Prior Knowledge/Warranty Exclusion

Applying Illinois law, a federal district court has held that an insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify an insured for a lawsuit that derived in part from facts or circumstances that were the subject of an EEOC charge filed during a prior policy period.  U.S. Specialty Ins. Co. v. Village of Melrose Park, 2020 WL 1923076 (N.D. Ill. April 21, 2020).

Continue Reading No Duty to Defend or Indemnify Lawsuit Overlapping With Prior EEOC Charge

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has held that a “known loss” provision in an E&O policy barred coverage for a lawsuit filed against an insured because the lawsuit previously was threatened in a cease and desist letter that the insured received almost four years earlier.  Vistelar, LLC v. Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Ins. Co., 2020 WL 891017 (Wis. Ct. App. Feb. 25, 2020).

Continue Reading “Known Loss” Provision Bars Coverage for Lawsuit Threatened in Pre-Policy Period Cease and Desist Letter

Applying Texas law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that a prior knowledge condition did not relieve an insurer of its duty to defend where an underlying complaint made vague allegations of wrongdoing at an indeterminate time.  Allied World Specialty Ins. Co. v. McCathern, P.L.L.C., 2020 WL 933314 (5th Cir. Feb. 26, 2020).  The court found that the vague allegations could be construed to refer to conduct occurring after the date specified in the prior knowledge condition.

Continue Reading Vague Allegations Did Not Trigger Prior Knowledge Condition at Duty-to-Defend Stage

Applying New York law, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has held that, because a subpoena duces tecum previously issued to the insured by a post-judgment creditor of a non-insured entity was not a “Claim” against the insured, the subpoena and a later-filed lawsuit against the insured could not qualify as “Related Claims” deemed first made when the subpoena was issued. Protective Specialty Ins. Co. v. Castle Title Ins. Agency, Inc., 2020 WL 550700 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2020). The court also held that the “warranty exclusion” in the application for the policy (in which the insured warranted that it was “not aware of any incident or circumstance which may result in a claim”) did not bar coverage for the lawsuit, even though the insured failed to disclose the subpoena in the application.

Continue Reading Subpoena Not a ‘Claim’ When Issued in Litigation Not Involving Insured’s Professional Services

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, applying New Jersey law, has held that an insurer was estopped from denying coverage under a retroactivity provision in an engineering firm’s professional liability policy because the insurer’s reservation of rights, which was issued three years after accepting control of the insured’s defense, was untimely and defective.  RLI Ins. Co. v. AST Eng’g Corp., 2019 WL 7114986 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 20, 2019).

Continue Reading Untimely Reservation of Rights Estops Insurer from Denying Coverage

In a win for Wiley Rein’s client, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, applying Florida law, held that, as a matter of law, a lawsuit against an engineer arising out of three alleged errors in connection with a construction project constituted a single “claim” under the engineer’s claims-made-and-reported architects and engineers policies. Nova Southeastern Univ., Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co., No. 18-CIV-61842-RAR (S.D. Fla. Dec. 27, 2019).  Furthermore, the court held that the policies’ prior knowledge and prior notice provisions separately and independently barred coverage for the lawsuit.

Continue Reading Lawsuit Arising Out of Three Design Errors is a Single “Claim,” and Prior Knowledge and Prior Notice Provisions Bar Coverage

Applying Ohio law, a federal district court has held that misrepresentations in an application warranty statement regarding three unreported lawsuits filed against the insured during the initial policy period rendered a renewed claims-made and reported policy void ab initioCertain Underwriters at Lloyds London Subscribing to Policy No.  HMPL 18-0164 & HMPL 17-0158 v. KG Admin. Servs., Inc., 2019 WL 6770061 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 12, 2019).  The court also held that, because the claims were not reported during the initial policy period, the insurer did not have any coverage obligations under the initial policy.

Continue Reading Concealment of Pending Lawsuits in Renewal Application Voids Policy

Applying California law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held that an insurer properly denied coverage under consecutive claims-made-and-reported policies based on the insured’s failure to provide timely notice of a claim and the insured’s failure to disclose the pending claim in its application for coverage.  US HF Cellular Commc’ns., LLC v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 2019 WL 2323802 (6th Cir. May 31, 2019).

Continue Reading No Coverage Because of Late Notice and Undisclosed Prior Knowledge of Claim

The United States District Court for the Central District of California, applying California law, has held that an insured is entitled to independent counsel where an insurer’s coverage action turns on facts that overlap with facts that might establish an insured’s liability in the underlying lawsuit.  Aspen Am. Ins. Co. v. Ou, 2019 WL 1950293 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 14, 2019).

Continue Reading Insured Entitled to Independent Counsel Where Coverage Action Turns on Facts That Could be Used to Establish Underlying Liability