Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes

  • March 28, 2024

    Ankle Monitor Is Potentially A Computer Triggering Professional Liability Coverage

    CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel held March 27 that an ankle monitor, at the very least, is potentially computer hardware triggering professional services liability coverage, reversing a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying personal injury lawsuit.

  • March 28, 2024

    Judge: Mortgage Loan Provider’s Loss Arose From Uncovered Disciplinary Proceeding

    CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss with prejudice a mortgage loan provider insured’s first amended complaint seeking coverage under a professional liability mortgagee's errors and omissions policy for its $1,275,000 payment arising from an investigation brought by Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), finding that there is no coverage because the insured’s losses both arose from an uncovered disciplinary proceeding and were uncovered fines, and a policy exclusion bars coverage.

  • March 28, 2024

    Communicable Disease Exclusion Does Not Apply To Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuits

    NEW YORK — A commercial lines insurer’s communicable disease exclusion does not bar coverage for three underlying lawsuits alleging that residents of the insured properties contracted Legionnaires’ disease following exposure to Legionella bacteria at the properties because Legionnaires’ disease is not a communicable disease, a New York federal judge said in granting the insured’s motion for summary judgment.

  • March 27, 2024

    Insurer Seeks High Court Review Of Remanded Class Action Challenging Its Practices

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — An insurer filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that a class action challenging its practices fits within the internal affairs and home state controversy exceptions to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).

  • March 27, 2024

    Insurer Has Duty To Defend Suit Over UTV Accident, Wisconsin Panel Affirms

    WAUSAU, Wis. — A Wisconsin appeals court on March 26 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a homeowners insurer has a duty to defend its insureds against an underlying lawsuit arising from an accident involving a utility terrain vehicle (UTV), finding that the underlying complaint adequately alleges facts that would trigger coverage under an exception to a policy exclusion that barred coverage “for the ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of the UTV.”

  • March 27, 2024

    Viacom Dismisses 2 More Insurers In D&O Coverage Dispute In Delaware Court

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Viacom Inc. and two of its insurers stipulated and agreed to dismiss with prejudice the claims against the insurers in Viacom’s lawsuit seeking directors and officers liability coverage for underlying claims that its directors, officers and controlling shareholders breached their fiduciary duties in connection with a 2019 merger with CBS Corp.

  • March 27, 2024

    Insurer Has No Duty To Defend DPPA Violation Suit, N.C. High Court Affirms

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed an appeals court’s finding that an insurer has no duty to defend its law firm insured against an underlying lawsuit alleging that the firm violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (DPPA) by using “protected personal information” without consent in connection with advertisements for legal services.

  • March 26, 2024

    5th Circuit: Insured’s Alleged Breach Did Not Arise From Professional Services

    NEW ORLEANS —The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a professional liability insurer in the insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for underlying claims that she breached a subcontract by wrongfully soliciting the underlying plaintiff’s clients, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend because the insured’s alleged breach did not arise from her provision of “professional services” to trigger coverage.

  • March 25, 2024

    Panel Reverses Court In Coverage Suit Over $1M Settlement Of Canceled Music Festival

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in the insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying $1 million class action settlement arising from its refusal to refund ticket sales for the South by Southwest festival that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that the policy’s contact and professional services exclusion do not bar coverage.

  • March 25, 2024

    Judge Grants Summary Judgment On Driver’s UCL Claim For ‘Unfair’ COVID Premiums

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge granted GEICO’s motion for summary judgment on an insured’s claim against it for violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by unfairly profiting from a premium giveback program initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part citing evidence that state insurance regulators deemed GEICO’s givebacks sufficient.

  • March 21, 2024

    Panel Reverses ‘Rare’ Case Where Diner Has Alleged Direct Physical Loss, Damage

    SAN DIEGO — A California appeals panel held that a diner insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic is “one of those rare cases” where the insured has adequately asserted a direct physical loss or damage under its commercial property insurance policy “at least raising the specter of coverage,” reversing a lower court’s judgment in favor of the insurer and remanding.

  • March 21, 2024

    California Panel Affirms Ruling In Coverage Suit Over Postponed Metallica Shows

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in the insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage under a “Cancellation, Abandonment and Non-Appearance Insurance” policy for the postponement of the last six shows of Metallica’s South American tour in 2020, finding that the policy’s “communicable disease” exclusion is not ambiguous and that its ordinary meaning includes the pathogen that underlies the disease.

  • March 20, 2024

    8th Circuit Refuses To Rehear Coverage Suit Over Tax Revenue Losses Due To Closures

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied a Missouri city’s request to reconsider its ruling that a commercial property insurer owes no coverage for the city’s tax revenue losses due to governmental closure orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to address the city’s argument that the “inartful” policy is not clear and unambiguous.

  • March 20, 2024

    5th Circuit Reverses, Remands Coverage Suit Arising From Worker’s Salt Mine Death

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a lower federal court legally erred in finding that the Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act contains a universal “well” requirement, reversing a coverage dispute arising from a worker’s death at a salt mine and remanding for the lower court to determine, in the first instance, whether fire-suppression and electrical-work contracts between the salt mine owner and its contractors “pertain[] to . . . drilling for minerals.”

  • March 20, 2024

    Oral Arguments Held In NRA’s Free Speech Suit Arising From Insurance Program

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the National Rifle Association of America (NRA)’s petition seeking review of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ finding that it failed to plausibly assert that the former superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) unconstitutionally threatened or coerced an insurer or other entities to stifle its speech, addressing the NRA’s contention that it plausibly pleaded a First Amendment claim because the superintendent “chose coercion over persuasion.”

  • March 19, 2024

    California Panel Affirms Rulings In Favor Of Excess D&O Insurer

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel affirmed a lower court’s rulings in favor of an excess directors and officers (D&O) liability insurer in its lawsuit disputing coverage for its investment management firm insured, rejecting the appellant’s argument that the lower court erred in interpreting a primary D&O policy provision as an indemnification contract.

  • March 19, 2024

    Insurers Challenge Ruling That Tribal Court Has Jurisdiction Over Coronavirus Suit

    SEATTLE — Insurers asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider its Feb. 29 opinion that affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that a tribal court has subject matter jurisdiction over a coronavirus coverage suit involving tribal properties on tribal land that the Suquamish Tribe brought against “nonmember, off-reservation” insurers that participate in a program that is tailored to and offered exclusively to tribes, arguing that the panel’s “unprecedented expansion of tribal-court jurisdiction warrants rehearing.”

  • March 19, 2024

    Pollution Exclusion Clearly Bars Coverage For Wastewater Discharge, Panel Says

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 18 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a pollution exclusion in a directors and officers liability policy bars coverage for underlying lawsuits alleging that the insureds illegally discharged wastewater into city sewage treatment facilities because the exclusion is not ambiguous and clearly bars coverage for the wastewater.

  • March 19, 2024

    7th Circuit: Auto Exclusion Bars Coverage For Negligence Suit Arising From Accident

    CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer, finding that the auto exclusion in the insured’s errors and omissions and commercial general liability insurance policies barred coverage for an underlying negligence lawsuit arising from an accident and that the operation exception to the exclusion in the CGL policy does not apply.

  • March 18, 2024

    4th Circuit Stands By Ruling That Insurer Can Rescind Professional Liability Policy

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 15 refused to reconsider its affirmation of a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a professional liability insurer in its lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that it can rescind an insurance policy issued to a clinic, standing by its finding that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that the clinic’s founder made a material misstatement in her applications for coverage.

  • March 18, 2024

    Specific-Entity Exclusion Bars Coverage For SEC Suit, 6th Circuit Affirms

    CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 15 held that an insurance policy’s specific-entity exclusion unambiguously bars coverage for an underlying investigation and enforcement action brough against the insured by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, rejecting the insured’s argument that the policy is ambiguous.

  • March 18, 2024

    Panel Refuses To Disturb No Coverage Ruling In Suit Arising From Opioid Epidemic

    SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously voted to deny a prescription drug distributor insured’s petition seeking rehearing of the panel’s Jan. 26 ruling that there is no coverage owed for lawsuits prompted by the opioid epidemic because the underlying claims “describe exclusively deliberate conduct.”

  • March 18, 2024

    GM, OnStar, Lexis Sued For Collecting, Sharing Drivers’ Data

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida man, who claims that his driving data was collected and shared without his knowledge or consent brings putative class claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as well as Florida consumer and privacy law, asserting that the inaccurate information negatively impacted his ability to obtain car insurance.

  • March 13, 2024

    BSA Claimant Not Bound By Insurance Equity Injunction, Bankruptcy Judge Rules

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge concluded that a claimant can continue to seek recovery from insurers for an underlying judgment that he obtained against his abuser in his lawsuit against the abuser, the Boys Scouts of America and Heart of America Council (HOAC), finding that the claimant is not bound by the Insurance Equity Injunction in the Boy Scouts of America’s third modified, fifth amended Chapter 11 reorganization plan that contemplates the creation of a settlement trust to “assume liability for all Abuse Claims.”

  • March 13, 2024

    Former CEO Of Modell’s Appeals Dismissal Of D&O Coverage Dispute

    NEW YORK —The former chief executive officer of the now bankrupt Modell’s Sporting Goods Inc. filed a notice in a New York federal court indicating that he is asking the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review the court’s Feb. 8 ruling that granted a directors and officers liability insurer’s motion to dismiss his breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit, challenging the lower court’s finding that the policy does not give him the right to block coverage for the company’s former chief financial officer’s $2.8 million settlement of an underlying adversary proceeding filed by the liquidating trustee.