Friday, April 18, 2014
Insurance Sidebar :: Amy Stewart PC’s Law Blog on Insurance Coverage Issues Minimize

Shelbi Barnhouse Named to Texas Super Lawyers' 2014 Rising Stars List

DALLAS--Texas Super Lawyers has named insurance coverage and business litigation lawyer Shelbi Barnhouse, of Dallas’ Amy Stewart PC, on its 2014 Rising Stars list. This is Shelbi's fifth year to be included amongst this

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Amy Elizabeth Stewart Elected to American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel

DALLAS—Insurance coverage litigation boutique law firm Amy Stewart PC is pleased to announce that firm founder and managing shareholder Amy Elizabeth Stewart has been elected to The American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC) by a unanimous vote of the ACCEC Board of Regents. The ACCEC is an organization comprised of prominent insurance coverage counsel, representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders, for the purpose of improving the quality of the practice of insu ...

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Construction Industry Prevails :: Texas Supreme Court Limits Scope of Contractual Liability Exclusion

On Friday, January 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that construction defect lawsuits alleging faulty workmanship are generally covered under a commercial general liability, concluding that the contractual liability exclusion does not operate to preclude coverage for defective work. The high court’s unanimous opinion in Ewing Construction Company v. Amerisure Insurance Company provides significant reassurance to both property owners and contractors that the liability insurance pur ...

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The Psychology in Mediating a Personal Lines Insurance Dispute

By Dana Harbin, Of Counsel Mediation is the most often used method of alternative dispute resolution. Courts order mediation in almost every case as a means of early resolution, which unquestionably benefits the judicial dockets, but when conducted appropriately, can be an effective tool in resolving even the most complex disputes. Given its popularity and success, many professionals make mediation their sole practice, schooling themselves in the art of negotiation and conflict resolution. However, not ...

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Amy Stewart PC Welcomes Emily McCall as Of Counsel

Shortly after Amy Stewart PC celebrated its fourth anniversary, the Dallas-based insurance coverage boutique firm added its third lawyer this year when Emily McCall joined the firm as Of Counsel. Emily brings to the firm a strong commercial litigation background and experience representing officers, directors, and their organizations in high-stakes situations: government investigations, internal investigations, white-collar criminal litigation, and complex business litigation o ...

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Dana Harbin Joins Insurance Boutique Law Firm Amy Stewart PC

Dallas insurance boutique law firm Amy Stewart PC is pleased to announce that Dana Harbin has joined the firm as Of Counsel. Dana is an experienced insurance coverage lawyer who has represented both insurers and insureds over the course of her career, handling litigation and pre-litigation disputes involving both first- and third-party insurance policies. For more than 20 years, Dana has provided her clients with smart, practical, and creative solutions on issues arising from c ...

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For Five Consecutive Years, Amy Elizabeth Stewart Has Been Included on the Texas Super Lawyers’ List

Texas Super Lawyers has once again included Amy Elizabeth Stewart on its list of the state’s most highly-regarded attorneys. This year marks Ms. Stewart’s fifth consecutive year on the list, recognized for her work in insurance coverage law.

Super Lawyers was recently awarded a patent for its multi-phase selection process that considers twelve distinct indicators through third-party research, peer nominations and evaluations, as well as professional achievements. This process highlights Super Lawyers' dedication to credibility and impartiality when bestowing this special recognition.

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Amy Stewart PC Welcomes Marisa Jeffrey

Amy Stewart PC welcomes Marisa Jeffrey as the newest lawyer on our team. An SMU law grad, Marisa is an avid sand volleyball player, a big Mizzou fan, and a big sister with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She found herself immediately at home – and swamped with work! Marisa is active with Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, a mentee in Transition to Law Practice, and involved with both the Dallas Bar Association Trial Academy and The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. We are truly excited to have her join us.

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Amy Stewart PC Celebrates Four Years

Four years ago, Dallas lawyer Amy Elizabeth Stewart founded the Dallas-based insurance recovery and coverage litigation boutique law firm, Amy Stewart PC. We’ve grown to four lawyers since then, added top-notch professionals in critical support staff roles, and relocated to our fabulous office space in Mockingbird Station.

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Fifth Circuit Withdraws Deepwater Horizon Opinion, Certifying Questions Regarding Scope of “Additional Insured” Coverage to Texas Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision on rehearing, the Fifth Circuit on Thursday withdrew its March 1, 2013 opinion in the Deepwater Horizon coverage litigation, which held that BP PLC (“BP”) had unlimited access to coverage as an additional insured on policies issued to the company that owned the offshore drilling unit. In re Deepwater Horizon, 710 F.3d 338 (5th Cir. 2013). Transocean Holdings, Inc. (“Transocean”) owned the Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible, mobile offshore drilling ...

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Amy Elizabeth Stewart Awarded Best Lawyer in America® – Second Consecutive Year

For the second year in a row, Amy Stewart has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice area of insurance law. To compile the list for its 20th edition, Best Lawyers, the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession, conducts a rigorous, peer-review survey that includes more than 4 million confidential evaluations by other lawyers in the same and related specialties. Best Lawyers asks attorneys to identify those peers to whom they would refer cases if th ...

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Attorneys Serving the Community’s Annual Luncheon Raised a Record Amount for its 2013 Beneficiary, Hope’s Door

Amy Elizabeth Stewart, managing shareholder at Amy Stewart PC, along with Dena DeNooyer Stroh, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Murchison Oil and Gas, co-chaired the 27th Annual Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on June 14, 2013. This year’s fundraising efforts benefited Hope’s Door, a shelter and counseling center designed to break the cycle of domestic violence. Attorneys Serving the Community (ASC) is a thriving organization of talented female ...

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Insurance 101: Florida High Court’s Ruling on Policy Ambiguity in Washington National v. Ruderman

In jurisdictions across the country, courts and practitioners alike grapple with issues of policy interpretation when the litigants disagree about the meaning of an insurance contract.

Courts typically apply generally applicable rules of contract interpretation in the insurance context. When the parties advance different policy interpretations in the context of a coverage dispute, issues arise. If the court agrees that competing interpretations are both reasonable, the policy is ambiguous as a matter of law. Then what?

The practical challenge for litigants and their counsel in any jurisdiction is determining how the court will approach conflicting interpretations

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Insurance 101: Insurance-Specific Rules for Policy Interpretation

Although the interpretation of an insurance policy is typically governed by the general rules of contract construction, some rules contain insurance-specific nuances. Each of these rules gives some advantage to the insured, on the theory that the insurer is in the best position to avoid a dispute regarding the policy’s meaning in the first instance.

Of the three rules discussed here, the doctrine of “reasonable expectations” is arguably the most insured-protective rule, triggered by confusing policy language or deceptive conduct by the insurer. Many courts adhere to the notion that exclusionary clauses, on which the insurer bears the burden of proof, should be construed narrowly in favor of coverage. Finally, at some point in the interpretative process, courts in most jurisdictions resort to the doctrine of contra proferentem—automatic construction of the policy against the insurer. These rules may be applied in connection with or after the court makes a determination of ambiguity.

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Insurance 101: Interpretation of Insurance Policy in the Eyes of the Courts

With annual global insurance premiums totaling nearly $5 trillion,[1] policyholders are focused on making sure they receive the benefit of their bargains with the insurance industry.  Add to that the fact that insurance policies aren’t the easiest documents to read and understand, and it’s not surprising that courts and practitioners alike wrestle with issues of policy interpretation in jurisdictions across the country. The basic interpretive guidelines are widely recognized by courts in most states. But when a dispute arises as the result of plausible competing interpretations, the analysis begins to unravel as courts seek to reach the “right” outcome in each case.

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Amy Elizabeth Stewart is the founding shareholder of Amy Stewart PC, 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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Practice Areas Minimize
  • 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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