SDV Insights

The "Expected or Intended" Erosion of the Duty to Defend in Opioid Litigation

The opioid crisis in America is undoubtedly one of the most pervasive and unrelenting public health emergencies that our country has faced in recent memory. Consequently, our nation's court system has been taxed with the unenviable job of weighing the moral and legal ramifications of the pharmaceutical industry's actions in the context of an ever-growing number of opioid-related lawsuits.

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Safeguarding Coverage Integrity: Vigilance in the Face of Insurance Backtracking

In a lawsuit resulting from Zurich American Insurance Company ("Zurich") and American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company's ("AGLIC") sudden change in coverage position, the First Circuit recently certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court the question of whether rainwater accumulating on a roof meets the definition of 'surface waters' under Massachusetts law.

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Ninth Circuit Agrees Insured's Long-Term Disability Claim Not Barred by Res Judicata

In Kayle Flores v. Life Insurance Company of North America ("Flores II"), the Ninth Circuit agreed with the insured and reversed the Central District of California's finding that her Long-Term Disability claim was barred by res judicata.

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Florida's New Pre-Suit Notification Requirement: Retroactive or Prospective Application?

Florida's newly formed Sixth District Court of Appeal ("Sixth DCA") recently certified conflict with Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on the issue of retroactive application of the pre-suit notice requirement contained in Florida Statute 627.70152.

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Clash of the Clauses - Irreconcilable "Other Insurance" Clauses Will Result in Insurers Sharing Losses Pro Rata

In National Casualty Company v. Georgia School Board Association - Risk Management Fund, the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a Georgia rule under which irreconcilable "other insurance" clauses will not be enforced.

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Top 10 Insurance Cases of 2023

Federal and state courts tackled many interesting insurance-related issues this past year. Perhaps no state had a more impactful year than Illinois, which held that construction defects could constitute an occurrence, that a LEG 3 "extension" attempting to preclude coverage for faulty or defective workmanship was ambiguous as a matter of law (applying Illinois law), and that ostensibly prohibitive "catch-all exclusions" can render policy language ambiguous in favor of coverage.

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Tenth Circuit Applies Broad Interpretation of "Interrelated Acts" to Preclude Policyholder's Access to Aggregate Limits

The Tenth Circuit's recent broad application of Oklahoma law on "interrelated acts" creates concerning precedent for policyholders seeking to maximize coverage under a professional liability policy with per claim limits.

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Insurer's Bad Faith is Actionable Tort for Purposes of Choice of Law Analysis

When an insurer handles a claim in violation of its duty to act in good faith, policyholders are often eager to sue the insurer for bad faith, seeking extra contractual damages. Before filing suit, however, it is critical that policyholders consider what state's law applies to the bad faith claim.

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Cooperating With Your Insurance Carrier: Is It a Must?

A majority of insurance policies require the insured to cooperate with the insurer. The cooperation clause generally states, "the insured agrees to Cooperate with us in the investigation, settlement or defense of the suit."

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Illinois Joins the Pack on Defective Construction as an Occurrence

Illinois joins the majority of states finding "property damage that results inadvertently from faulty work can be caused by an 'accident' and therefore constitute an 'occurrence'."

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