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Tag: CGL


Yours, Mine, and Ours: Florida Court Holds Wrap Exclusion Applies Equally to Named and Additional InsuredDec 07, 2016

Gregory Podolak (SDV Southeast Managing Partner) has a new article in Insurance Matters, the newsletter of the Florida Bar’s Insurance and Surety Committee: In today’s construction market, large-scale projects are commonly insured under consolidated insurance (“wrap-up”) programs, where the owner, general contractor, and most subcontractors are covered under the same primary and excess liability policies. This scheme functions as an alternative to traditional risk transfer, which relies on the individual…

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Something Stinks – But It Isn’t This Alabama District Court RulingOct 21, 2016

As our State by State Survey on CGL Pollution Exclusions shows, the definition of the word “pollutant” can be ambiguous in the insurance context. Recently, an Alabama federal judge held that sewage was not a pollutant for purposes of the pollution exclusion in a CGL policy. This is a positive result for policyholders, and is part of what we hope is a positive trend towards courts limiting the pollution exclusion…

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Insurers Overreach With Non-Union Labor ExclusionJun 24, 2016

Policyholders need to be aware that insurance companies are attempting to restrict CGL coverage through exclusions for liability caused by non-union labor. While these “Non-Union Labor Exclusions” vary in form, coverage is generally excluded for liability (including bodily injury and property damage) resulting from or caused by “temporary” or “casual” workers. “Casual” workers are defined as any “non-union” labor employed by an insured for a short time and limited purpose….

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Superfund Informational Request Triggers Duty to DefendMay 19, 2016

Policyholders may remember when it was groundbreaking for courts to characterize the EPA’s Potentially Responsible Party letters as a “suit,” triggering the duty to defend under a Commercial General Liability policy. Going a step further in favor of policyholders, the Ninth Circuit recently determined that EPA informational request letters should also be characterized as a “suit.” In 2008, Ash Grove Cement Company received an EPA informational request letter concerning contamination at…

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Fourth Circuit Opens a Portal to Coverage for Data Breach under CGL PolicyApr 13, 2016

On April 11, 2016, the Fourth Circuit held that a records storage company was entitled to a defense under its CGL policy for a class action lawsuit claiming that the company failed to safeguard confidential medical records. In affirming the decision of the US District Court for the District of Virginia, the Fourth Circuit commended the District Court for its thorough and sound legal analysis and agreed that the class…

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Relying on the CGL Policy to Protect You from Professional Risk is a Recipe for DisasterMar 18, 2016

In a recent article for the AGC’s Constructor e-Newsletter, SDV’s Gregory Podolak and Turner Construction’s Kevin King discussed how “Relying on the CGL Policy to Protect You from Professional Risk is a Recipe for Disaster”… The complex world of construction risk transfer is a hotbed of emerging and evolving issues, with critical issues constantly being shaped by case law and the practical realities of day-to-day business transactions. Among the numerous…

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Texas Court Rules EPA Proceedings Trigger Duty to DefendFeb 04, 2016

In a significant win for policyholders, the Texas Supreme Court refused to revisit its 5-4 decision that a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a “suit” within the meaning of the Commercial General Liability policy.  The decision entitles policyholders to a defense under the policy. The decision came in McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co. et. al. and solidified the court’s…

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Read our New State by State Survey on CGL Pollution ExclusionsJan 26, 2016

SDV is proud to introduce a new State by State survey showing each state’s interpretation of the CGL pollution exclusion. Some courts adopt a narrow construction, limiting the exclusion to “traditional” environmental contaminants (such as toxic waste). Other courts adopt a broad construction, applying the exclusion to any substance that can be considered an irritant or contaminant (including materials found in nature, and everyday cleaning products). The interpretation of the…

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Why Choice of Law MattersJan 06, 2016

In our newest Case Alert, attorneys Dave Jordan and Phil Brown-Wilusz discuss the importance of choice of law assessment when it comes to insurance coverage litigation. Just as parties to an insurance contract have varying opinions of the coverage afforded, the courts themselves are often divided on their legal interpretations of policy language. A policy exclusion that is broadly construed in one state may be narrowly applied in another. Choice…

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A Little Knowledge of CGL Policies Can Go A Long WayDec 09, 2015

In a recent article for the Connecticut Law Tribune, SDV’s H. Scott Williams wrote on the importance of attorneys understanding the responsibilities of both insurer and policyholder when it comes to commercial general liability (CGL) insurance… It’s no secret that insurance companies have tremendous expertise and knowledge when it comes to drafting and interpreting insurance policies. However, insurance carriers frequently rely on policy interpretations that are unsettled or inconsistent with a court’s…

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New Case Alert: Maryland Appellate Court Broadly Interprets Critical Additional Insured LanguageNov 16, 2015

An intermediate appeals court in Maryland recently joined the ranks of other jurisdictions in finding broad coverage available for additional insureds under standard policy language. This case is important: not only is it the first time a Maryland court has interpreted the 2004 version of the additional insured endorsement, but the holding also continues a trend of courts against limiting the endorsement’s “caused, in whole or in part” language to…

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New Jersey Supreme Court to Decide Whether Defective Construction Constitutes an “Occurrence”Nov 06, 2015

The New Jersey Supreme Court will enter the fray to decide whether consequential damages caused by the faulty work of a subcontractor constitute “property damage” and an “occurrence” under a general contractor’s CGL Policy. Should the Court affirm the Appellate Court’s decision, which held that consequential damages constitute “property damage” caused by an “occurrence,” it will be taking the first step in correcting a series of anti-policyholder decisions on the…

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The FAA Strikes Back: $1.9 Million Dollar Penalty for Unauthorized Drone FlightsOct 07, 2015

Recent FAA Action Reinforces the Need for Appropriate Risk Transfer Here is a strong reminder that commercial drone use is not without risk, and insurance coverage analysis must be a priority. The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) recently announced a proposed $1.9 million fine against Chicago-based SkyPan International, Inc. (“SkyPan”), representing its largest fine ever for drone operation. SkyPan, a provider of panoramic and aerial photography, is alleged to have flown…

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Emerging Issues in Cyber InsuranceOct 06, 2015

Last Friday, SDV’s Stella Szantova Giordano was quoted in Law360’s article, “A Cyberattack Survival Guide For Policyholders.” The article provided useful insights for companies on accessing insurance coverage in case of a cyber breach, particularly in today’s climate where our clients often have to respond to the aftermath of a breach suffered by one of its vendors or business partners. Stella specifically commented on customer liability and issues related to…

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New York Appellate Court Reinforces Broad Coverage for Additional InsuredsAug 24, 2015

In construction, subcontractors are often asked to obtain additional insured coverage for contractors who hire them. Worksite injuries are common, and in New York, injured parties sue frequently. That is why additional insured coverage is vitally important. Recently, an appellate court in New York issued a pro-policyholder decision which will be helpful to companies who seek additional insured coverage, primarily when the insurance policy uses certain specific language. Click here…

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