Articles Posted in Insurance Law

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After Liberty refused to provide High Point a defense pursuant to the terms of insurance policies providing coverage for advertising injuries, the district court granted High Point's motion for partial summary judgment. The underlying litigation stemmed from Buyer's Direct's claim that High Point's Fuzzy Babba slipper infringed on the Snoozie's design patent. The Second Circuit agreed with the district court that as used in the counterclaims and with the additional context of the discovery demands in the underlying litigation, the term "offering for sale" includes advertising, such that Liberty owes High Point a defense. However, the court held that Liberty's duty to provide a defense did not arise until High Point provided Liberty with discovery demands served in the underlying litigation. Therefore, the district court vacated the award of damages and remanded for the district court to determine the amount of legal fees incurred from that point forward. View "High Point Design, LLC v. LM Insurance Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's summary judgment dismissal of all claims in the Second Amended Complaint against defendants in an action stemming from construction projects with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The court held that MES's claims failed to articulate any support for its accusations that Safeco breached its contractual obligations or engaged in bad faith or tortious conduct. The court noted that the claim that Safeco acted inappropriately by attending the cure meetings was particularly frivolous. In this case, MES failed to identify any good faith basis, in law or on the basis of the agreements at issue, for its assertion that Safeco had no right to take steps to meet its obligations under the surety bonds. The court sua sponte awarded Safeco double costs. View "M.E.S., Inc. v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America" on Justia Law

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Utica and Clearwater appealed from the district court's summary judgment orders regarding Clearwater's obligations to Utica under five facultative reinsurance policies. The Second Circuit held that Clearwater's liability was expense-supplemental because its obligations under the reinsurance contracts followed Utica's expense-supplemental obligations under the umbrella policies. The court vacated and remanded for the district court to determine whether this obligation encompasses certain expenses. The court vacated and remanded the cross-appeal because Utica failed to demonstrate its entitlement to a judgment that Clearwater was bound to indemnify Utica according to Utica's settlement with its insured. View "Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Clearwater Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment that Interstate breached its contractual duty to indemnify the Archdiocese under certain excess insurance policies. The Archdiocese appealed from an amended judgment that Interstate's breach did not violate the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA). At issue were two contract provisions invoked by Interstate to deny coverage for sexual abuse by priests: the exclusion for assault and battery, and the coverage grant for occurrences that unintentionally and unexpectedly result in personal injury. The court held that the Exclusion applied only to a person "acting within the scope of his duties," and that the assailant priests were not acting within the scope of their duties when they committed sexual assault of children. The court held that Interstate was bound to indemnify the Archdiocese for all sums it was obligated to pay arising out of any occurrences or happening during the period of insurance. The court also held that the Archdiocese failed to demonstrate a violation of CUIPA. View "Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. v. Interstate Fire & Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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AEI filed a declaratory judgment action alleging that Lincoln was barred from challenging the validity of a life insurance policy because the two‐year contestability period had lapsed. The district court granted AEI's motion for summary judgment. The Second Circuit held that the contract did not contain a choice-of-law provision and thus New York conflict-of-law rules governed the dispute. The court held that, because those rules instructed the courts to look to the "center of gravity" of the events at issue to determine which state's substantive law applied, and the center of gravity in this case was New York, New York's substantive law applied. In this case, applying New York's substantive incontestability law barred Lincolnʹs challenges to the policy. View "AEI Life, LLC v. Lincoln Benefit Life Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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At issue in this case was whether the record contained sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict that a continuing course of conduct tolled the statute of limitations, Connecticut General Statutes 52‐577. The Second Circuit certified the following question to the Connecticut Supreme Court: Is the trial evidence legally sufficient to support the jury's finding that the statute of limitations was tolled at least through October 21, 2010, rendering the Insurer's claim timely? View "Evanston Insurance Co. v. William Kramer & Associates, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in its interpretation of the contracts under the court's prior precedent and therefore, the court vacated the original judgment and remanded to the district court for reconsideration of the contracts employing standard principles of contract interpretation. The appeal stemmed from a dispute between Century and Global over the extent to which Global was obligated to reinsure Century pursuant to certain reinsurance certificates. The court held that the district court's determination that the contract was unambiguous was premised on an erroneous interpretation of New York state law. The court explained that the district court should construe each reinsurance policy solely in light of its language and, to the extent helpful, specific context. View "Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action, alleging that defendants (insurance providers, banks, and credit card companies) targeted credit card holders with fraudulent solicitations for illegal accidental disability and medical expense insurance policies. Plaintiffs were among the cardholders who purchased those policies, which plaintiffs allege were void ab initio because they violated New York insurance law. Although plaintiffs did not suffer qualifying losses or make claims for coverage, they argued that they are nevertheless entitled to reimbursement of the premiums and fees they paid defendants, plus enhanced damages, based on quasi‐contract, civil fraud, and statutory claims. The district court dismissed the suit, reasoning that plaintiffs could not establish the injury‐in‐fact element of Article III standing. The court concluded the policies were not void ab initio because under a New York savings statute, plaintiffs would have received coverage had they filed claims for qualifying losses, N.Y. Ins. Law 3103. The Second Circuit vacated, stating that an Article III court must resolve the threshold jurisdictional standing inquiry before it addresses the claim's merits. The district court’s analysis conflated the requirement for an injury in fact with the underlying validity of plaintiffs’ arguments, and engaged a question of New York state law that the state courts have yet to answer. View "DuBuisson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court properly denied an insurance company's motion to rescind a life insurance policy on the basis of misrepresentations made by the deceased when applying for the policy. The district court properly relied on Pinette v. Assurance Co. of America, 52 F.3d 407 (2d Cir. 1995), and FDIC v. Great American Insurance Co., 607 F.3d 288 (2d Cir. 2010), the court's most recent decisions on when, under Connecticut law, an insurer may rescind a policy because of an insured's misrepresentation. The court held that the district court correctly identified Pinette and Great American Insurance Co. as setting the controlling standards in this case and did not err in applying the facts of this case to the controlling standards. View "Principal National Life Insurance Co. v. Coassin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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In the underlying case, employees of SAIC, the lead contractor on New York's CityTime project, were convicted of conspiring to obtain bribes and kickbacks from one of SAIC's subcontractors. Federal, the insurer of SAIC, petitioned for mandamus relief to challenge the district court's denial of its application for restitution under the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3771. The Second Circuit denied the petition and held that, assuming Federal could overcome various procedural obstacles, its petition would nonetheless fail on the merits because the district court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded that SAIC's own criminal conduct precluded it—and, by extension, Federal—from obtaining restitution. The court vacated the district court's order summarily dismissing Federal's petition in an SAIC employee's forfeiture proceedings, holding that the district court failed to make adequate factual findings regarding whether SAIC's allegedly unclean hands should bar it from obtaining an equitable remedy, and if such a remedy remained available, whether the property was traceable to bribes and kickbacks actually obtained at SAIC's expense. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Federal Insurance Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law