Contractual Liability Exclusion Defeats General Contractor’s Bid Against Six Insurers for Defense and Indemnity in West Virginia

West Virginia’s highest court recently handed down a well-articulated decision on the scope of a CGL policy’s insuring agreement and exclusion for contractual liability, which could be influential to other courts who struggle with these commonly-litigated issues.

On May 1, 2019, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously upheld summary judgment to six insurance companies in a declaratory judgment action relating to a property developer’s suit against its general contractor over construction defects at a shopping center. The insurers had issued a series of …

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Property Damage Repairs Prior to Notice of Loss to Insurer Forfeits Coverage

A recent Florida appellate opinion gives more teeth to repercussions for failing to give timely notice of a property damage loss to an insurer. In De la Rosa v. Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, 2018 WL 2246781 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), a plumbing leak in the insureds’ residence resulted in interior water damage. Rather than report the claim immediately to the insurer, the insureds first completed all of the repairs. While the insureds retained some of the damaged plumbing components they failed to preserve them, …

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Fifth Circuit Finds No “Personal Injury” or “Advertising Injury” in Trade Secret Misappropriation Suit

In Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Gum Tree Property Management, LLC, No. 14-60302, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 595 (5th Cir. Jan. 14, 2015), the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Nationwide and certain third-party defendants, finding that Nationwide did not have a duty to defend or indemnify the insureds in the underlying lawsuit.

Lexington Relocation Services, LLC (“Lexington”) brought the underlying lawsuit against three related insureds (“Gum Tree Defendants”) alleging that one of Lexington’s former employees had …

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Fifth Circuit Rejects Argument That Total Pollution Exclusion Creates Illusory Coverage

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Liberty Mutual, finding that Liberty Mutual had no duty to defend or indemnify Linn Energy in connection with the underlying lawsuit, which alleged leakage of saltwater, brine and other contaminants from Linn Energy’s pipeline onto the complainants’ properties.  Notably, the Liberty Mutual policy issued to Linn Energy contained an Underground Resources and Equipment Coverage endorsement, which included in the definition of “property damage” damage to particular types of underground resources.  Nonetheless, …

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No Leaks in This Defense: Carrier Obtained Summary Judgment Regarding Coverage for Gasoline Pipe Leakage

In a dispute surrounding an installation contract between a policyholder and the thirty-party plaintiff, the insured was alleged to have negligently installed a gasoline pipe leading from a gasoline holding tank to a marina on the third-party plaintiff’s property where gasoline was sold. Specifically, it was alleged that the gas pipe was not buried deeply enough and that it used improperly large backfill material. The pipe leaked approximately 500 gallons of gasoline, causing property damage. The policyholder sought coverage from its insurers. One insurer moved …

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Too Little, Too Late: Malpractice Coverage Evaporates With Law Firm’s Tardy Notice

Minnesota Lawyers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Baylor & Jackson, PLLC
(4th Cir. (Md.) June 27, 2013)

The Fourth Circuit recently held that a malpractice insurer was not obligated to defend or indemnify a law firm against a multi-million dollar lawsuit arising from the firm’s failure to submit admissible evidence in opposition to a motion for summary judgment. The court held that the firm breached the policy’s notice provision by waiting until an appellate court affirmed the lower court’s ruling granting summary judgment against its …

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