NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a public entity management liability protection (PEMLP) policy's insured vs. insured exclusion bars coverage for an underlying municipal taxpayer lawsuit against the former chief administrative officer of the City of Burlington, Vt. (St. Paul Guardian Insurance Co., et al. v. Jonathan Leopold, No. 14-4519, 2nd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy's prior publication exclusion precludes coverage for the Navajo Nation's trademark infringement claims against retailer Urban Outfitters (The Hanover Insurance Company v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., et al., No. 14-3705, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18459).
NEW YORK - A policy's consent provision requiring an insured to obtain an insurer's consent prior to incurring any expenses for environmental contamination cleanup costs and requiring the insurer not to unreasonably withhold consent is not void as a matter of public policy and must be enforced as written, a New York federal judge said July 13 (SI Venture Holdings LLC v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-2261, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89925).
LOS ANGELES - A California judge's decision to deny a woman's request to vacate an arbitrator's decision to award $1,707.11 to a contractor accused of faulty workmanship during renovations to her home was affirmed by a state appeals panel on June 22; it found that the judge did not err in finding that the terms of the construction contract did not violate California's public policy and that she was properly informed about the arbitration process (Rena Morris v. Michael O'Neill, et al., No. B258467, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2015 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4464).
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that there is a disputed issue of fact as to whether a public accounting firm's employee had reason to know, before an accountant's professional liability insurance policy became effective, that a claim could be reasonably anticipated, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 18 concluded that the insurer has a duty to defend but does not have to indemnify the firm against an underlying lawsuit alleging that the firm and its employee breached their professional duty of confidentiality (Navigators Insurance Co. v. Resnick Amsterdam Leshner, et al., No. 14-5158, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64385).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on April 16 found that the "common theme" of an underlying complaint against a hospital and a records-imaging and storage company is deliberate, intentional conduct that led to an expected, desired or foreseeable result and not a chance occurrence that arose from unknown causes, finding that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the defendants against claims that they violated public policy by engaging in a scheme that misrepresented the availability of a more reasonable cost of receiving medical records (Westfield Insurance Co. v. Records Imaging & Storage Inc., et al., No. 14-18854, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49986).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 16 found that a district court erred in finding that an arbitration award violated public policy, reversing a decision that refused to enforce the award in a case filed by a seaman, who alleged that he was injured aboard a vessel (Lito Martinez Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrts, No. 14-30132, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6245).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 23 found that "all risks" property insurance policies' flood sublimits do not apply to a publicly traded diversified energy company insured's losses caused by storm surge resulting from Superstorm Sandy (Public Service Enterprise Group, et al. v. ACE American Ins. Co., et al., No. ESX-L4951-13, N.J. Super., Law Div., Essex Co.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 620).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 29 held that an insurance adjuster lacked standing to bring claims that a number of insurance companies violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by preparing and submitting inflated claims on flood insurance policies backed by the Federal Insurance Administration's (FIA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), while reducing claims paid on privately backed wind insurance policies, finding that his allegations were based on publicly disclosed information (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. H-12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 20 declined to hear the appeal of a ruling by the California Supreme Court that an arbitration agreement requiring an employee as a condition of employment to give up the right to bring a representative action under the California Labor Code's Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) in any forum is contrary to public policy (CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC v. Arshavir Iskanian, No. 14-341, U.S. Sup.; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 735).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 14 refused to reconsider its ruling that an insurance policy's prior publication exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims that the insured infringed on the claimant's use of the "StreetSurfer" trademark to market his skateboards (Street Surfing LLC v. Great American E&S Insurance Co., No. 12-55351, 9th Cir.).
RULTAND, Vt. - An underlying municipal taxpayer lawsuit against the former chief administrative officer of the City of Burlington, Vt., fails to allege a "covered" loss under a public entity management liability protection (PEMLP) policy, a Vermont federal judge ruled Nov. 4, further finding that the policy's insured vs. insured exclusion also bars coverage (St. Paul Guardian Insurance Co., et al. v. Jonathan Leopold, No. 14-00040, D. Vt.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - For legal and public policy reasons, California should side with the majority of other states and reject liability for take-home asbestos exposures, Pneumo Abex LLC told the California Supreme Court on Oct. 17 (Johnny Blaine Kesner v. Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda, No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania would not burden employers with a duty to protect against take-home asbestos exposures given the weight the state gives public policy considerations, the judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held Aug. 27 (Marilyn Gillen v. The Boeing Co., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-3118, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana Supreme Court majority on Aug. 25 refused to reconsider its ruling that forum-selection clauses are not violative of Louisiana public policy, standing by its reversal of a lower court's finding that overruled an exception of improper venue in a dispute over a consulting firm's evaluation of hurricane damage (Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. of Louisiana, et al., No. 2013-CC-1977, La. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Aug. 18 refused to allow subsequent purchasers of a newly constructed home to pursue claims for breach of implied warranty of habitability against the builder, ruling that the parties' arguments were predominantly grounded in public policy rather than contract law (Michael Conway, et al. v. Cutler Group Inc., d/b/a The David Cutler Group Inc., No. 80 MAP 2013, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 2084).
NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled July 1 that forum selection clauses are not violative of Louisiana public policy, reversing a lower court's finding that overruled a consulting firm's exception of improper venue in a dispute over the firm's evaluation of underlying hurricane damage (Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. of Louisiana, et al., No. 2013-CC-1977, La. Sup.; 2014 La. LEXIS 1568).