Engineering Firm Gets Soaked By Professional Services Exclusions in Water Treatment Plant Claim

In an unpublished decision, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision judgment in favor of two insurers. Specifically, the Sixth Circuit broadly construed professional services exclusions to preclude coverage. As background, the Village of Dexter in Michigan hired an engineering and architecture firm, Orchard, Hiltz, & McCliment, Inc. (OHM), to oversee the upgrade of a wastewater treatment plant. The project included both the design and construction phases. Notably, Dexter approved three OHM proposals for professional engineering services. In addition,
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A Bad Faith Cautionary Tale: Ninth Circuit Affirms $8.7 Million Award for Bad Faith Coverage Denial

In Millennium Laboratories, Inc. v. Darwin Select Insurance Co., No. 15-55227, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1533 (9th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017), the Ninth Circuit held that Darwin Select Insurance Company breached its duty to defend its insured, Millennium Laboratories, Inc., against two third-party lawsuits (Ameritox and Calloway). The court further held that Darwin’s failure to defend Millennium was in bad faith. As background, Millennium filed a complaint seeking coverage regarding two underlying lawsuits alleging Millennium told its customers that its
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No Duty, No Problem: Seventh Circuit Finds Absence of Duty for Insurance Broker to Non-Client in Connection with Fraudulent Insurance Scheme

The Seventh Circuit recently handed down a decision in which it refused to recognize a negligence claim against an insurance broker which would have expanded the duties of brokers and agents beyond those articulated in the Illinois Insurance Placement Liability Act (IIPLA), 735 ILCS 5/2 2201. In M.G. Skinner & Associates Insurance Agency v. Norman-Spencer Agency, Inc., No. 15-2290, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 63 (7th Cir. Jan. 4, 2017), the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment
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What’s Yours is Mine and What’s Mine Isn’t Covered: Illinois Federal Court Rejects Coverage for Suit Seeking Restitution

In Westport Insurance Corp. v. M.L. Sullivan Insurance Agency, Inc., No. 15 C 7294, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1527 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 5, 2017), an Illinois federal district court underscored the importance of a policy’s damages requirement when it granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of Westport Insurance Corporation and against its insured M.L. Sullivan Insurance Agency. In the underlying suit, American Inter-Fidelity Exchange (AIFE) alleged Sullivan and one of its employees provided false information about insurance premiums due
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A Contract by Any Other Name Would … Still Be a Contract: Wisconsin Court of Appeals Enforces Breach of Contract Exclusions to Preclude Coverage for Business Competition Claim

In Great Lakes Beverages, LLC v. Wochinski (Jan. 18, 2017), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that AMCO had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against the underlying third-party tortious interference with contract claim because the breach of contract exclusions applicable to personal and advertising injury squarely applied. As background, K-Way Systems contracted with Wochinski to purchase his company. The purchase agreement contained an asset purchase agreement, a covenant not to compete, and a supply agreement. Relations between
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Ninth Circuit Confirms the FDIC Cannot Avoid the Insured-Versus-Insured Exclusion

In recent years, courts frequently have held that a D&O policy’s “insured-versus-insured” exclusion bars coverage for claims by the FDIC, as receiver of a failed bank, against the bank’s former directors and officers because the FDIC stands in the shoes of the insured bank. Therefore, the FDIC has tried to circumvent this exclusion by arguing that a policy’s shareholder derivative suit exception to the insured-versus-insured exclusion brought the FDIC’s claim back within coverage. A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit
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Five Yards for Encroachment: Prematurity Doctrines Found to Preclude Insurer’s Use of Extrinsic Evidence to Evade Coverage

In Pekin Insurance Co. v. St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2016 IL App (4th) 150966, the Illinois Appellate Court refused, based on the Prematurity Doctrine, to consider extrinsic evidence in an insurer’s declaratory judgment action in connection with an underlying wrongful death suit. As background, Hope Farney, as administrator of the estate of Kitty Mullins, sued St. Paul Lutheran Church (Church) for wrongful death. She alleged that a Church employee, Matthew Geerdes, used his personal vehicle for Church business and negligently
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EU and U.S. Negotiators Reach Covered Agreement

On January 13, 2017, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and former U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman notified Congressional leaders that U.S. negotiators reached a covered agreement with EU officials entitled “Bilateral Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America On Prudential Measures Regarding Insurance and Reinsurance” (Covered Agreement). The covered agreement covers three main areas of prudential insurance supervision: 1) group supervision; 2) reinsurance; and 3) exchange of information between supervisory authorities. The U.S. Treasury Department
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President Trump Takes Aim at Affordable Care Act; New York Governor Responds

Within hours of taking the Presidential oath of office, President Donald J. Trump issued his first executive order and it was directed at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The executive order formalized the Trump Administration’s policy to “seek the prompt repeal of the [“ACA”].” President Trump then directed executive department heads to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of the [ACA] that would impose a fiscal or regulatory burden
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Disparage Me Not: Maryland Federal District Court Finds No Coverage for Phone Unlocking Suit

In Wireless Buybacks, LLC v. Hanover American Insurance Co. (D. Md. Dec. 8, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland held that an insurer had no duty to defend its insured against claims stemming from the company’s unauthorized acquisition and resale of Sprint phones. As background, Sprint accused Wireless of illegally acquiring Sprint phones, unlocking them so they could function on non-Sprint wireless networks, and reselling the phones overseas. Sprint filed a sixteen-count suit against Wireless, alleging
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