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Pennsylvania Federal Court Reinforces The Principle That Liability Policies Insure Against Legal Obligations Owed To Others

Defense and indemnity obligations owed under liability policies depend on the allegations made in the underlying lawsuit. In NVR, Inc. v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co., 2019 WL 989393 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2019), NVR, an additional insured under a CGL policy sought coverage for two lawsuits that arose out of a heater explosion at a construction site. NVR was the defendant in personal injury litigation. In a separate lawsuit, NVR sought recovery for property damage that it incurred due to the

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Congratulations, World! Atmospheric CO2 Levels Have Not Been This High in the Past Three Million Years

The world set a new record in May 2019, at least on a human perspective. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 reached 415.26 ppm on May 14, as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a level not seen in the past three million years. To put that into perspective, the last time atmospheric concentrations of CO2 were this high, there were no humans on Earth. This was the Pliocene Epoch, where global temperatures were on average 2-3°C (3.6-5.8°F) higher than today; the

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Fifth Circuit: False Imprisonment Caused “Bodily Injury” During Subsequent Policy Periods Sufficient to Trigger Coverage

In a notable deviation from decisions across the country, the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that injuries from false imprisonment could be sustained after the actual false imprisonment itself ended, triggering two insurers’ duty to defend. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Mitchell, No. 17-60291, 2019 WL 2276694 (5th Cir. May 29, 2019). The insurers, whose policies did not come into existence until after the false imprisonment ended, were found obligated to defend a Mississippi County in a civil rights lawsuit stemming from

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Eleventh Circuit Holds Unlicensed Professional Was Not Engaging In “Professional Services”

The courts frequently apply insuring agreements broadly. However, in a recent decision, a court narrowly applied the definition of “professional services” to restrict coverage. Specifically, in Chapman v. Ace American Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit determined the services provided by an individual holding himself out as a counselor did not constitute “professional services.”     The underlying lawsuit concerned Mark and Barbara Chapman’s ten-year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD and had a history of behavioral problems. The Chapman family

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Absent Policyholder Demand To Settle, Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Bad Faith Action Against Insurer After Unexpected Excess Judgment

The Seventh Circuit, applying Illinois law, recently tackled the highly-charged issue of a bad faith claim against an insurer for failing to settle for the policy limit. In Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC v. American Physicians Assurance Corp., Inc., the Seventh Circuit closely scrutinized the facts and affirmed the trial court’s decision that the insurer did not act in bad faith.  The coverage dispute arose between the Surgery Center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, LLC (Surgery Center)

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Climate Change Litigation: Where Are the Coverage Suits?

There is an interesting question surrounding the present generation of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the court system. Specifically, where are the duty to defend actions related to these suits? Background By way of background, there are two types of climate change lawsuits currently working their way through the courts: Those filed by government entities that seek to hold energy companies responsible for the costs that government entities are forced to expend in adapting to climate change,

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Contractual Liability Exclusion Defeats General Contractor’s Bid Against Six Insurers for Defense and Indemnity in West Virginia

West Virginia’s highest court recently handed down a well-articulated decision on the scope of a CGL policy’s insuring agreement and exclusion for contractual liability, which could be influential to other courts who struggle with these commonly-litigated issues. On May 1, 2019, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously upheld summary judgment to six insurance companies in a declaratory judgment action relating to a property developer’s suit against its general contractor over construction defects at a shopping center. The insurers

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