Keeping Up with the Times: Nevada Supreme Court Declares Under What Circumstances Insurers Must Provide Independent Counsel

In an opinion issued on September 24, 2015, the Nevada Supreme Court addressed the issue of under what circumstances an insurer is obligated to provide its insured with independent counsel.

The case, State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Hansen, arises out of injuries sustained by Hansen while attempting to leave a house party. A number of guests at the party were crowding around and sitting on Hansen and his companions’ vehicle in an attempt to prevent them from leaving. Eventually, amidst a hail …

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A Line Drawn in the Soil: Jeep is Not a “Farm Implement” Under Farm Policy

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois applied the “eight-corners” rule to determine that insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify insured in Elmore v. Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company et al. (S.D.Ill. July 27, 2015).

The plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action against Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance, alleging that Grinnell had a duty to defend and indemnify the plaintiff under the terms of his Farm-Guard policy for damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident on a public highway in Illinois. …

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Moldy Water Keep on Rollin’: Mold Exclusion Does Not Apply to Claims Based on Mold-Infested Water

In Acuity v. Reed & Associates of Tennessee, LLC, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109412 (W.D. Tenn. August 19, 2015), the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee determined that an insurer had the duty to defend its policyholder in a case involving mold, even though the subject policy included a Fungi or Bacteria Exclusion (“Mold Exclusion”).  The court found that allegations of moldy water fell within an exception to the Mold Exclusion as a “product” or “good” “intended for bodily consumption.”  …

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Illinois Court Finds No Breach in Insurance Company’s Decision Not to Defend

Last week, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling in Illinois Emcasco Insurance Company v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance that Emcasco did not breach its duty to defend a construction contractor against a personal injury suit. This appellate court panel did, however, reverse the lower court’s ruling that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company breached its duty to settle this personal injury suit within its policy limits.

The underlying injury lawsuit stemmed from a 1998 construction accident filed against Triumph Development Corporation, the project’s general contractor, …

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Under Virginia Law, Despite the Separation of Insureds Provision, Insurer has No Duty to Defend Suit Alleging Insured is Liable Under Respondeat Superior for Intentional Acts of Agent

On July 10, 2015, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an insurer had no duty to defend the insured university in a suit alleging that the insured participated in a kidnapping plot. The court found that the insurer had no duty to defend because the suit was based on the intentional acts of the insured’s employees.

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the insured participated in a plot to kidnap the student in order to remove the student and keep her separated …

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Duty to Defend Long Latency Cases Not Ratable Says Louisiana’s 4th Circuit: Insurer Who Insured 26 Months of 60-Year Exposure Period Must Defend Entire Case

Arceneaux v. Amstar Corp., 2015 WL 798980 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2015).

The Louisiana Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, faced with an issue of first impression, decided not to prorate an insurer’s duty to defend in long latency disease cases.

In the underlying tort litigation, three separate groups of plaintiffs brought claims against American Sugar Refineries and its predecessor, Tate & Lyle North American Sugars, Inc., claiming occupational hearing loss from industrial noise while working in the defendant’s refinery over several years of …

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