Commercial enterprises sometimes are organized in complex structures consisting of multiple, legally separate legal entities. The legal separation between the various entities can be significant in a variety of ways. One particular context within which these separate legal identities can be very important is in the D&O insurance context, as the insurance may be structured to apply to specified entities (and therefore not to others).

In the D&O insurance context, the availability of coverage for individual directors or officers may depend on the entity within the structure on whose behalf the individuals were acting – that is, the coverage question will depend on the “capacity” in which the individuals were acting. A recent decision by the New York (New York County) Supreme Court Commercial Division highlights the importance of these capacity issues and underscores that the capacity in which an individual was acting can be coverage determinative. The court’s February 2, 2021 opinion can be found here.
Continue Reading D&O Insurance Coverage Barred for Execs Not Acting in an Insured Capacity

A coverage defense that insurers frequently raise is the assertion that the amount for which the insurance payment is sought represents uninsurable disgorgement. Beyond the more general question of whether or not disgorgements are or are not insurable is the more specific question of whether or not the amount for which coverage sought represents disgorgement. In an interesting July 30, 2018 opinion in a case involving the investment firm TIAA-CREF, the Delaware Supreme Court, applying New York law, rejected the firm’s insurer’s argument that the amount the firm paid in settlement of three underlying class action lawsuits represented uninsurable disgorgement. The Court expressly distinguished a series of three decisions in which New York courts had ruled that settlement amounts paid in settlement of regulatory enforcement actions represented uninsurable disgorgement. The Delaware Supreme Court’s July 30, 2018 order can be found here.
Continue Reading Del. Supreme Court Holds Settlement Amounts Not Uninsurable Disgorgement