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Congratulations Richard W. BrownJan 02, 2018

Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. (SDV) is pleased to announce the elevation of Richard William Brown to partner with the firm effective January 1, 2018.  Mr. Brown is based in the firm’s Connecticut office. Rich consistently demonstrates a strong commitment to the firm’s mission of the highest quality advocacy on behalf of policyholders nationwide, providing practical guidance in all lines of insurance coverage. Rich is a graduate of the Quinnipiac…

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No General Liability Coverage for an Obstacle Course Race InjuryOct 11, 2017

With the rise in popularity of obstacle course racing, millions have participated in races like Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash in the last ten years.  Although serious injuries are rare relative to the number of participants, several recent incidents have caused race companies and participants to question whether their insurance will cover injuries sustained during one of these extreme competitions.  Many race directors and venue owners…

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Not So Unambiguous: California Court of Appeal Finds Coverage for Additional InsuredOct 05, 2017

In early September, California, again, proved itself to be a pro-policyholder state, in a recent court of appeal decision.  The court of appeal stated that manuscript additional insured endorsement language which provided coverage, “but only with respect to liability arising out of ‘your work’ and only as respects ongoing operations . . .” and “but only with respect to liability arising out of ‘your work’ which is ongoing . ….

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PA High Court: Proof of Insurer’s Ill Will is Not Required for Bad Faith ClaimSep 29, 2017

On September 28, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered an opinion adopting a two-part test for proving a claim under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute.  To prevail on a statutory bad faith claim, “the plaintiff must present clear and convincing evidence (1) that the insurer did not have a reasonable basis for denying benefits under the policy and (2) that the insurer knew of or recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable…

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The Connecticut Appellate Court Finds Single Auto Policy Limit Applies to Two ClaimsSep 29, 2017

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently held that a single “per-person” auto policy limit of insurance applied to a spouse’s loss of consortium claim because it was not truly independent from the related bodily injury claim. Amica Mut. Ins. Co. v. Piquette¹ involved an automobile accident between an individual insured by Amica Mutual Insurance Company (Amica) and Bryan Piquette.  The insured caused the accident, which resulted in serious physical injury to Mr….

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Hurricane Harvey: Understanding the Insurance Aspects, Immediate Actions for Risk ManagersAug 31, 2017

As it’s been more than 10 years since a major hurricane made landfall in the U.S., Hurricane Harvey will test many risk managers’ insurance programs and response plans.  Such disasters are complex, and decisive decision-making could mean the difference between staying in business and closing for good. In this Alert, SDV’s Gregory Podolak and Frank Russo of Procor outline, in clear language, what risk managers need to know about large-scale…

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A General Contractor’s Guide to Additional Insured CoverageAug 09, 2017

LAW360.com recently surveyed attorneys to offer tips for what general contractors should – and shouldn’t – do when pursuing additional insured coverage.  According to the article, “With the broad array of risks present on a typical construction site, one of a general contractor’s top options to shield itself from liability for property damage and bodily injury claims is to secure expansive “additional insured” coverage through its subcontractors.” In the piece,…

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Massachusetts High Court Holds Insurers Have No Duty to Prosecute Counterclaims on Behalf of Their InsuredsJun 26, 2017

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.  The…

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SDV Amicus Brief Contributes to Policyholder-Friendly OutcomeJun 23, 2017

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. Ms. Hudson was seated in her boyfriend’s parked car when…

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State Supreme Court Cases Highlight Importance of Wording in Earth Movement ExclusionsJun 15, 2017

The West Virginia Supreme Court recently held that an insurance policy’s exclusion for loss resulting from earth movement “caused by an act of nature or is otherwise caused” unambiguously excluded coverage for property damage resulting from a landslide that resulted, at least in part, from manmade causes.  This result is significantly different from an older Florida Supreme Court case, which held that an earth movement exclusion that did not unambiguously exclude…

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New York Court of Appeals Finds a Proximate Cause Standard in Additional Insured EndorsementsJun 09, 2017

In The Burlington Insurance Company v. NYC Transit Authority, et al., No. 2016-00096, the New York Court of Appeals issued a landmark decision with regard to the meaning of “caused, in whole or in part, by” in the additional insured context. In a split decision, the court rejected Burlington Insurance Company’s argument that the language implied a “negligence” standard, but held that coverage was provided to the additional insured only…

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California Governor Signs SB 496 Amending California’s Anti-Indemnity StatuteMay 17, 2017

The bill amends Cal. Civ. Code § 2782.8 as it applies to indemnity agreements with design professionals. The pre-existing § 2782.8 prohibited public agencies from requiring indemnity from design professionals for anything other than claims arising out of, pertaining to, or relating to the negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct of the design professional. Under the newly passed bill, the indemnity restrictions imposed on public agencies when contracting with design professionals…

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Construction – All Wrapped-Up?Apr 04, 2017

On April 6, SDV attorney Jeffrey J. Vita presented “Construction – All Wrapped-Up?” as a part of Advisen’s 2017 Casualty Insights Conference. This panel session explored the technical differences between owner-controlled insurance programs (OCIP) and contractor-controlled insurance programs (CCIP). Panelists discussed the pros and cons of each type of program. “The Advisen conference was a perfect venue for a lively and interactive discussion centered on comparing and contrasting OCIPs and…

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“The Hidden Traps of Wraps”: SDV Partner Theresa A. Guertin Presents at ABA Annual SeminarMar 16, 2017

Earlier this month, SDV partner Theresa A. Guertin attended the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee annual seminar in Tucson, Arizona.  The seminar draws policyholder and insurer counsel from across the country in a three-day event. At the conference, Theresa presented a roundtable on “The Hidden Traps of Wraps,” which focused on the complex issues that arise on projects insured with wrap-up insurance programs. “The discussion…

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SDV Supports Rhode Island Auto Policyholders in Amicus BriefJan 30, 2017

SDV recently filed an amicus curiae brief in the Rhode Island Supreme Court in support of insured motorists and passengers injured while rendering aid to other motorists. In Hudson v. GEICO, Amberleigh Hudson heard a collision while she was sitting in her boyfriend’s car. Ms. Hudson got out to assist at the accident and was struck by another car. The at-fault driver did not have sufficient insurance to cover Ms….

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