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, 2019 opinion on the bad faith counterclaim can be found here.  Judge Davis’s May 7, 2019 opinion on the consent to settlement and cooperation clause issues can be found here.
Continue Reading Del. Court Addresses Summary Judgement Issues in Dole Foods Take-Private Transaction Insurance Coverage Litigation

As I noted in one of the posts in my Nuts and Bolts series about the basics of D&O insurance, the typical D&O insurance policy includes not only obligations for the insurer, but also obligations on the part policyholder as well. Among these policyholder obligations is the duty to cooperate. In most claims, the cooperation duty is not an issue, as the insurer’s requirements and the policyholder’s responses do not lead to conflicts. Unfortunately, from time to time conflicts do arise with regard to the policyholder’s cooperation duty.

In a recent insurance dispute involving the cooperation duties under a CGL policy, the Fifth Circuit held that the cooperation requirements the insurer sought to impose on the policyholder exceeded the policy’s requirements. The decision raises a number of important implications about the cooperation requirement – and about its limits. The Fifth Circuit’s February 26, 2019 opinion in Mid-Continent Casualty Company v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc. can be found here. The Barnes & Thornburg law firm’s April 8, 2019 memo about the decision can be found here.
Continue Reading Insurance Coverage: Thinking about the Duty to Cooperate

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.
Continue Reading Insurer’s Coverage Denial Relieves Policyholder’s Obligation to Obtain Consent to Settlement