Insurers Beware: Wisconsin Court of Appeals Hold Expected/Intended Injury Exclusion Inapplicable to Injuries Arising from an Insured’s Negligent Supervision of its Employee

In Talley v. Mustafa (Wisc. App., Apr. 5, 2017), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals found coverage available in an underlying negligence suit against a store owner and reversed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Auto Owners Insurance Company. The court’s holding, in essence, was that a reasonable person in the insured’s position would have expected that his insurance policy would cover a customer’s negligence suit, including negligence in training/supervising an employee who contributed to the customer’s
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Fax Blast From the Past: Third Circuit Denies Coverage in TCPA Action

The Third Circuit denied coverage for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), while also ruling on a jurisdictional question regarding the amount in controversy applicable to declaratory judgment actions when they emanate from a class action lawsuit. This case reminds that even without a TCPA exclusion, blast fax suits may not present covered property damage or advertising injury claims. In Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Stevens & Ricci, Inc., No. 15-2080, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16182, (3d Cir.
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It’s Not a Blob, It’s a Probiotic: Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies the “Integrated Systems” Rule in Coverage Dispute

In Wisconsin Pharmacal Company, LLC v. Nebraska Cultures of California, Inc., 2016 WI 14, the Wisconsin Supreme Court applied the “integrated systems” rule to a coverage dispute. In a narrow decision, it reversed the Court of Appeals decision and determined that the incorporation of a defective ingredient into a tablet did not constitute “property damage” caused by an “occurrence.” Further, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that even if “property damage” was alleged, exclusions would apply to bar coverage. The coverage
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One at a Time! Anti-Stacking Provision Upheld

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denied appellants’ attempts to classify the language of an anti-stacking provision ambiguous in Gohagen v. The Cincinnati Ins. Co., (8th Cir., January 6, 2016). The plaintiff was severely injured by a tree being removed by the policyholder.  He reached a settlement with the policyholder, which included the insurer’s payment of $1,000,000; that figure represented the per-occurrence limit under the commercial general liability policy (CGL). The policyholder also had a business owners package (BOP) with
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Drilling Down Policy Language Results in Finding Two Occurrences Because Two Separate Events were Proximate Cause of Insured’s Losses

Hundreds, if not thousands, of cases have been decided based on the meaning of “arising out of” and “arising from” when used in an insurance policy. The recent case of Seahawk Liquidating Trust v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 871 (5th Cir. Jan. 19, 2016)demonstrates that it is not only the words that matter, but the context in which the words are used is equally important. In Seahawk, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that
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New York Court Takes a Bite Out of Multiple Occurrences Argument

A New York Federal District Court recently held that an attack by two dogs upon two pedestrians constituted a single occurrence under the dog owners’ homeowners policy.  In so holding, the court rejected use of the “unfortunate events” test to determine the number of occurrences because the policy language required that all injuries arising from the same general conditions would be considered to be the result of one occurrence, regardless of the number of claimants.  As a result, the insurer’s
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One Detached Dump Truck, Three Occurrences: The “Unfortunate Event” Test in New York

One of the key issues in many insurance disputes is the number of “occurrences,” which are presented by a particular set of facts relating to a claim submitted by the policy holder. In its recent decision of Nat’l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co. v. Itzkowitz, the Second Circuit was called upon to determine whether the events surrounding an incident on the highway involving three separate vehicles were part of one single occurrence under New York law. The events surrounding this
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Malicious Prosecution and Trigger of Occurrence Based Coverage

In Selective Ins. Co. v. RLI Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90572 (N.D. Ohio July 13, 2015), a coverage dispute arose after an individual who, following his exoneration from a criminal conviction for rape and murder, sued the municipality who had pursued the criminal case against him. During the relevant time period, the municipality held successive one year policies with two primary insurers and two excess insurers. The first excess policy ran from policy 1997 -1998 and the second ran
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If It Looks Like An Intentional Act And Sounds Like An Intentional Act, Then It Is An Intentional Act

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Tandon, 2015 WL 1395925 (D. Conn. Mar. 25, 2015), involved homeowners and personal umbrella policies issued to the policyholders, Sapna Tandon and Robert Doohan. The policies provided coverage for damages arising from an “occurrence.” In May 2010, the policyholders were involved in an altercation with Frank and Donna Genna. The Gennas brought suit against the policyholders, in addition to twelve other defendants, for injuries allegedly sustained in the altercation. The Gennas collectively asserted ten causes of
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Fourth Circuit Finds “Pill Mill” Action Alleges “Occurrence”

In Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. J.M. Smith Corp., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3989 (4th Cir. Mar. 13, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed that Liberty Mutual was required to defend J.M. Smith Corporation, a wholesale pharmaceutical distributor sued for failing to implement sufficient controls over the distribution of prescription drugs, contributing to a well-publicized prescription drug abuse epidemic in West Virginia caused by excessive prescription drug orders. The Attorney General of West Virginia
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