Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
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THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS CONSIDERS EXHAUSTION REQUIREMENT IN EXCESS UM LIABILITY POLICIES UNDER GEORGIA LAW. THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT UPHELD THE POLICY EXHAUSTION REQUIREMENTS

Recently, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Coker v. American Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co., 825 F.3d 1287 (11th Cir. 2016) (applying Georgia law) held that UM policy exhaustion requirements were enforceable under Georgia law. The Court found that Georgia's UM statute did not transform excess policies into primary policies.

IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON INSUREDS DO NOT WAIVE ATTORNEY-CLIENT AND WORK-PRODUCT PRIVILEGES WHEN THEY SEEK THE COURT'S APPROVAL OF A COVENANT JUDGMENT SETTLEMENT WHICH ASSIGNS TO THE ADVERSE PARTY THE INSURED'S BAD FAITH CLAIM AGAINST THE INSURER

In Steel v. Philadelphia Indemnity Ins. Co., 195 Wash.App. 811, 381 P.3d 111 (Wash. App. 2016), the Washington Court of Appeals held that insurance companies do not waive attorney-client privilege or work product protection when their insured enters into a covenant judgment settlement that is subject to judicial determination as to reasonableness. In Steel, a day care center's employee was convicted of child rape and child molestation of two children at the day care center. At the time, the defendants were insured under a Philadelphia Indemnity policy providing $1M in coverage. Plaintiffs offered to settle their claims for $4M which was rejected by Philadelphia. Shortly before trial was scheduled to begin, the insureds entered into a $25M covenant judgment settlement with the plaintiffs, receiving a covenant not to execute in return, for an assignment of the insureds' bad faith claims against Philadelphia.

INSURANCE COMPANIES HAGGLING OVER RELEASE LANGUAGE CAN RESULT IN BAD FAITH LIABILITY

In Barickman v. Mercury Cas. Co., 2 Cal.App.5th 508, 206 Cal.Rptr.3d 699 (2d Dist. 2016), an insurance company's refusal to consent to additional release language which was designed to preserve the claimant's rights to receive criminal restitution from the insured tortfeasor caused the case not to settle and, as a result, it was found that the insurance company breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by not doing all that it could do within its power to effectuate the settlement.

THE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT, IN A SPLIT DECISION, REAFFIRMED THE "FOUR-CORNERS" RULE GOVERNING A LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY'S DUTY TO DEFEND

The High Court confirmed that under Wisconsin Law there were no exceptions to the rule that extrinsic evidence cannot create a duty to defend.

NEW YORK APPELLATE COURT REJECTS THE CREATION OF AN UNAVAILABILITY EXCEPTION TO NEW YORK'S RULE REQUIRING UNINSURED PERIODS TO BE ALLOCATED TO THE INSURED IN CONTINUOUS AND PROGRESSIVE LOSS CASES

New York Law requires insurance companies to allocate continuous, progressive losses on a pro rata basis among all triggered policies based upon a time-on-the-risk allocation model. The New York Appellate Court recently rejected an invitation to create an unavailability exception to the allocation rule so that insurers were not required to indemnify the insured for periods when liability insurance was unavailable in the marketplace.

Duty to Defend Decision in the LA Supreme Court

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT RECENTLY HELD THAT THE DUTY TO DEFEND IN LONG LEGACY DISEASE CASES SHOULD BE PRORATED BETWEEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THE INSURED IN SITUATIONS WHERE AN OCCURRENCE-BASED POLICY PROVIDED COVERAGE FOR ONLY A PORTION OF THE TIME FOR WHICH THE EXPOSURE OCCURRED.

NEW YORK APPELLATE COURT REJECTS THE CREATION OF AN UNAVAILABILITY EXCEPTION TO NEW YORK'S RULE REQUIRING UNINSURED PERIODS TO BE ALLOCATED TO THE INSURED IN CONTINUOUS AND PROGRESS LOSS CASES

New York law requires insurance companies to allocate continuous, progressive losses on a pro rata basis among all triggered policies based upon a time-on-the-risk allocation model. The New York Appellate Court recently rejected an invitation to create an unavailability exception to the allocation rule so that insurers were not required to indemnify the insured for periods when liability insurance was unavailable in the marketplace. 

Four Corners Rule Upheld in WI Supreme Court Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a split decision, reaffirmed the "four corners" rule governing a liability insurance company's duty to defend. The High Court confirmed that under Wisconsin law there were no exceptions to the rule that extrinsic evidence cannot create a duty to defend.

THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT RECENTLY HELD THAT THE DUTY TO DEFEND IN LONG LEGACY DISEASE CASES SHOULD BE PRO RATED BETWEEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THE INSURED IN SITUATIONS WHERE AN OCCURRENCE-BASED POLICIES PROVIDED COVERAGE FOR ONLY A PORTION

In Arceneaux, et al. v. Amstar Corp., et al., 299 So.3d 277, 2015-0588(La., 9/7/16), the Louisiana Supreme Court allocated the costs of defending long legacy disease claims between the insurer and insured based on a time-on-the-risk allocation model. Under existing Louisiana law, an insurer's duty to indemnify was to be prorated among insurance carriers based on a time-on-the-risk approach the insurance carriers that were on the risk during the period of exposure to the injurious conditions. While the law in Louisiana was settled regarding time-on-the-risk pro rata allocation applying to indemnification, there was no Louisiana precedent on whether the insurer's duty to defend could also be pro rated among the insurers and the insured during periods of self-insurance in long latency disease cases. The Court then adopted the time-on-risk method of allocation for defense costs, adopting the reasoning of the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Ins. Co. of North America v. Forty-Eight Insulations, Inc., 633 F.2d 1212 (6th Cir. 1980), clarified on re'hrg 657 F.2nd 814 (6th Cir. 1981), cert denied, 454 U.S. 1109 (1981). The Louisiana Court found that the pro rata allocated scheme was an equitable system.

Louisiana Supreme Court Adopts Pro Rata Allocation Of Defense Costs Approach On Long Latency Disease Cases

In Daniel Arceneaux, et al. v. Amstar Corp., et al., 2015-0588 (La. 9/7/16), 2016 WL 4699163 (La. 9/7/16), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that in long latency disease cases the cost of the duty to defend should be prorated between the insurers and the insured when occurrence-based policies provide coverage for only a portion of the time during which the exposure occurred. The weight of authority in the country supports the conclusion that in situations where the insured is self-insured for part of the coverage periods involved that the insured must bear a pro rata share of the defense costs. See Barry R. Ostrager & Thomas R. Newman, Handbook on Insurance Coverage Disputes, ยง 6.02(a)(2) (17th ed. 2014). The Court noted that the joint and several approach was not reasonable because it would treat an insured who had uninterrupted policies for 20 years the same as an insured who had a triggered policy for one year. Under the joint and several approach, the insured would be entitled to receive coverage for a period in which it did not pay a premium. Additionally, the joint and several allocation approach provided disincentives to insureds to purchase uninterrupted insurance coverage and would provide a windfall to companies that failed to obtain continuous coverage. The pro rata allocation method, by contrast, promoted risk spreading.

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