In recent months, much of the discussion of ESG issues has focused on the impact of the ESG backlash.  However, the predominance of the backlash movement in the current ESG discussion does not mean that interest in addressing ESG-related concerns has disappeared; in certain circles at least, ESG concerns remain on the agenda. The most interesting recent development along these lines is the May 9, 2024, issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) by the Michigan Department of Attorney General, in which the Department has solicited attorneys to act as Special Assistant Attorneys General (SAAG) to pursue climate change-related lawsuits against fossil fuel companies and others. The Department’s notice is reminder that for all of the noise surrounding the ESG backlash, the threat of ESG-related litigation is continuing.Continue Reading Michigan AG Solicits Attorney Help for Climate Change Litigation

Policyholders are often surprised when their professional liability insurers contend they (that is, the insurers) have the right, after a determination of non-coverage, to seek recoupment of amounts paid under the policy. These disputes can be controversial enough even when the policy expressly provides the insurer with the right to seek recoupment; the controversy is greater when the policy does not expressly provide for recoupment but the insurer nonetheless seeks reimbursement in reliance on its reservation of its rights to seek recoupment.

A recent decision by the Sixth Circuit, applying Michigan law, explored these issues and ultimately affirmed the district court’s ruling that the insurer was entitled to recoup amounts paid in defense after the underlying complaint was amended to remove the only covered claims, even though the policy contained no express recoupment provision. The appellate court’s decision raises several interesting issues, as discussed below. A copy of the Sixth Circuit’s April 8, 2024, opinion can be found here. (Hat tip to Geoffrey Fehling of the Hunton Andrews Kurth law firm whose LinkedIn post linked to the appellate opinion, here).Continue Reading 6th Circ. Affirms Insurer’s Recoupment Right Even Without Express Policy Grant

In a long-standing tradition, I have each July reprised on this site an essay I wrote several years ago about summertime at our lake house in Pentwater, Michigan. Actually, the tradition was that I re-posted the article over the July 4th weekend. This year, I was completely preoccupied during the July 4th holiday

Regular readers know that I frequently write about insurance coverage disputes in which insurers contend that coverage is precluded due to the policyholders’ alleged late provision of notice. All too often, the policyholders end up without coverage as a result of the late notice allegations. In an interesting (albeit confusingly written) decision, a Michigan intermediate appellate court upheld a trial court’s rejection of a professional liability insurer’s late notice argument, finding that in fact the policyholder had provided timely notice of the claim ultimately in dispute, and therefore that the insurer was not entitled to recoup amounts the insurer incurred in defending and settling an arbitration that had been filed against the policyholder. The ruling highlights the fact that notice timeliness disputes often are factually complicated and that careful consideration of the applicable facts can sometimes confirm that a policyholder did in fact comply with the notice requirements. The Michigan Court of Appeals (Oakland Circuit)’s February 26, 2019 opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading Michigan Appellate Court Rejects Insurer’s Late Notice Defenses

michigan1Many issues become complicated in the bankruptcy context. That is certainly true of D&O insurance coverage issues. A recent coverage decision out of the Western District of Michigan illustrates this point. In a March 31, 2016 opinion (here), Judge Janet Neff, applying Michigan law, held that the relevant D&O insurance policies’ Insured vs. Insured exclusion precluded coverage for a claim that was first transferred by a bankrupt company to a Liquidation Trust and then asserted by the Liquidation Trust against the company’s former directors and officers.
Continue Reading Insured vs. Insured Exclusion Bars Coverage for Liquidation Trust’s Claim Against Bankrupt Firm’s Execs