Brandon Zeller

All articles by Brandon Zeller


Catch-All RORs? South Carolina Again Says No

The South Carolina Supreme Court reaffirmed that when an insurer reserves rights to deny coverage, the specific grounds stated in the insurer’s reservation of rights letter are critical. In reaffirming a much-discussed decision from earlier this year, the court refused to consider policy defenses asserted by an insurer because the insurer failed to properly reserve its rights to contest coverage. According to the opinion, the insurer’s letter (1) failed to notify the policyholders of the particular grounds upon which it
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Bad Faith Without Dishonest Motive, Self-Interest, or Ill-Will? Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Decide

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to review an appellate court decision in Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company, a case dealing with whether a showing of “dishonest motive” or “ill-will” is necessary to prove that an insurance company acted in bad faith. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision will be its first word on the definition of “bad faith” as used in the Pennsylvania bad faith statute. In Rancosky, a husband and wife, both cancer patients, filed a lawsuit
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Seventh Circuit Finds Coverage for State’s Suit Seeking Costs of Drug Addiction

States and municipalities around the country have sued pharmaceutical companies for their alleged role in increasing levels of addiction and overuse of pharmaceutical products. These suits have given rise to insurance coverage disputes over whether such claims are covered under the pharmaceutical companies’ policies. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has now weighed in on one such dispute and held that West Virginia’s suit seeking recovery of costs it incurred to provide services to citizens addicted to
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Georgia Joins Growing Consensus that Lead-Based Paint is a Pollutant

For the first time, the Supreme Court of Georgia declared that lead-based paint is a “pollutant” as the term is used in the absolute pollution exclusion of a commercial general liability policy. The plaintiff, Amy Smith, individually and on behalf of her daughter, sued her landlord, Bobby Chupp for injuries the daughter sustained as the result of ingesting lead from deteriorating lead-based paint at the house Smith rented from Chupp. Chupp held a CGL policy issued by Georgia Farm Bureau
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Exceptionally Navigating Abstention: Northern District of Illinois Applies the Colorado River Doctrine to Stay Arbitration

An insurer and a policyholder entered into an agreement, or didn’t they? Either way, the Northern District of Illinois doesn’t have to decide because “exceptional circumstances” triggered the Colorado River abstention doctrine, allowing the court to stay the case asking it to determine whether the agreement existed. A policyholder and one of its insurers began having disputes about who had to provide coverage for certain claims. As a result of those disputes, the policyholder and the insurer allegedly entered into
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Attorney-Negotiated Medical Discounts Reduce Tort Victim’s Recovery

The Louisiana Supreme Court has issued the first ruling from a state’s highest court on the issue of whether a tort victim’s potential recovery in a lawsuit is diminished when her attorney negotiates medical discounts on her behalf. The court ruled that tort victims can only recover the lower rate for medical services they actually pay. The case, Hoffman v. 21st Century N Am. Ins. Co., No. 14-2279, 2015 La. LEXIS 1962 (La. Oct. 2, 2015), dealt with the collateral
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