SDV Insights

New Jersey Court Sees Potential in Optical Services COVID-19 Coverage Suit

In Optical Services USA/JCI v. Franklin Mut. Ins. Co.,1 the New Jersey Superior Court denied the insurer's motion to dismiss the policyholders' COVID-19 coverage suit. The Plaintiffs in this case were optometrists' offices forced to close by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's Executive Order No. 107, which temporarily shut down non-essential businesses to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey.

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The Future of Pandemic Coverage for Real Estate Owners and Developers

Shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted an unprecedented number of business income and business interruption insurance claims. Many claims have resulted in litigation and require judicial intervention to determine whether private insurance carriers owe policyholders indemnification for pandemic related losses.

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Fungi, Wet Rot, Dry Rot and "Virus": One of These Things is Not Like the Other

The Hartford's so-called virus exclusion in its commercial property forms is getting a workout, and policyholders now have an argument that may help their cases move past the pleadings stage. A U.S. District Court in Florida has deemed the exclusion ambiguous and denied an insurer's motion to dismiss.

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Preventing Pitfalls in Policyholder Pandemic Pleadings: Lessons Learned from Recent Restaurant Rulings

Recently, federal courts in California and Florida dismissed claims brought by restauranteurs against their insurance companies after the insurers denied business-interruption coverage for losses related to COVID-19 quarantine orders. In both cases, the courts held that the policyholders had not sufficiently alleged that their properties had suffered "direct physical loss or damage," as required by both policies to trigger coverage.

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Fuel Thieves Strike Again, and Again, and Again... 11th Circuit Concludes Each Fuel Theft Constituted a Separate "Occurrence"

In the case of Port Consolidated, Inc. v. Int'l Ins. Co. of Hannover, PLC, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an insurance claim involving repeated thefts of fuel from a singular scheme constituted multiple "occurrences" under the insurance policy at issue. Moreover, because none of the thefts exceeded the policy's per occurrence deductible, the Court found that the insurer properly denied coverage.

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U.K. High Court COVID-19 Victory for Policyholders May Set a Trend in the U.S.

On September 15, 2020, in a matter entitled The Financial Conduct Authority v. Arch & Others1, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, the equivalent of a trial court in the U.S., issued a ruling on a COVID-19 business interruption insurance case (the "Judgment"). Significantly, the Court sided with policyholders on most key coverage issues under specific non-damage business interruption insurance coverage forms

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Lucky No. 7: Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Pro-Policyholder Decision Regarding Additional Insured Coverage for Upstream Parties

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a subcontractor's insurer was obligated to defend and indemnify the project owner's insurer for damages associated with the subcontractor's employee's personal injury lawsuit where the underlying complaint alleged negligence by the additional insureds. The case cements the notion that under Illinois law, one can significantly benefit from the facts presented in third party complaints as a basis for additional insured coverage.

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Ten Clauses You Need in Your Insurance Exhibit

Although the Construction SuperConference has been canceled this year, Michael V. Pepe was recently featured in their construction monthly reader. Check out "Ten Clauses You Need in Your Insurance Exhibit," as he addresses insurance terms that are vital to construction contracts and subcontracts.

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Required Disclosures and Notifications of Employee COVID-19 Exposure

As businesses reopen amid rising COVID-19 cases, employers must navigate through the hurdles of maintaining a safe workplace during a pandemic.

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Not Everything is a Pollutant: A Summary of Recent Cases Supporting a Common Sense and Narrow Interpretation of the CGL's Pollution Exclusion

Those of us who suffered through law school are familiar with the argument that there are fundamental rules applicable to contract interpretation and that a certain contract language interpretation would "swallow the rule." However, insurance companies have long advocated for an interpretation of the CGL policy's pollution exclusion that would "swallow the coverage" that the insureds thought they were purchasing.

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