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This summer, two courts weighed in on two California choice of law principles: the “place of performance” of an insurance policy determines which state’s law governs the interpretation of the policy and a California court will not apply another state’s law where the issue is a fundamental rule of public policy. In Arrow Elec., Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 775 Fed. Appx. 305 (9th Cir. 2019), the Ninth Circuit held that Alabama law applied to a coverage dispute under an insurance policy issued in California arising out of environmental contamination in Alabama, reasoning that the parties intended that…
In Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co., Case No. 12-3289 (C.D. Ill. Sep. 26, 2019), the court held that Cincinnati Insurance Company (“Cincinnati”) owes coverage for H.D. Smith’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by the State of West Virginia arising out of the opioid crisis (“the West Virginia Lawsuit”). Three years ago, the Seventh Circuit held that Cincinnati owed a duty to defend H.D. Smith in the West Virginia Lawsuit in one of the few published opinions weighing in on whether opioid-related claims may be covered under commercial general liability insurance policies. Relying heavily on…
In Navigators Ins. Co. v. American Home Assurance Co., 2019 WL 2583253, — S.W.3d —- (Mo. Ct. App. 2019), the Missouri Court of Appeals held that a commercial general liability insurance policy provided no coverage for claims that an electrical cooperative wrongfully installed fiber optic cable on electrical transmission easements. The court held that there was no “property damage” coverage because the use of the easement did not involve tangible property damage and there was no “personal and advertising injury” coverage because the electrical cooperative was not the “owner” of the property on which it was alleged to…
UPDATE: The Third Circuit recently affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Transportation Ins. Co v. Heathland Hosp. Group LLC, — Fed. Appx. —-, 2019 WL 3383876, at *1 (3d Cir. July 26, 2019), a case which we wrote about last year.  Transportation arose out of a car accident in which the plaintiff’s husband was fatally injured when he was struck by a driver who allegedly became intoxicated at a country club whose drink sales were allegedly managed by the insured. The dispositive issue was whether coverage was barred by liquor liability exclusion,…
In Pennsylvania Manufacturers Indem. Co. v. Pottstown Industrial Complex, LP, 2019 WL 3281746, — A.3d —- (Pa. Super. Ct. July 22, 2019), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held an insurer owed a duty to defend its insured against a tenant’s claim for damage to its inventory from flooding during rainstorms as a result of the insured’s alleged failure to maintain the roof of the building.  Distinguishing well-established Pennsylvania law holding claims for faulty workmanship do not constitute an “occurrence,” the court held the insurer owed a duty to defend because the complaint alleged the insured’s faulty work resulted in…
In Hershey Creamery Co. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., No. 1:18-CV-694, 2019 WL 1988397 (M.D. Pa. May 6, 2019), the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held a patent and trademark infringement lawsuit against an insured triggered a duty to defend under “personal and advertising injury” coverage.  The dispositive issue was whether the complaint, which was premised on alleged infringement on the plaintiff’s marks in the insured’s in-store signage and milkshake containers, potentially alleged an “advertisement,” which was defined to mean, in relevant part, “a paid announcement that is broadcast or published in the print,…
The holidays are a great time for reflection, and in that spirit, we here at the CGL Dispatch Blog would like to take a brief look back at some 2018 cases in which high courts addressed commercial general liability insurance coverage issues. Kentucky and Ohio Supreme Courts Hold Faulty Workmanship Is Not An “Occurrence” Early this year, Tressler published a 50-State Survey addressing whether claims for faulty workmanship qualify as an “occurrence” under commercial general liability insurance policies. Does Faulty Workmanship Constitute An “Occurrence”?  In 2018, two high courts weighed in on the issue.  In Martin/Elias Properties, LLC v. Acuity,