Between the Lines

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

Recent Posts

Posted In: Duty to Defend

Massachusetts Appeals Court Confirms the Right of a Liability Insurer Defending Without a Reservation of Rights to Control Defense and Settlement Even Where the Policyholder Disagrees with the Insurer’s Defense Strategy

The Court Also Confirms That Massachusetts Applies A Per Se Rule That A Reservation of Rights Creates A Conflict Entitling A Policyholder To Independent Counsel.  A dispute concerning liability insurance…

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Posted In: Policy Construction

Insurance for Airport Risks

The Devil is in the Details Three recent cases involving insurance for airport or aviation risks demonstrate that, as with insurance coverage generally, small details in insurance policies can have…

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Posted In: Intentional Conduct

Retaliation is “Inherently Willful,” and Therefore Excluded, Court Rules

An Insurer’s Duty to Defend a Town Ended When the Suit Against the Town Over an Airport Permit Was Reduced to an Excluded Retaliation Claim. Frustrated when the Norwood Airport…

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Posted In: Cyber Liability

Computer Fraud Policy Covers Wire Transfer Theft Induced by “Spoofed” Email

COURT REJECTS INSURER’S ARGUMENT THAT POLICY’S “DIRECT LOSS”  REQUIREMENT IS NOT MET IF THE INSURERED TAKES STEPS TO  INITIATE THE WIRE TRANSFER.   As email spoofing schemes have proliferated, so…

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Posted In: Cyber Liability

Court Finds No Cyber Coverage for Victim of Email Scam

How Can A Firm Protect Against This Risk?  Loss Was Not “Directly Caused” By Use Of Computer Where the Insured Authorized and Initiated a Wire Transfer to Scammer’s Bank Account…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

General Liability Insurer Has No Claim Against Workers Compensation Insurer For Defense Of Suit Barred By Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity

  Workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee against her employer for a workplace injury.  However, as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge recently concluded, the fact that a…

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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: Uncategorized

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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