Related Claims and associated exclusions

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, applying District of Columbia law, has held that there is no coverage for three lawsuits filed against an insured company because the lawsuits related to an email demand previously received by the company which it failed to report during the applicable claims made and reported policy period.  The court further held in the alternative that, even if the email was not a “claim,” the company failed to provide notice of the lawsuits under the subsequent policy as soon as practicable and the insurer was entitled to deny coverage under the later policy, without showing prejudice.  Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. UIP Cos., 2021 WL 602901 (D.D.C. Feb. 16, 2021).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Three Lawsuits Related to Email Not Timely Noticed; No Showing of Prejudice Required Where Notice Not As Soon As Practicable

Judge Paul Wallace of the Delaware Superior Court has held that a bump-up provision did not operate to preclude coverage for a settlement of a Section 14(a) cause of action.  Northrop Grumman Innovation Sys., Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 347015 (Del. Super. Ct. Feb. 2, 2021).  The court also held that a prior acts exclusion contained in a different set of D&O policies did not preclude coverage for Section 10(b) claims asserted in the same lawsuit.

Continue Reading Coverage for Stockholder Suits Not Barred By Prior Acts Exclusion or Bump-Up Provision

The California Court of Appeal, applying California law, has held that two lawsuits arising from work performed by the same insured engineering firm on a housing development constitute related claims under the firm’s professional liability policies, and were thus subject to a single policy limit.  D.R. Horton Los Angeles Holding Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London Subscribing to Policy No. 146/LDUSA0700832, 2020 WL 7417409 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2020).

Continue Reading Lawsuits Concerning Same Housing Development Project Are Related Claims

The Missouri Court of Appeals, applying Missouri law, has held that multiple acts of negligence committed by a lawyer while representing a married couple in a lawsuit are related acts or omissions constituting a single claim under the law office’s professional liability policy, and thus were subject to a single limit of liability.  Stacy v. Bar Plan Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 243515 (Mo. Ct. App. Jan. 26, 2021).  The court also held that the insurer was not estopped from asserting the limits of liability when it failed to send reservation of rights or denial of coverage letters relating to its single-claim position.

Continue Reading Lawyer’s Multiple Acts of Negligence Constitute A Single Claim

The United States District Court for the Central District of California, applying Georgia law, has held that a claims-made policy did not provide coverage for an underlying lawsuit where the allegations in that lawsuit were first made in an email received by the insured prior to the start of the policy period.  Peachstate Health Mgmt. v. Chubb Ins. Co., 2020 WL 8184143 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 24, 2020).

Continue Reading No Coverage for Lawsuit Alleging Same Circumstances Asserted in Email Received Prior to Policy Period

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, applying Arkansas law, has affirmed a ruling in favor of an insurer holding that there was no coverage for a claim made during one policy period but not reported until the following policy period. Pine Bluff Sch. Dist. v. Ace Amer. Ins. Co., 2020 WL 768772 (8th Cir. Dec. 28, 2020). In addition, the court ruled that the doctrines of waiver and estoppel were inapplicable because the claims-made issue went to the scope of coverage, which could not be changed by waiver or estoppel.
Continue Reading No Coverage for Lawsuit That Related Back to Claim Made During Prior Policy Period

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, applying New York law, has concluded that, even though a grievance letter to an insured constituted a “Professional Claim” that was not timely reported, the insurer waived its late notice coverage defense by waiting seven months to deny coverage. Hunt Constr. Group, Inc. v. Berkley Assurance Co., 2020 WL 7046842 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2020).
Continue Reading Insured Failed to Timely Report Grievance Letter as ‘Professional Claim,’ But Insurer’s Late Notice Denial Waived By Seven-Month Delay

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, applying Minnesota law, affirmed a trial court’s decision that the prior acts exclusion in a directors and officers liability policy barred coverage for shareholder suits arising out of on an insured’s failure to disclose related-party transactions to the SEC before going public. Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. v. Allied World Nat’l Assurance Co., 2020 WL 7133358 (8th Cir. Dec. 7, 2020). The court concluded that the shareholder suits alleged Wrongful Acts that took place prior to the retroactive date or alleged acts that were the same or related to Wrongful Acts that occurred before that date.

Continue Reading Prior Acts Exclusion Bars Coverage for Shareholder Suits Based on Failure to Disclose Related-Party Transactions to SEC

Applying Illinois law, a federal district court has held that an insurer did not have a duty to defend or indemnify for a lawsuit that was filed and dismissed prior to the policy period and later refiled during the policy period.  Navigators Specialty Ins. Co. v. B.D. McClure & Assocs., Ltd., 2020 WL 5909067 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 6, 2020).

Continue Reading Insurer Had No Duty to Defend or Indemnify for Lawsuit Refiled During the Policy Period

Applying Michigan law, a federal district court has held that an employment practices liability insurer had a duty to defend a lawsuit that derived in part from facts or circumstances that were the subject of an EEOC claim and lawsuit filed prior to the policy period.  City of Grosse Pointe v. U.S. Specialty Ins. Co., 2020 WL 3961481 (E.D. Mich. July 13, 2020).

Continue Reading EPL Insurer Must Defend Lawsuit Derived in Part from EEOC Claim and Retaliation Lawsuit Filed Prior to Policy Period