Between the Lines

A Discussion of Case Law and Statutory Law Affecting Commercial Lines of Insurance

Recent Posts

Posted In: Policy Application

Attempt to Void Coverage Has No Teeth Due to Ambiguities in Policy Application

It is well-established that ambiguities in an insurance policy are construed against an insurer.  In Schultz v. Tilley, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has confirmed that this principle applies equally to…

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Posted In: Intentional Acts

Spoiled Scallops are an Occurrence Under a General Liability Policy

The Massachusetts Appeals Court Recalibrates from its Narrow Interpretation of an Occurrence in a 2014 Tree-Clearing Case Most general liability policies provide coverage for property damage caused by an “occurrence,”…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

If the Claim Isn’t Covered, Does the Insurer Get Its Defense Costs Back?

In Holyoke Mutual v. Vibram USA, Inc., 33 Mass.L.Rptr. 564, Superior Court Judge Mitchell Kaplan found that Massachusetts law does not permit an insurer to recoup defense costs it has…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend, Intentional Conduct

Do Allegations of Intentional Conduct Relieve an Insurer of Its Duty to Defend?

In Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Casey, 2017 WL 1186467 (Mass. App. Ct. 2017), Casey, Williams, and others, teenagers, smoke marijuana and consumed alcohol at a fiesta, then left…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Does an Additional Insured Get Coverage When the Named Insured Has Done Nothing Wrong?

Interpreting the duty to defend broadly, a Massachusetts superior court case addresses when an additional insured is entitled to a defense – a frequently-occurring but always confusing scenario. Much hinged…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

A Chapter 93a Demand Letter Is Not a “Suit” and Therefore Does Not Trigger a Duty to Defend

In 1990, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a demand letter from the EPA to a potentially responsible party (PRP) under CERCLA is the functional equivalent of a suit…

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Posted In: Attorney fees, Bad Faith, Settlement

Appeals Court Rules on Pre-Notice Defense Fees, Capping Defense Counsel’s Rates, Settlement Allocation

In a decision of significance on many hot-topic issues in coverage law, the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided Rass v. Travelers earlier this month. The court found that: an insurer has no…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Bill Cosby Scores Victory for Insureds Interpreting “Arising Out Of” Exclusions

AIG unsuccessfully sought to disengage itself from Bill Cosby by seeking a declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify Cosby in three underlying suits. The decision is…

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Posted In: Intentional Acts

When Intentional Conduct Isn’t Intentional Enough to Disclaim Coverage

Two recent federal appeals decisions demonstrate that, in most cases, an allegation of intentional conduct is not enough to relieve insurers of the duty to defend under personal injury coverage….

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Posted In: Environmental

Does New York’s Viking Pump Decision Help Massachusetts Policyholders Argue for Expanded Insurance Coverage for Some Long-Tail Environmental Liabilities?

The New York Court of Appeals’ recent Viking Pump opinion may help policyholders who seek to argue that — notwithstanding the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s application of pro rata allocation…

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