A standard feature of virtually every commercial contract is a choice-of-law clause. The general perception is that these types of clauses help facilitate settlement and reduce litigation costs. There is, however, one type of contract the usually omits choice-of law-clauses – insurance policies. Throughout the insurance industry and across most lines of coverage, insurance policies lack choice of law clauses. The reasons why insurance policies omit provisions that are standard for virtually every other type of commercial contract is the subject of an interesting new paper from University of North Carolina Law Professor John F. Coyle, entitled “The Mystery of the Missing Choice-of-Law Clause.” Coyle’s paper raises a number of interesting questions, some of which may be relevant as some insurers consider the question of whether they many need to add choice of law clauses to their policies. A copy of Professor Coyle’s December 2, 2021 paper can be found here.
Continue Reading Why Don’t Insurance Policies Have Choice-of-Law Clauses?

Peter Selvin

In an October 19, 2021 decision in Twin City Fire Insurance Co. v. Vonachen Services, Inc., the Northern District of Illinois, applying Illinois law, addressed key insurance coverage issues under the D&O and EPL coverage parts of a management liability insurance policy. In the following guest post, Peter Selvin reviews and analyzes the decision. Selvin is a partner with Los Angeles-based Ervin Cohen & Jessup. A version of this article previously was published in the LA Daily Journal. I would like to thank Peter for allowing me to publish his article on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Peter’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Court Addresses Biometric Claims and Insurance Issues

Peter Selvin

In the following guest post, Peter Selvin discussed the Fifth Circuit’s July 21, 2021 decision in Landry’s Incorporated v. The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (here), which considered the question of coverage under a commercial general liability policy of damages from a data breach caused by a third-party hacker. Selvin is a partner with Los Angeles-based Ervin Cohen & Jessup. A version of this article previously was published in the LA Daily Journal. I would like to thank Peter for allowing me to publish his article on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Peter’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: CGL Coverage for Data Breaches: New Developments

A recurring D&O insurance coverage issue is the availability under a D&O insurance policy of coverage for a Delaware appraisal action. As discussed here, in October 2020, the Delaware Supreme Court held in the Solera action that an appraisal action was not a “Securities Claim” within the meaning of the policy at issue and therefore was not a covered claim under the policy. As discussed below, a Delaware Superior Court judge has more recently held in an insurance coverage dispute that because an appraisal action is not “for” a “Wrongful Act,” there was no coverage under the policy at issue. A copy of the Delaware Superior Court’s July 30, 2021 decision in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading Appraisal Action is Not a Claim “for” a Wrongful Act

Regular readers of this blog know that I have been following the developing SPAC-related litigation closely. Readers also know that the cast of defendants in these cases can be extensive, diverse, and in some cases overlapping. For example, the defendants may include former directors and officers of the SPAC; former directors and officers of the acquired company; and current directors and officers of the company formed by the merger. Some of the individuals named may be sued in more than one capacity. These features of the suits will complicate the litigation. These features will also complicate the application of insurance to the defense and settlement of this litigation, as well.

In an April 27, 2021 post on the Freshfields law firm blog entitled “Tower vs. Tower: Implications of SPAC Shareholder Litigation for the D&O Insurance World” (here), Freshfields partner Boris Feldman takes a look at these complications and “what a wave of SPAC shareholder suits may mean for the Directors and Officers Liability Insurance Industry.”
Continue Reading Will SPAC-Related Securities Suits Lead to “Tower vs. Tower” D&O Insurance Coverage Battles?

In the latest development in Pfizer’s long-running efforts to recover from its D&O insurers amounts the company paid in defense and settlement of prior securities litigation (the “Morabito Action”), a Delaware Superior Court Judge, applying Delaware law, has held that the company’s settlement with a lower level excess insurer for less than that insurer’s policy limit did not create a gap relieving an upper layer excess insurer of its payment obligations.  The court also found that the company’s earlier notice of a different securities litigation did not trigger the policy’s Prior Notice exclusion. The court’s August 28, 2020 opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Excess Insurer Cannot Avoid Payment Where Underlying Insurer Settled With Policyholder for Less Than Full Policy Limits

In the following guest post, Christopher Bannon of the Aronberg Goldgehn law firm takes a look at a recent ruling in which the court addressed the question of whether a lawsuit seeking the return of an administrative fee is a suit for “damages” within the meaning of the applicable insurance policy. A version of this article previously was published as an Aronberg Goldgehn client alert. I would like to thank Chris for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Chris’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Restitution of Administrative Fee Does Not Represent Covered Damages

In a recent decision in an insurance coverage dispute, a federal court applying Puerto Rico law concluded that there was no coverage under a management liability insurance policy for a discrimination claim that had first been made prior to the policy period of the claims made policy at issue, and that notice of the claim was untimely as well. The court’s conclusion is in a sense unremarkable. What is worth considering about the ruling is how often these same problems recur, as discussed below. The District of Puerto Rico’s May 28, 2020 opinion can be found here. A June 17, 2020 post on the Wiley law firm’s Executive Summary Blog about the decision can be found here.
Continue Reading No Coverage for Claim First Made Prior to the Policy Period of a Claims Made Policy

Daniel Wolf

This blog’s readers know that a claim arising from the current coronavirus-related outbreak could present a number of insurance-related issues, including, among many others, perennial issues involving timeliness of notice of claim. In the following guest post, Daniel Wolf, an associate at the Gilbert LLP law firm, take a look at notice of claim considerations businesses may want to take into account with respect to potential coronavirus-related claims  A version of this article first appeared on his firm’s blog. I would like to thank Daniel for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Daniel’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: For Businesses at Risk of COVID-19 Lawsuits, Consider Providing Notice of Circumstance

Regular readers of this blog know that among my hobby horse issues are the various questions surrounding late notice of claim. Timeliness is of course a standard conditions for complying with an insurance policy’s notice requirements. Policies also contain other notice conditions, such as, for example, where the notice must be sent and so on. In an interesting recent ruling, the Fifth Circuit examined a professional liability insurance policy’s conditions of notice, finding that while the timely provision of notice is a material condition, others of the policy’s notice conditions were immaterial, and held, applying Texas law, that the insurer could be relieved of its coverage obligations for the policyholder’s failure to comply with an immaterial condition only if the failure prejudiced the insurer.
Continue Reading Material and Immaterial Conditions of Notice of Claim