  explosions originating from outside of the property. Williams, appearing …

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PA High Court Gives Green Light to Assignment of Bad Faith Claims

In Allstate Prop. & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 3309 (Pa. Dec. 15, 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in deciding a certified question from the Third Circuit, ruled that statutory bad faith claims under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371 are assignable.

The underlying dispute arose from a motor vehicle collision involving an intoxicated driver, Zierle, who was insured by Allstate.  After settlement attempts failed, Wolfe, the tort claimant, sued Zierle for compensatory and punitive damages.  Following a …

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Calculation of Defense Contribution Not Reliant On Same Layer of Coverage

Continental Casualty Company v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA
(D.C. Minn. Case 09-cv-00287-JRT-JJG, August 9, 2013)

In a coverage matter involving exposure to benzene, one insurer, among five others, sought additional contribution from another for defense costs.  Previously, the Minnesota Federal Court had granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff insurer, finding that the defendant insurer owed one-seventh of the defense costs associated with the action pursuant to Cargill, Inc. v. Ace Am. Ins. Co., 784 N.W.2d 341, 354 (Minn. …

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Nothing Comes Between Me and My Calvins…Except an Uncovered Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

CGS Indus., Inc. v. Charter Oak Fire Ins. Co.
|(2nd Cir. (N.Y.) June 11, 2013
The Second Circuit recently held that the phrase “infringement of title” in a liability policy does not encompass trademark infringement. Thus, the court found that a liability insurer was not obligated to indemnify its insured (not Calvin Klein) against a claim for allegedly copying the claimant’s rear-pocket stitching design in its jeans. The decision is noteworthy because it puts to rest policyholders’ argument, at least in New York, that …

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Fraud Inducing Mass Mailings – One Event or Multiple Claims?

American Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v Chicago Ins. Co., 2013 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2778 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013)

The New York state appeals court, first department reversed the trial court holding that an insurer is not obligated to cover defense costs for an attorney accused of selling estate planning services to senior citizens and then passing clients off to financial services representatives who swindled them because those claims arose outside policy period.

Attorney Roger A. Giuliani who is accused of engaging in a …

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Insurer on “Hook” for Insured’s Costs in Responding Investigation Subpoenas

Syracuse Univ. v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co.  N.Y.  Sup. Ct., March 7, 2013

Syracuse University
, as the named insured under the policy, sought coverage for the costs it incurred in responding to the state and federal investigative subpoenas relating to the allegations of sexual abuse by Bernie Fine, the former University’s Associate Basketball Coach.

The insuring agreement provided that the insurer shall pay for “loss arising from a claim … for any actual or alleged wrongful act of the organization” and defined claim …

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Proposed Rule Allows Religious Organizations to Sidestep Contraception Mandate

On Friday, President Barack Obama’s administration proposed a rule which would modify the Affordable Care Act’s Contraception Mandate to allow religious organizations to opt-out of directly providing contraceptives to its employees. The contraception mandate, which went into effect January 1, 2013, requires most private companies and employers to offer health services, including contraception services to their workers. The contraception rule had prompted many lawsuits whereby religious organizations brought suit against the federal government seeking injunctions and temporary restraining orders in anticipation of the inception …

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