Michigan Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applies to Emissions Permit Violation

In its recent decision in Arch Ins. Co. v. Commercial Steel Treating Corp ., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121574 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 27, 2013) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan had occasion to consider the application...

Ruff Decision For Dog Walker: Florida Appeals Court Tosses Far Fetched Argument For Coverage

Like so many of us, I love dogs. I have two and stop to say hello to every one that I meet walking down the street. So it was with a tinge of sadness to see that someone who did a nice thing for a dog was denied coverage for a freak accident. Even the appeals court seemed unhappy that doing a good deed...

Ten Most Significant Insurance Coverage Decisions Of 2013 – Eleventh Circuit Limits Construction Site Bodily Injury Exposure (Without Using An Endorsement)

Insurers have been taking various steps to attempt to limit their exposure for bodily injury claims on construction sites (not to mention for property damage). One way has been to amend the employer’s liability exclusion to preclude coverage for employees of “any insured” as opposed...

The CGL “Business Risk” Exclusions

By David Smith I recently came upon an interesting case from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that examined the complex and confusing Commercial General Liability (CGL) “business risk” exclusions. Oxford Aviation, Inc. et al. v. Global Aerospace, Inc. , 680 F...

Texas Court Predicts Accrual Date for Prompt Payment of Claims Act

In its recent decision in Cox Operating v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Ins. Co ., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3140 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 10, 2014) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas had occasion to consider when the statutory interest...

Environmental Coverage Summary: 2013 – Cases Interpreting the "Absolute" Pollution Exclusion

By Ellen J. Zabinski and Adam H. Fleischer Even a small sampling of 2013's leading insurance coverage decisions in the environmental realm clearly demonstrates the stark differences from state to state as to: whether injury from contaminants is really considered "pollution"; whether...

New York Appeals Court Reverses Itself in K2 Investment Group Decision; Reaffirms Earlier Ruling in Servidone

In a decision notable for several reasons [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the New York State Court of Appeals—the state's highest court—reversed itself in K2 Investment Group, LLC v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co. [21 NY3d 384 (2014)] [ enhanced...

Illinois Court Holds Junk Fax Claim Not Within Products Coverage

In its recent decision in Windmill Nursing Pavilion v. Cincinnati Ins. Co ., 2013 IL. App. (1st) 122431, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, had occasion to consider the scope of products-completed operations coverage as it relates...

Bad Deal Worse Than No Deal: Don’t Jump Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

People severely injured believe that the only possible recourse is the insurance available to the tortfeasor. The injured party, if the insurer refuses to cover the tortfeasor, will enter into an agreement with the tortfeasor as to a judgment that they promised to only collect from the insurer and, by...

Understanding The “Your Work” Exclusion In CGL Insurance Policies

By attorney Maggie Finnegan Most construction contracts require contractors to carry CGL insurance to cover potential liability due to property damage and bodily injury. However, it is important to note that CGL policies often include numerous policy exclusions. A typical exclusion often found in...

Appeals Court: Is A Non-Profit “In The Business Of” Selling Or Serving Alcohol For Purposes Of The Liquor Liability Exclusion? [Relevance To ISO’s New Liquor Liability Exclusion]

There are umpteen decisions addressing coverage under liability policies for incidents involving alcohol. They vary in what they are about and include such things as the scope of a liquor liability exclusion in a commercial general liability policy, e.g., whether it includes “failure to prevent”...

Yes, That Pollution Exclusion In Your Insurance Does Work

Read your insurance policy. That’s the bottom line advice for businesses of all kinds, especially when it comes to pollution exclusions in property damage and liability insurance policies. A used car company and its principal learned this the hard way. Mississauga Motor Mart, and its directing...

Louisiana Court Holds that “Coconut Throwing” Endorsement Does Not Bar Coverage for Mardis Gras Float

By Andrew May , Associate, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP In Faith Brooks v. Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Inc ., 110 So.3d 703 (La. Ct. App. 2013), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the trial court improperly granted summary...

Buyer’s Remorse: Exclusions Serve an Important Purpose

No insurance policy covers every possible risk faced by a person or business. Liability insurance policies are written to cover certain risks faced by a person or entity at a price the person or entity finds affordable. Some risks can be easily avoided by operating honestly and in good faith. Others...

No Reasonable Person Would Believe Contract Exclusion Applies to Wrongful Eviction

By Jill Berkeley , Partner, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP In John Doyle Trust, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co ., 2014 IL App (2d) 121238, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Illinois appellate court affirmed summary judgment entered against Country Mutual, finding...

California Court Denies Summary Judgment on Known Conditions Exclusion

In its recent decision in Lennar Mare Island v. Steadfast Ins. Co ., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26405, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California had occasion to consider the relationship between a fixed site pollution liability...

OMG: The Strangest Pollution Exclusion Case You Have Ever Seen

[While Coverage Opinions likes to kid around, the following summary involves a real case. You can look it up. 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59278] I have been a student of the pollution exclusion for many years. I can’t even begin to imagine how many pollution exclusion cases I have read. I recently...

Don’t Let a Viable Defendant Walk Free

I have many times in this space cautioned against giving up the ability to sue and collect from a viable defendant with assets to seek damages from an insurer. In Jennifer A. Stephens, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Charles Eugene Becker and as Assignee of Anchorage Homes, LLC, Plaintiff...

I See Dead People Causing Coverage Disputes

Look, it’s not pleasant, but when you are involved in liability claims you will be forced to confront scenarios involving death. It’s simply the nature of the beast. Liability insurance claims are, by their nature, all about when things go wrong. And when things go wrong – really wrong...

“In the Business Of” Trucking

Acceptance Casualty Insurance Company (Acceptance) sought review of a published decision of the court of appeals that had affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Great West Casualty Company (Great West). Both Acceptance and Great West issued liability insurance policies...

The Next Coverage Battle Looming?: Eliminating Coverage Under A “Standard” CGL Policy For Construction Site Bodily Injury Claims

Over the past few years insurers have been taking various affirmative steps, such as adding endorsements, to attempt to limit their exposure for bodily injury claims on construction sites (not to mention for property damage). The Eleventh Circuit just provided (for the second time in six months) the...

Insurance Coverage for Wage and Hour Claims

By David A. Gauntlett, Principal, Gauntlett & Associates Litigation contending wage and hour law violations has escalated rapidly in recent years. Virtually every business, especially those in California, is susceptible to claims by an increasingly vigorous plaintiff’s bar, including...

Ninth Circuit Holds Extrinsic Facts Triggered Duty to Defend

In its decision in Burlington Ins. Co. v. CHWC, Inc ., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3941 (9 th Cir. Mar. 3, 2014), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, applying California law, had occasion to consider an insured’s obligation...

CGL Carrier’s Duty To Defend Was Triggered Where Non-Professional Work Was Alleged and, Therefore, the Professional Services Exclusion Did Not Apply to Remove All Possibility of Coverage

North Counties Engineering, Inc. v. State Farm General Ins. Co. , 224 Cal. App. 4th 902 (2014), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. In North Counties Engineering , the California Court of Appeal held that an insurer’s duty to defend its insured under a comprehensive business...

Effect of “Assault & Battery” Exclusion: Entire Policy Must Be Read to Interpret Policy

Insurance policies, contrary to the belief of some members of the plaintiffs’ bar, are nothing more than a contract that needs to be interpreted like any other contract. In so doing the entire contract must be read to determine the intent of the parties to the contract. In Certain Interested...