In yet another Delaware court D&O insurance coverage decision that is sure to set the D&O insurance industry spinning, a Delaware Superior Court Judge has held that a SPAC’s post-merger runoff policy provides coverage for the defense fees of former directors of the pre-Merger target company for alleged Wrongful Acts that the occurred prior to the merger – even though the former directors were not directors or officers of the SPAC at the time they allegedly committed the alleged Wrongful Acts. The court’s ruling could even further complicate the already fraught process of placing and structuring D&O insurance in the De-SPAC context. A copy of the Court’s February 6, 2023 opinion can be found here. (Please note that I have linked to the copy of the opinion on the Court’s website; the website copy to which I linked says that the opinion was filed under seal, but the seal reportedly was lifted by the court on February 16, 2023.)Continue Reading Delaware Court: Pre-Merger Target Company Execs Are Insured Persons Under SPAC’S Post-Merger Tail Policy
In an interesting opinion, the Fifth Circuit has set aside a settlement and related bar order that had been approved by the district court in litigation arising out of the Stanford Financial Ponzi scheme scandal. The appellate court said that the district court lacked authority to approve the settlement in light of several of its features, including its provisions cutting off the claims of several former Stanford Financial employees and managers to the defunct firm’s insurance policies’ proceeds. As discussed below, the circumstances surrounding the settlement raise serious questions about the intended purpose of D&O insurance. The Fifth Circuit’s June 17, 2019 opinion in the case can be found here.
Continue Reading Who is D&O Insurance For?
As I readers of this blog well know, a frequently recurring D&O insurance question is whether or not the policy’s insured vs. insured exclusion operates to preclude coverage. One of the many issues that can arise under the exclusion is whether or not the exclusion precludes coverage if the underlying claim is brought both by claimants that are insured persons under the policy and persons that are not insured persons. In a January 30, 2017 decision applying Florida law (here), Southern District of Florida Judge Beth Bloom ruled that a condominium association’s D&O insurance policy’s insured vs. insured exclusion barred coverage for the a claim brought by two claimants, one of whom was insured under the policy and one of whom was not.
Continue Reading Insured vs. Insured Exclusion: No Coverage When Claim Includes Both Non-Insured and Insured Claimants
Though the Insured vs. Insured exclusion is a standard D&O policy provision, it seems to generate a disproportionate number of D&O insurance-related coverage disputes. The exclusion precludes coverage for claims brought by one Insured Person against another Insured Person. Among the host of recurring issues are the questions surrounding the exclusion’s preclusive reach when the claimants suing an Insured include both individuals who are Insured Persons and other individuals who are not Insured Persons.
These questions arose in a coverage dispute involving a series of lawsuits brought against the board of U-Haul International Inc. parent Amerco. One of the lawsuits had been brought by a former Amerco board member (who was also related by family to the company founder) but the rest of the lawsuits had been initiated by other shareholders who were not Insured Persons under Amerco’s D&O insurance policy. The various actions were consolidated by court order. The company’s D&O insurer denied coverage for the board’s defense expenses based on the Insured vs. Insured exclusion. In a June 6, 2016 opinion (here), the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the exclusion precluded coverage for all of the claims.
Continue Reading D&O Insurance: Thinking About the Insured vs. Insured Exclusion