A federal court in California recently held that a D&O policy issued to Ceradyne, Inc. affords no coverage for an $11.3 million settlement of breach of fiduciary duty claims alleging that Ceradyne’s directors undervalued the company and agreed to sell it to 3M for an inadequate price. See Ceradyne, Inc. v. RLI Ins. Co., No. 2:21-cv-6373 JVS (KES), 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198217 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 31, 2022). Continue Reading California Federal Court Holds That Settlement of Post-Merger Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim Brought Against Acquired Company’s Directors Is Not Covered by Its D&O Policy
A federal court in New York recently addressed what constitutes a “final adjudication” triggering conduct exclusions. In Cumis Specialty Insurance Co. v. Kaufman, No. 21cv11107 (DLC), 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176535 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2022), the court held that the subject conduct exclusions barred defense coverage for the insured’s appeal of his criminal conviction, rejecting the insured’s argument that a “final adjudication” of excluded conduct required his appeal to be decided. Continue Reading New York Federal Court Holds That Imposition of Criminal Sentence Is “Final Adjudication” Triggering Conduct Exclusions
In a recently unsealed opinion, a trial court in Delaware granted summary judgment to three excess insurers holding that a prior knowledge exclusion in warranty letters provided to the excess insurers precludes coverage for government investigations, enforcement actions, and civil and criminal litigation concerning Infinity Q Capital Management LLC (“Infinity Q”). See Infinity Q Capital Management, LLC, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., C.A. No. N21C-07-158 EMD CCLD, 2022 WL 2902803, 2022 Del. Super. LEXIS 363 (Del. Super. Ct., Aug. 15, 2022). Continue Reading Delaware Court Holds That Warranty Letters’ Prior Knowledge Exclusion Bars Coverage
Statutory penalty interest can be a significant exposure for insurers in some jurisdictions. A court’s recent ruling in Alticor Global Holdings Inc., et al. v. American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co., et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-388, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130101 (W.D. Mich. June 8, 2022), illustrates the potentially steep cost. Continue Reading Michigan Coverage Dispute Highlights Steep Cost of Statutory Penalty Interest
Delaware state and federal courts have issued several important rulings on allocation under D&O insurance policies. Most recently, in SSC Technologies Holdings, Inc. v. Endurance Assurance Corp., No. N20C-01-088 EMD CCLD, 2022 Del. Super. LEXIS 164 (Del. Super., April 26, 2022) (Davis, J.), the court declined to apply the “larger settlement rule” for allocation when there are covered and uncovered matters. Continue Reading Recent Rulings in Delaware Courts on Allocation Under D&O Policies
A trial court in New York has granted summary judgment for a group of D&O insurers seeking a declaration that policies issued to AR Capital, LLC (“AR Capital”) do not provide coverage for settlements and consent judgments in actions alleging false and misleading SEC filings by VEREIT, Inc. (“VEREIT”), which is a real estate investment trust sponsored and managed by AR Capital. See XL Specialty Ins. Co. v. AR Capital, LLC, Case No. 650018/2019, 2021 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 444 (N.Y. Supr. Ct., Feb. 2, 2021). The court’s ruling enforces the insured capacity limitation within the D&O policies’ definition of Wrongful Act, the exception of SEC disgorgement amounts from covered Loss, and an insured capacity exclusion.
After the Fourth Circuit held that a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy could cover a data incident in 2016, confusion arose as to whether CGL policies would continue to cover data breaches. A recent California lawsuit by the smart-TV maker Vizio against two of its insurance companies shows that this confusion also arises when an insured invokes CGL policies to cover litigation arising from alleged data misuse.
A split appellate court in Pennsylvania has held that an insurer is estopped from asserting a policy exclusion that it failed to expressly raise in its reservation of rights letter. See Selective Way Ins. Co. v. MAK Servs., No. 1289 EDA 2019, 2020 Pa. Super. LEXIS 342 (Pa. Super. Ct. April 24, 2020). The court’s ruling is an important reminder that failure to properly reserve the insurer’s right to deny coverage can sometimes have significant consequences.
Coverage litigation relating to liability claims arising out of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) has been relatively non-existent. One reason for this may be insurers’ reasonable conclusion that an exclusion introduced in 2006 in response to litigation arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) applies to this new genre of privacy litigation. That exclusion, generically referred as the Violation of Statutes Exclusion, was the insurance industry response to decisions from around the country finding that TCPA violations qualified as “personal injury” under liability policies. The exclusion evolved over time and now includes a catch-all provision that applies to violations of federal or state statutes or ordinances or regulations other than the enumerated statutes referenced in the exclusion—the TCPA, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The Illinois court’s opinion in Westbend Mutual Insurance Ins. Co. v. Krishna Schaumburg Tan, Inc., 2020 Ill.App.(1st) 191384, is an example of how important the wording of that catch-all provision is for insurers seeking to rely on it to exclude coverage for BIPA violations.
In November, the Texas Supreme Court accepted a certified question from the Fifth Circuit directly calling into question the continued vitality of the well-known “eight corners rule,” under which a liability insurer can only consider the four corners of the live pleading and the four corners of its policy in deciding whether to defend its insured. As we noted in this blog when the Texas Supreme Court accepted the certified question, the case involved an ATV accident in which Jayden Mills, the young driver, was killed. His mother sued the Richardses, alleging they were negligent in failing to supervise and instruct Jayden.