Between the Lines

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

Archive for 2015

Posted In: Environmental and Toxic Torts

UPDATED – Vermont Supreme Court Rejects Argument that Pollution Exclusion Applies Only to Traditional Environmental Contamination

Updated: See below for a summary of the split on this issue in New England states. For the Second Time This Year, Vermont Court Holds That an Absolute Pollution Exclusion Is Not Ambiguous…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Attorneys Fees – How Much Does the Insurer Have to Pay When It Reserves Rights?

When an insurer wrongfully refuses to defend, it largely gives up the right to contest the reasonableness of the insureds’ legal fees. So ruled a federal district court in Wisconsin,…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

Self-Insuring Corporations Still Are Not “in the Business of Insurance” and Not Subject to c.176D Liability for Unfair Settlement Practices

In keeping with an earlier SJC case, the First Circuit found that centralized claims handling and a self-insurance fund are not enough to subject a corporation to the unfair claim…

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Posted In: Regulation

Massachusetts Approves Its First Insurer for the Uber “Coverage Gap”

But It’s Only for Members of the Military and Their Families Many were left scratching their heads when Governor Charlie Baker, announcing that USAA is the first insurer approved to…

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Posted In: Property Coverage

Statutory Limitations Period for Property Insurance Suit Not Subject to Discovery Rule

File Within Two Years of Date Of Loss Or Suit Is Barred. In a decision that provides clear guidance to policyholders and insurers, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that the…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

Does an “Intentional Acts” Exclusion Bar Coverage for a Housing Discrimination Claim?

Surprisingly, the answer is “no,” at least from the Supreme Court of Ohio. When a landlord was sued by an African American woman who claimed she was discriminated against in…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

Liquor Liability Exclusions Are Not Easy to Evade

Weighing in on the scope of a liquor liability exclusion, the Massachusetts Federal District Court recently came down on the side of the insurer. When a liquor-serving establishment was sued…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

Lawyer Sanctioned for Failing to Disclose Insurance Coverage

Attorneys of record have a duty to investigate coverage availability, a duty which includes making sure that in-house counsel’s disclosures about the coverage are accurate. So ruled the Tenth Circuit…

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Posted In: Duty to Defend

SJC Imposes “Extraordinarily Large” Damages Against Insurer, Cites “Crucial” Principle That Insurers Act In Good Faith Towards Policyholders

No Unfair Or Deceptive Conduct, But Breach of Contract Damages To Insured Do Not Duplicate Prior Settlement With Claimant Judgment Exceeds $3.5 Million for Failure to Defend Under $50,000 Policy…

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Posted In: Uncategorized

Absent Proof of “Nefarious Leveraging,” Commercial Insurers Cannot Be Found to Have Violated the Unfair and Deceptive Practices Statute

A finding that the insurer violated c.176D is not enough to find a violation of the business-to-business provision of c.93A, section 11. Just because an insurer failed to settle with…

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