In an interesting development in a long-running legal battle in which for-profit education company Apollo Education Group is seeking D&O insurance coverage for its $13.125 million settlement of an options backdating-related securities class action lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit has certified to the Arizona Supreme Court the question of the standard of law to be applied to the insurance policy’s consent to settlement provisions. The Arizona Court’s response to the certified question potentially could have important implications for the meaning and application of similar provisions in other D&O insurance policies. The Ninth Circuit’s August 15, 2019 opinion certifying the question to the Arizona court can be found here.
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The long-running insurance coverage litigation arising from the settlements of the shareholder claims filed in connection with the Dole Food Company’s November 2013 “going private” transaction continues to work its way through the Delaware court. In the latest development in the coverage dispute, a Delaware Superior Court judge has entered two separate  interesting orders, the first granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on the defendants’ bad faith counterclaim, and the second denying the insurers’ summary judgment motions, among other things, on the consent to settlement and cooperation clause issues. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis’s May 1, 2018 opinion on the bad faith counterclaim can be found here.  Judge Davis’s May 7, 2018 opinion on the consent to settlement and cooperation clause issues can be found here.
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Over the last few days, I have published several posts looking back at 2017. In addition to looking back, this is also the time of year for looking forward as well. Among other things to watch out for this year is a series of D&O insurance coverage cases that are now pending in the appellate courts. In a January 9, 2018 article (here, subscription required), Law 360 author Jeff Sistrunk identifies three of these cases to watch this year. As discussed below, these cases not only are worth watching but could have important ramifications as well.
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D&O insurance policies typically specify that the insurer’s written consent is required for a policyholder to settle a claim, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. This consent-to-settlement clause is the not infrequent source of coverage disputes, usually involving circumstances where the policyholder has gone ahead and settled a claim without seeking the requisite consent. A less frequent but no less troublesome circumstance involves the situation where the policyholder sought consent but the insurer declined to consent. The question then becomes whether the insurer’s withholding of consent was (or was not) reasonable.

In an interesting recent ruling, an Arizona district court judge held that Apollo Education Group’s D&O insurer’s withholding of consent to the company’s $13.125 million settlement of an options backdating-related securities class action lawsuit was reasonable. There are a number of interesting aspects to this ruling, as discussed below. Judge Stephen Logan’s October 26, 2017 decision in the Apollo Education Group coverage lawsuit can be found here.
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nystate1In the latest development in the long-running battle of J.P. Morgan Chase, as successor in interest to Bear Stearns, to try to obtain insurance coverage for amounts Bear Stearns paid to resolve an SEC investigation of alleged deceptive market timing and late trading activities, a New York state court judge has held that because its D&O insurers had “effectively disclaimed coverage,” Bear Stearns was excused from its policy obligation to obtain the insurers’ consent prior to its settlement with the SEC. However, the court declined to resolve the question of whether or not the settlements were “reasonable.” The now years-long insurance coverage battle will continue to go forward on the remaining issues. A copy of July 7, 2016 of New York (New York County) Supreme Court Charles E. Ramos can be found here.
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GaThe Georgia Supreme Court has held that where a policyholder settled an underlying claim without its D&O insurer’s consent, the policyholder cannot sue the carrier for breach of contract or for bad-faith failure to settle. The Court, applying Georgia law, entered its opinion in the case based on questions certified from the United States Court

The options backdating scandal may now be ancient history, but questions surrounding insurance coverage for the scandal’s consequences apparently continue to live on. In a September 9, 2011 opinion applying Maryland law, Southern District of New York Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled in a coverage action brought by SafeNet’s excess D&O insurer that, among many