California Insurance Litigation Blog

California Insurance Litigation Blog

Category Archives: General Liablity

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The Reasonable Expectations of the Covered Party, Even an Additional Insured, Determines the Interpretation of Ambiguous Policy Language

Posted in Case Updates, Duty to Defend, General Liablity, Policy Interpretation
In California, courts have long held that where a policy provision is ambiguous because it is susceptible to multiple interpretations, the reasonable expectation of the covered party governs.  But which parties’ objectively reasonable expectations should govern where there are both a named insured and an additional named insured claiming coverage?  In its significant decision in … 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

Insurers Forfeit Their Protections Under Civil Code Section 2860 (Cumis Statute) When They Fail to Meet Their Duty to Defend Obligations

Posted in Attorneys' Fees, Case Updates, Duty to Defend, General Liablity
If you want to read an important case on Cumis counsel and the consequences to insurers who fail to fulfill their obligations relating thereto, we have one for you.  J.R. Marketing LLC v. The Hartford Cas. Insurance Co., __ Cal.App.4th __ (May 17, 2013).  This case has a lot to offer: Cumis counsel, attorneys’ fees, … Continue Reading

California Court Holds That Third-Party Plaintiffs Can Bring Claims Against Defendant’s Insurer for Breach of Contract and Bad Faith After a Settlement

Posted in Case Updates, General Liablity, Insurance Bad Faith
In a case of first impression, the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District held that a plaintiff who sued a defendant and settled the case can later sue the defendant’s insurer directly for breach of contract and bad faith concerning a medical expense provision.  This unprecedented decision potentially opens a new avenue for … Continue Reading

California Courts Give Effect to the Intent of the Parties to an Insurance Contract

Posted in Breach of Contract, Case Updates, General Liablity, Property & Casualty Insurance
A recent California Court of Appeals decision served as a reminder of the long-standing rule in California that the mutual intent of the parties will always control the interpretation of potentially conflicting provisions in an insurance contract.  In its recent decision in Gemini Ins. Co. v. Delos Ins. Co. (Dec. 5, 2012, B239533) __ Cal.App.4th … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Amends Opinion in Du v. Allstate removing policyholder friendly language

Posted in Auto Insurance, Case Updates, General Liablity, Insurance Bad Faith
We recently wrote about a policyholder friendly opinion by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that seemingly held that an insurer’s duty of good faith and fair dealing, which is implied in every contract of insurance, may be violated by the insurer’s failure to attempt to effectuate a settlement within policy limits after liability of … Continue Reading

Bad Faith Liability May Be Premised on an Insurer’s Failure to Effectuate Settlement When Insured’s Liability Was Reasonably Clear

Posted in Assignment of Claim, Auto Insurance, Case Updates, General Liablity, Insurance Bad Faith
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a recent decision held that an insurer’s duty of good faith and fair dealing, which is implied in every contract of insurance, may be violated by the insurer’s failure to attempt to effectuate a settlement within policy limits after liability of its insured has become reasonably clear.  In … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Upholds Insurance Coverage for Health Net Finding The “Dishonest Acts” Exclusion Did Not Preclude Coverage

Posted in Case Updates, Duty to Defend, ERISA, General Liablity
In Health Net, Inc. v. RLI Insurance Company, et al., the California Court of Appeal, Second District, reversed a trial court’s entry of judgment on a Motion for Summary Judgment finding some coverage for Health Net, Inc. (“Health Net”) in connection with numerous lawsuits filed against it arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of … 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

Excess Insurer v. Agent – No Right of Equitable Subrogation Under California Law

Posted in Agent/Broker, Excess Insurance, General Liablity
Delving into the sometimes arcane metes and bounds between insurers’ rights of equitable subrogation and equitable contribution, a California appellate court recently denied an excess insurer’s right to bring an equitable subrogation action against its insured’s agent for failing to renew another excess insurer’s policy that would have covered the same underlying bodily injury risk.  … 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

Right to Jury Trial Trumps Binding Arbitration When Insurer Unreasonably Delays Paying Independent Defense Counsel

Posted in Case Updates, Duty to Defend, General Liablity, Insurance Bad Faith, News
In an article appearing in the April 12, 2010 editions of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, I discuss the impact of the California Fourth Appellate District’s Intergulf Development, LLC. v. Superior Court (Interstate Fire & Casualty Company). Here it is: In an important vindication of a California policyholder’s right to a jury … Continue Reading