Legal Updates

Liability Insurance Can Cover Loss Of Value From Loss Of A Use Permit

In the recent decision Three Sombrero, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Company, 18 C.D.O.S10377, a California appellate court held that insurance covered the loss of value of a business resulting form the business losing its permit to operate a nightclub in its premises. The case provided well-needed clarification in a confusing area of law and provides some key lessons for lawyers when pleading their cases.

Northern District of California holds that security company had no coverage for failing to stop robbery under "professional services" exclusion

Recently, a Federal judge in the Northern District of California continued the trend of reading the “professional services” exclusion broadly.  This time, to exclude coverage for a security company for security guard work.  Burlington Ins. Co. v. Bay One Security, Inc., Case No. 17-CV-04734-YGR, 2018 WL 1730425 (N.D. Cal. April 10, 2018).

Michigan court holds that driver who stepped out of vehicle and was injured was not an "occupant" for purposes of PIP coverage

A truck driver for a Michigan company, driving in Georgia was seriously injured when he was injured investigating a fire near the rear of the truck. The driver then sought benefits under a Personal Injury Policy (PIP) issued to the truck owner R-1 Express, by Sentry Insurance. Odeh v. Sentry Ins., No. 337648, 2018 WL 1403572 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2018).  His claim was denied because he was outside of the vehilce when the accident happened.

Does an insured's auto policy cover her live-in boyfriend who is planning to propose? Delaware court says no.

First-party auto insurance policies typically extend coverage beyond the named insured to their relatives, as well as others who live with and are economically dependent on them.  But who precisely that includes is not always clear.  A Delaware court recently held that an insured's live-in boyfriend was not entitled to coverage under her auto policy because he did not qualify as a "relative" or a "household resident," even though he was planning to propose when the accident happened.  Lockhart v. Progressive Northern Ins. Co., C.A. No. CPU4-17-001788, 2018 WL 1399612 (Del. Mar. 19, 2018).

Georgia appeals court will allow jury decide whether there was coverage in Mule-driven carriage collision

Following the annual Christmas parade in the city McRae, GA, the operator and passenger of a mule-drawn cart, both covered by their own respective policies through Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., were were struck from behind by a vehicle built with more modern technology. Georgia Farm Bur. Mutual Ins. Co. v. Claxton, A18A0737, 2018 WL 1573032, (Ga. Ct. App. April 2, 2018).  The passenger in the carriage sued the carriage operator to recover for his injuries in the crash. Georgia Farm Bureau then filed a declaratory judgment arguing it owed no coverage under either of the policies. The court of appeals disagreed and held that a jury had to decide two factual questions in order to determine whether coverage existed.

How Nationwide Coverage Clauses Can Affect Where You Sue

Insurance companies often contain “nationwide coverage” clauses in their policies. Generally, these clauses mean that the policy covers accidents occurring anywhere in the United States. Contracting to provide such broad coverage can subject insurers to personal jurisdiction in states where the insured resides or the covered event occurs – even if the insurance company has no employees, agents, or offices in the state and does not otherwise conduct business there. However, recently, a federal district court in California ruled that it did not have personal jurisdiction over an insurance company despite a nationwide coverage clause in the insurance policy issued by the insurer.

How the Classification of the Las Vegas Attack Affects Insurance Coverage:

After the Las Vegas mass shooting, over 450 people have filed lawsuits against entities that should have taken preventative measures to thwart the incident. Victims have sued Mandalay Bay, MGM Resorts International, and Live Nation Entertainment Inc., for failing to provide sufficient security the night of the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.

Do I need to allow my insurer to examine me under oath?

Once property loss has occurred, policyholders understandably want to move on as quickly as possible in order to get their lives and businesses up and running again. Insurance companies often share these goals . . . but not always. For any number of reasons, the insurer can slow down the recovery process to investigate the loss further.