SDV Insights

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Insurance Salesman had No Fiduciary Duty to Policyholders

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a life insurance salesman had no fiduciary duty to his customers where the customers retained decision-making authority regarding which policies to purchase.

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Florida's New Statute of Repose for Construction Defect Claims

On June 15, 2017, Governor Rick Scott ratified H.B. 377, which amends Florida's statute of repose for construction defect claims to include, for the first time, a definition for contract completion.

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Refinery Power Outage Illuminates Importance of Service Interruption Coverage

In an action filed against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in the Eastern District of California last month, Valero Refining Co. alleges it sustained damages in excess of $75 million, including costs to restore operations and lost profits from decreased output, as a result of a power outage to its Benecia, California refinery. See Valero Refining Co. -- California v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 2:17-cv-01359-TLN-EFB (E.D.Cal. June 30, 2017).

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Connecticut District Court to Review Proposed Class Action in Defective Concrete Suit

Thousands of Connecticut homeowners have fallen victim to a defective concrete epidemic. Over the last thirty years, the foundation in many homes, particularly in the Northeast region of the state, was built with a concrete aggregate that contained the mineral pyrrhotite.

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Additional Insured Coverage Under Excess Policies

SDV Partner Gregory Podolak recently published “Additional Insured Coverage Under Excess Policies,” a ...

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Texas Court Denies Exxon a La Carte Coverage

In April, the Court of Appeals of Texas held that a party seeking additional insured coverage under an umbrella general liability policy issued by Lexington Insurance Company cannot reap the benefits of being an additional insured, and simultaneously avoid the limitations of an arbitration clause contained in the policy.

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Massachusetts High Court Holds insurers Have No Duty to Prosecute Counterclaims on Behalf of Their Insureds

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has held that an insurer's duty to defend does not include a duty to prosecute or fund its insured's affirmative counterclaim against a third party under an employment practices liability insurance policy. The insured manufacturer in this case was sued for wrongful termination by a former employee whom the manufacturer accused of misappropriating company funds, and intended to pursue a counterclaim to recover the money.

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Insurer Appeals Dismissal of Subrogation Claim Against Freight Carrier

An insurer of a pharmaceutical company is appealing a New Jersey District Court's dismissal of its subrogation claim against a freight carrier that was transporting a $9 million pharmaceutical shipment when it was stolen.

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SDV Amicus Brief Contributes to Policyholder-Friendly Outcome

The Rhode Island Supreme Court recently relied on an SDV amicus brief to decide a case favorable to policyholders. In Amberleigh Hudson v. GEICO Insurance Agency, 2017 WL 2622777 (R.I. June 16, 2017), the Court held that an automobile passenger was still "occupying" the vehicle for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage after exiting the vehicle to help an accident victim.

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State Supreme Court Cases Highlight Importance of Wording in Earth Movement Exclusions

In Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Company v. Chaber, the West Virginia Supreme Court recently held that an insurance policy's earth movement exclusion was unambiguous and applied to both manmade and natural earth movement. The Court also found that a narrow "ensuing loss" exception to the exclusion that provided coverage for glass breakage resulting from earth movement could not be extended to cover the entire loss.

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