Michael A. Hamilton

All articles by Michael A. Hamilton

 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Bad Faith Does Not Require Proof of an Insurer’s Self-Interest or Ill-Will

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today that the Pennsylvania bad faith statute does not require a plaintiff to prove that an insurer was motivated by self-interest or ill-will when denying benefits under an insurance policy. Instead, the court’s decision in Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company adopted the standard established by the Pennsylvania Superior Court 23 years ago in Terletsky v. Prudential Property & Casualty Company, under which a bad faith claim is established by clear and convincing evidence that the insurer did not
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Polluting the Plain Meaning of Policy Exclusions

The scope of the pollution exclusion in liability policies continues to be a highly-contested insurance coverage issue. One of the more recent debates in this area is whether the pollution exclusion’s application is limited to “traditional environmental pollution” or whether the exclusion should be afforded its plain and ordinary meaning, similar to other policy exclusions. The Vermont Supreme Court recently sided with insurers on this issue, holding that a policy’s pollution exclusion should be treated with the same analysis as
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Not So Fast: Despite Policy Rescission, New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Auto Insurer Liable to Injured Third-Party

The New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether the issuer of a basic automobile insurance policy, voided due to a fraudulent application, is still on the hook for liability claims of innocent third parties in Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange v. Sabrina Perez, et al. (A-67 September Term 2013)(073384) 2015 N.J. LEXIS 871 (N.J. Aug. 13, 2015). Sabrina Perez applied for an automobile insurance policy with Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange (CURE), choosing a “basic” coverage policy with an optional $10,000 coverage limit
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Bad-Faith is a One-Way Street in Kentucky, Sixth Circuit Holds

In State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Hargis, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7475 (6th Cir., May 6, 2015) the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, interpreting Kentucky law, refused to recognize an insurer’s reverse bad faith claim against a policyholder that intentionally set fire to the insured property in order to collect insurance proceeds. The insurer brought a declaratory action to declare the policy void. The policyholder asserted counterclaims for bad faith. The policyholder filed
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