California Insurance Litigation Blog

California Insurance Litigation Blog

Category Archives: Commercial General Liability Insurance

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Insurers Have a Duty to Defend Where a Complaint Could Be Fairly Amended to State a Covered Liability; California Supreme Court Clarifies Duty to Defend Disparagement Claims Under Advertising Injury Coverage

Posted in Breach of Contract, Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Insurance Bad Faith
An insurer has a duty to defend even if the causes of action in a lawsuit are not expressly covered by a liability policy if the factual allegations may support a potentially covered claim.  This was expansive interpretation of the duty to defend adopted by the United States District Court Southern District of California in … Continue Reading

Expert Testimony Can Help Policyholders Establish Property Damage and Survive Summary Judgment

Posted in Breach of Contract, Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Expert Testimony, Insurance Bad Faith
Policyholders often face a formidable challenge proving causation on property damage claims, particularly when insurance companies insist on deferring to their own experts and adjustors.  Of course, insurance companies must conduct reasonable investigations and review and evaluate all of the evidence before making a claim decision.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in an … Continue Reading

Insurers Have a Duty to Defend at the Outset of Litigation Even If a SIR Has Not Been Exhausted

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, General Liablity, Policy Interpretation
Insurers providing general liability insurance cannot shirk their duty to defend insureds at the outset of litigation by relying on self-insured retention (SIR) provisions in those policies unless the policies expressly and unambiguously make the insurer’s duty to defend contingent upon the SIR.  So held the Fourth District Court of Appeals in American Safety Indemnity … Continue Reading

Insurer’s General Reservation of Rights Does Not Entitle Insured to Cumis Counsel

Posted in Commercial General Liability Insurance, Directors & Officers Insurance, Duty to Defend, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance
In a recent ruling, the California Court of Appeal held that an insurer’s general reservation of rights to deny coverage of damages outside its policy does not create a conflict of interest with the insured, such that the insured in entitled to Cumis counsel.  The decision in Federal Insurance Co. v. MBL, Inc. __ Cal. … Continue Reading

Insurers May Intervene and Assert the Same Rights as Their Insured’s to Contest Both Liability and Damages

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, Property & Casualty Insurance
Under certain circumstances, an insurer has the right to intervene in a case against its insured to protect its own rights and to avoid harm to the insurer.  These circumstances usually involve cases where an insured is either prevented from appearing and defending, or simply chooses not to and a default is taken against the … Continue Reading

Why Does The Pollution Exclusion in California Insurance Policies Exclude Asbestos Building Contamination But Not Pesticide Building Contamination?

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Bad Faith, Legal Articles, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance
According to a recent California appellate court decision, a contractor’s negligent release of asbestos fibers during the removal of asbestos-containing acoustical spray in a condominium complex is excluded by the pollution exclusion in a homeowner association’s property and liability policy, despite a 2003 California Supreme Court ruling that a contractor’s negligent spraying of pesticide in … Continue Reading

New ED CA Decision is a Feast of First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Principles

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, General Liablity, Insurance Bad Faith, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance
Every now and then a court decision comes along that is a virtual one-stop shop for basic insurance coverage and bad faith principles—a primer for newbie insurance attorneys and a refresher for seasoned litigators.  Chief Judge Anthony Ishii’s recent decision granting in part and denying in part an insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Holds That Theft of Cash Does Not Trigger a Defense or Indemnity for “Loss Of Use” Under a CGL Policy

Posted in Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend
Co-written with Associate Joshua Malter In Advanced Network, Inc. v. Peerless Ins. Co., 2010 Cal. App. LEXIS 2078 (Dec. 10, 2010) the California Fourth Appellate District concluded that the theft of $2 million in cash from an insured’s client did not trigger a commercial general liability (CGL) insurer’s duty to defend or indemnify the insured against … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Extends CGL Insurer’s Duty to Defend “Suits” To An Administrative Proceeding

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend
In a closely watched case the California Supreme Court recently expanded the scope of a comprehensive general liability insurer’s (CGL) duty to defend “suits” to an adjudicative proceeding before the former United States Department of Interior Board of Contract Appeals (now the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals).  Ameron International Corp. v. Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Issues Strong Decision Emphasizing Insurer’s Obligations Regarding the Duty to Defend Insureds in Slogan Infringement Action

Posted in Commercial General Liability Insurance
In an important decision favoring policyholders, the Ninth Circuit recently discussed the breadth of an insurer’s duty to defend its insured under California law, even where no potentially covered causes of action are alleged in the underlying complaint. The Ninth Circuit just issued this decision in Hudson Insurance v Colony Insurance, addressing coverage in trademark … Continue Reading

In a Case of First Impression, California Court of Appeal Extends the Duty to Defend Under a CGL Policy

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, News
Commercial General Liability (“CGL”) policies that cover personal injury and property damage require CGL carriers to defend “suits,” typically defined to mean “a civil proceeding in which damages . . . to which this insurance applies are alleged.”  A question arises as to whether the process prescribed by the Calderon Act (the Calderon Process) is a” civil … Continue Reading

The Continuous Injury Trigger: A Cat-and-Mouse Game

Posted in Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, General Liablity
The Thursday July 17, 2010 edition of the San Francisco Daily Journal featured my article, entitled “The Continuous Injury Trigger: A Cat-and-Mouse Game,” in the Perspective column. It explains a recent case from the California 4th Appellate District which rejected a CGL insurer’s attempts to apply a “double trigger” to narrow the “continuous injury trigger” based on the standard … Continue Reading

California Court Finds Coverage for Patent Infringement Claims Under CGL Policies

Posted in Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend
In a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held, for the first time under California law, that patent infringement can be covered as a “misappropriation of advertising ideas” under the advertising injury coverage of a general liability policy, where the patent is on a method of web based advertising. In Hyundai … Continue Reading