Eighth Circuit Holds Company Name is Not “Advertisement” Under Insurance Policy

On Thursday, March 26, 2015 the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals defined the term ‘slogan’ in affirming a lower court’s decision that a company name that did not express position, stand, or goal and was not “attention-getting” or educational about that company’s purported goal is not covered as an advertising injury. (See the full opinion here.) In the underlying lawsuit, Excell Consumer Products brought claims against Smart Candle under the Lanham Act, alleging the battery-operated candle maker infringed its copyrights
Continue reading...

New Jersey Federal District Court Sheds Light on “Use of Motor Vehicle” Standard in New Jersey Omnibus Statute

In Carolina Casualty Insurance Co. v. Travelers Property Casualty Co., Civ. No. 09-4871, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150002 (Oct. 22, 2014), the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey interpreted the “use of a motor vehicle” standard under New Jersey’s omnibus motor vehicle insurance statute in finding coverage under a commercial auto policy.  The decision represents a liberal and broad interpretation of commercial auto policies triggering coverage – even where none arguably exists – for public policy
Continue reading...

Second Circuit Confirms Prejudice Not Necessary for Dismissal of Reinsurance Claim Under Illinois Law

In AIU Insurance Co. v. TIG Insurance Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16513 (2d Cir. Aug. 27, 2014), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals applied Illinois law and affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a reinsurance claim for reasons of late notice alone, declaring that the reinsurer was not required to demonstrate prejudice as a result of the delay. In the underlying action, the AIU Insurance Company issued several umbrella policies to the Foster Wheeler Corporation in the early 1970’s
Continue reading...

Not All Policy Provisions Play Nicely Together

The dispute arose when Western Heritage sought reimbursement from Century Surety for settlement payments Western Heritage made on behalf of Century Surety’s named insured, which was also the indemnitee of Western Heritage’s named insured.  The district court held in denying Western Heritage’s summary judgment motion, in pertinent part, that Western Heritage’s other insurance provision did not create a mechanism for it to seek contribution for payments made pursuant to its Supplementary Payments provision. As background, an employee of a subcontractor
Continue reading...

SCOTUS Rules for Hobby Lobby

On June 30, 2014, SCOTUS issued the last two decisions of the 2013-2014 term. The last of those two decisions was the long-awaited Hobby Lobby decision. The issues in Hobby Lobby were whether closely-held corporations could be required to provide insurance coverage for certain types of contraception that ran contrary to their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby and the other company at issue, Conestoga Wood Specialties  Corp. are closely held for-profit corporations “owned and controlled by members of a single family”
Continue reading...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Prior Publication Exclusion To Bar Coverage for Trademark Infringement Action

In Street Surfing, LLC v. AG MLG Great American E&S Insurance Co. (9th Cir. June 10, 2014), the Ninth Circuit, applying California law, held that the policy’s prior publication exclusion barred coverage for the underlying trademark infringement action.  The court concluded that the extrinsic evidence confirmed that Street Surfing published at least one advertisement using the claimant’s advertising idea, i.e., by affixing an allegedly infringing logo to its skateboard product, prior to the inception of the first Great American policy
Continue reading...

Drug Distributing ‘Pill Mill’ Is Entitled to Defense Coverage

An insurer was required to defend a pharmaceutical drug distributor over charges that it played a role as a “pill mill,” contributing to widespread drug addiction in the state.  The underlying claim was brought against a number of pharmaceutical distributors by the West Virginia attorney general’s office.  The claim alleged both intentional and negligent conduct. The insurer argued that coverage was precluded by virtue of the intentional and criminal conduct exclusion, but the court rejected that argument, noting that the
Continue reading...