South Carolina High Court Allows Malpractice Claim by Insurer Against its Assigned Defense Counsel

Early March, in a narrow, carefully worded opinion, a divided Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled that a liability insurer may sue an attorney it retained to defend its insured where the attorney’s breach of its duty to the insured proximately causes the insurer damage. The decision adds South Carolina to the growing list of states that recognize a malpractice cause of action by an insurer against its assigned defense counsel. See Sentry Insurance Co. v. Maybank Law Firm, LLC, — S.E.2d
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Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Course on Trigger for Malicious Prosecution Claims

An Illinois Appellate Court established a new rule for when malicious prosecution occurs and triggers coverage under a liability policy. In Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, the court determined that the triggering event for malicious prosecution coverage is the claimant’s exoneration, rather than the initiation of the alleged malicious prosecution. The rule established in Sanders is in direct contrast with a number of Illinois decisions, including several in the past few years that had held that the commencement of the
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NY Court Clarifies Pleading Standard for “Consequential Damages” in Coverage Litigation

The Appellate Division of New York’s Supreme Court, First Department, recently overturned a trial court’s dismissal of an insured’s claim for consequential damages on a pre-answer motion to dismiss.  While the decision sheds light on the degree of specificity required at the pleading stage to sustain an insured’s claim for consequential damages, it does little to clarify the level of proof required to prevail on such claim at trial.       The coverage dispute among the parties in D.K. Property, Inc.
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The Duty to Defend Additional Insureds in Post-Burlington New York

Anyone with a connection to the insurance coverage world in New York knows about the New York Court of Appeals 2017 decision in Burlington Ins. Co. v. NYC Transit Auth., 29 N.Y.3d 313 (2017), which held that “where an insurance policy is restricted to liability for any bodily injury ‘caused, in whole or in part’ by the ‘acts or omissions’ of the named insured, the coverage applies to injury approximately caused by the named insured.”  At the time the decision
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UM Insurer Loses the Form Battle But May Yet Win the Coverage War

In GEICO Indem. Co. v Perez, 2018 WL 4495557 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2018), not only was Geico Indemnity Company and Geico General Insurance Company (collectively GEICO) forced to go to trial against their insured because the trial court denied GEICO’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the insured was entitled to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage but the jury also found that the insured had been severely injured due to the negligence of an un insured motorist, entitling him to
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Timing a Petition to Remove

It’s no secret the federal court is the preferred forum for litigating insurance coverage issues. When considering whether to remove, one factor to always consider is whether any defendant is a citizen of the State in which the action will be brought. Should that be the case, the Forum Defendant Rule dictates that the matter is no longer removable once the forum defendant has been properly joined and served. How does this impact a yet-to-be served forum defendant who is
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Just the Fax: New Jersey Rules that Actual Property Damage is Required for Violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Proof of a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), without corresponding evidence of either “physical injury to tangible property” or “loss of use of tangible property,” is not enough for an insured to establish that the claims against it alleged “property damage” under a CGL policy, according to the New Jersey Appellate Division’s recent decision in Penn National Insurance Company v. Group C Communications, Inc., 2018 WL 3625424 (N.J. App. Div. July 31, 2018).  In Group C Communications,
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Waiver Rears its Head: Equitable Subrogation Against “Other Insurance” Waived by Failure to Preserve Rights

Questions of “other insurance” arise whenever two or more insurers could provide coverage for a claim against a common insured. If one insurer is put in the position of settling a claim when other insurers who may also owe coverage do not contribute, reserving and pursing rights against other insurers should never be an afterthought. An insurer recently learned this lesson when it failed to assert rights against another insurer before agreeing to provide coverage for the settlement of a
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Failure To Plead That Excess Liability Policies Were Implicated Leads To Dismissal Of Third Party DJ Complaint

In this declaratory judgment action, the court held that defendants Travelers Indemnity Company  and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company  (Travelers) had a duty to defend its insured Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company (Chicago Tool) for silica- and asbestos-related claims, prompting Traveler to file a second amended third party complaint against Chicago Tool’s other insurers, AIU Insurance Company  (AIU), Century Indemnity Company (Century Indemnity), Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (Liberty Fire), Trygg-Hansa Insurance Company, Ltd. (Trygg-Hansa), and Industria Insurance Company (Industria).  In
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“Other Insurance” Language Irrelevant to Priority of Coverage Where Excess Policy’s Coverage Has Not Been Triggered

This declaratory judgment action arises out of a dispute between two excess insurance providers, and stems from a settlement in an underlying personal injury claim. The plaintiff, GEICO, which contributed to the settlement, sought reimbursement from defendants Ohio Casualty Group, Ohio Casualty Insurance Company and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, which did not participate in the settlement.  The other policy provided that it was excess above $10 million, but did not specify a specific policy which it was excess to. GEICO
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