Saturday, November 29, 2014
   
Insurance Sidebar :: Amy Stewart PC’s Law Blog on Insurance Coverage Issues Minimize

SCOT Confirms the “No-direct-action” Rule Applies to Non-monetary Claims for Declaratory Relief

In a per curiam opinion issued Friday, the Texas Supreme Court confirmed third-party plaintiffs do not have standing to assert claims for declaratory relief against a liability insurer before establishing the insurer’s legal obligation to pay damages . 

In In re Essex Insurance Company, the Court granted Essex’s request for mandamus relief after the trial court refused to dismiss declaratory judgment claims filed by Rafael Zuniga in a personal injury suit Zuniga filed against San Diego Tortilla (“SDT”).   Zuniga lost his hand while operating a tortilla machine at SDT’s manufacturing facility.  Zuniga alleged that he was working as an independent contractor at the time of the injury, not as SDT’s employee.  

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NAIC Appoints Cyber Risk Task Force

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on November 19 announced the formation of a task force to gather information on how cyber-related risks are currently insured.  he task force will also coordinate NAIC initiatives regarding the protection of public information maintained by the various state departments of insurance and information collected and maintained by insurers. According to the NAIC news release, “[t]he creation of the task force is a reflection of the NAIC's growing commitment to addressing cyber security in the insurance sector.”

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Former GC Tracy Schrader Joins Dallas Insurance Coverage Boutique Amy Stewart Law

DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.

Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.











DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.



Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.
DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.



Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.
DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.



Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.
DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.



Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.
DALLAS – Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law is pleased to announce the addition of Tracy Schrader as Of Counsel.



Mr. Schrader’s legal track record includes serving in various general counsel positions, having been appointed Vice President and General Counsel of a public company (Home Choice) at age 30, and promoted to President of one of the largest privately held telecommunications tower ownership companies in the country (TrinTel) at age 35. After the successful sale of TrinTel and prior to joining Amy Stewart Law, he launched and managed a boutique law firm providing general counsel services to various companies.

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Dallas’ Amy Stewart Law Recognized Among Best Insurance Coverage Firms

The Dallas insurance coverage boutique Amy Stewart Law has been recognized for the firm’s expertise in Insurance Law in the 2015 Best Law Firms list published by U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America.

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Texas High Court to Consider the Meaning of “Physical Injury” in Standard CGL Policies

The Fifth Circuit noted an absence of both controlling precedent regarding whether the terms “physical injury” or “replacement” are ambiguous and any case law interpreting these terms.  For that reason and because these issues have been, and will likely continue to be, the subject of far-reaching insurance litigation, the Fifth Circuit certified these questions to the Texas Supreme Court...

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Amy Stewart Profiled in Texas Super Lawyers

Amy Stewart was profiled in the just-published issue of Texas Super Lawyers. Here's a snippet:
Amy Elizabeth Stewart is a self-proclaimed nerd. She is currently talking about scrutinizing an insurance policy dealing with an evolving coverage area that includes computer hacking.

'It’s cyber, which I really love. It’s new. I love getting to see the policies and compare them – they’re not standardized,' she says. 'And I just got giddy. It was embarrassing.'

Her reaction may seem extreme to those of us who view policy language with the excitement usually reserved for actuarial tables or tax code, but it shows how well-suited she is to her area of practice.

'It’s just hashtag: nerd alert,' she says. 'I enjoy the analysis. I enjoy the problem-solving. And I enjoy the advocacy.'

Click here to see the full text of "She's Got You Covered."

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Texas Super Lawyers Names Amy Stewart One of Top 100 Lawyers in D-FW, Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas

Amy Elizabeth Stewart has been named to the 2014 list of Texas Super Lawyers. She has also been included on the Texas Super Lawyers list of the Top 100 lawyers in Dallas-Fort Worth and Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas.

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United National v. AMJ May Have Insurers Seeing Red

Our Texas Supreme Court must be having the time of its life. Over the past few years, the High Court has issued a number of watershed decisions that have changed the way we think about insurance. On the heels of its decision last year in Lennar Corp. v. Markel American Insurance Co., and with the Deepwater Horizon case on the horizon, the Court is knee deep in liability policies.

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Amy Stewart Named Among Nation’s Best Lawyers

Congratulations to Amy Elizabeth Stewart for being selected to the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America based on her successful work for clients in insurance law cases. This is the third consecutive year that Ms. Stewart has been recognized by Best Lawyers, one of the nation’s premier guides to the country’s top lawyers.

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Is Monkey Business Covered?

In a news article yesterday, the Washington Post discussed the thought-provoking question on everyone’s mind:  “If a monkey takes a selfie in the forest, does he own it”?  Take British nature photographer David Slater, to wit, who is currently gridlocked in a legal battle with Wikimedia Commons over the copyrights to a selfie taken by crested black macaque in 2011, while Slater was in Indonesia.  

The now-famous photo, published here with permission, has spurred controversy as to whether the intellectual property rights belong to Slater, the monkey, or the people at large.

The battle began in earnest after the images showed up on Wikipedia, and then on Wikimedia Commons, an internet-based encyclopedia.  Slater maintains that Wikimedia’s use of the photos, which are available to the public for free, have hurt his business.  According to a similar article published by Reuters, Wikimedia claims that the photos are in the public domain, “because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested,” and has declined to remove the photos from its website.

Equally as interesting though, is whether all this monkey business is covered by insurance.  Claims for injunctive relief, which would force Wikimedia to remove the photographs, are typically not covered by standard insurance products.  However, David’s claim for damages may be covered as a “personal and advertising injury” liability under Wiki’s general liability policy.  And more likely than not, given that the Wikimedia is behemoth media publisher, David’s claims are covered under a specific media content or media liability policy.     

Either way, we are rooting for David, and not just because Wikimedia’s claim that the photos are the property of the public domain simply because David didn’t push the button of his own camera is inherently unfair.  See for yourself.   The monkey is cute, but David…David takes a pretty good selfie too!
(David J Slater)



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Debunking the Stowers Myths :: Common Misperceptions Explained (Part III)

This is the third installment in an eight-post series examining common “Stowers myths,” which can obscure application of an insurance company’s duty to behave in a reasonably prudent manner in responding to settlement demands.  If you are beginning here, you may want to visit the first post, here, to learn more about the basic parameters of the Stowers doctrine. MYTH #3  ▪  The insured can make a Stowers demand that triggers an insurer’s duty to ...

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We Just Upped Our Game -- Meet Tarron Gartner-Ilai!

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Recent Airline Disasters May Have Private Carriers and Reinsurers on the Run

In the wake of the two recent Malaysia Airlines tragedies and escalating global conflicts, speculation is swirling on the international front about the future of aviation insurance. While standard aviation hull and liability insurance applies to airline accidents caused by pilot error or aircraft safety issues, war risk insurance kicks in when an airline mishap is caused by an act of war or terrorism, as in the case of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines crash and the shelling of Libya’s main airport just over a week ago.

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Debunking the Stowers Myths :: Common Misconceptions Explained (Part II)

In this eight-post series, we are examining the most common “Stowers myths” that sometimes confuse the practical application of an insurance company’s duty to behave in a reasonably prudent manner in responding to settlement demands.  If you are new to the series, you may want to start here, at the beginning, to learn more about the basic parameters of the Stowers doctrine.  MYTH #2  ▪   The settlement demand must be in writing to trigger the ...

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Debunking the Stowers Myths :: Common Misconceptions Explained

When an insurance company fails to act reasonably in rejecting or failing to respond to a settlement demand, it may be subject to extra-contractual liability under the long-standing Stowers doctrine.  First articulated more than 80 years ago in G.A. Stowers Furniture Company v. American Indemnity Company, 15 S.W.2d 544 (Tex. Comm’n App. 1929), the common-law Stowers duty  applies when:  (1) the claim against the insured is within the scope of coverage; (2) the demand for sett ...

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Amy Stewart Law is a boutique law firm that represents policyholders in insurance coverage litigation and bad faith, with an emphasis in directors & officers liability, fiduciary liability, professional liability and other specialty liability coverages.



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  • insurance coverage litigation
  • bad faith litigation
  • policy interpretation & analysis
  • insurance review & planning advice
  • mediation | insurance coverage
  • mediation | bad faith
  • advice | insurance disputes
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