Saturday, September 22, 2018
   
Insurance Sidebar :: Amy Stewart PC’s Law Blog on Insurance Coverage Issues Minimize

Category: Insurance Coverage Litigation

SCOT Drills BP's Hopes of Coverage

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in the Deepwater Horizon coverage litigation in response to questions certified by the Fifth Circuit in 2013. In an 8-1 opinion, the Texas high court limited the scope of additional insured coverage to liability assumed by the named insured in a drilling contract.

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When is a Breach Not a Breach? Greene v. Farmers Ins. Exch. and the SCOT’s Continuing Debate over the Material-Breach Rule

Last summer, the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Greene v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2014 TEX. LEXIS 757 (Tex. 2014) left many of us scratching our heads. In Greene, the Court reached the surprising conclusion – at odds with prior rulings – that the vacancy clause of a Texas homeowners policy is not “breached” by the insured’s failure to occupy the residence premises, because it does not confer an obligation upon the insured to occupy the property, but merely defines the scope of what the policy insures.

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Legal Forms Enhance New Edition of Amy Stewart’s ‘Texas Insurance Coverage Litigation’

The newly published edition of the leading desk reference for Texas insurance litigation now includes a valuable set of forms for use in drafting pleadings and other legal documents.

The 2015 edition of “Texas Insurance Coverage Litigation: The Litigator’s Practice Guide” by Dallas lawyer Amy Elizabeth Stewart of Amy Stewart Law provides legal analysis, practical tips, and annotations specific to practicing before Texas courts and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, including a focus on third-party liability policies.


DALLAS — The newly published edition of the leading desk reference for Texas insurance litigation now includes a valuable set of forms for use in drafting pleadings and other legal documents.

The 2015 edition of “
Texas Insurance Coverage Litigation: The Litigator’s Practice Guide” by Dallas lawyer Amy Elizabeth Stewart of Amy Stewart Law provides legal analysis, practical tips, and annotations specific to practicing before Texas courts and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, including a focus on third-party liability policies.
DALLAS — The newly published edition of the leading desk reference for Texas insurance litigation now includes a valuable set of forms for use in drafting pleadings and other legal documents.

The 2015 edition of “
Texas Insurance Coverage Litigation: The Litigator’s Practice Guide” by Dallas lawyer Amy Elizabeth Stewart of Amy Stewart Law provides legal analysis, practical tips, and annotations specific to practicing before Texas courts and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, including a focus on third-party liability policies.

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The Fault with Insurance :: No Coverage for Earthquakes under Standard Homeowners Policy

There are currently over 30 different types of homeowners policies available for use in Texas. The three most common are the HO-A, the HO-B, and the HO-C.  Before 1997, most homeowners had the HO-B policy form. The HO-B is a comprehensive “all risk” policy that provides replacement cost coverage for all perils unless specifically excluded. Damage caused by earth movement, however, is one of the things excluded

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Texas Lawyer's Year in Review Features Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart was featured in the Dec. 15 issue of Texas Lawyer as their subject matter expert on insurance law. Here's an excerpt:

"While several delightfully nerdy insurance coverage issues are percolating through the courts, the most notable insurance law decision of 2014 is the Texas Supreme Court's unanimous opinion in Ewing Construction Co. v. Amerisure Ins. Co."

You can see the whole article at Texas Lawyer (if you have a subscription). 

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Insureds Pre"Vail" over the Independent Injury Rule

The pendulum seems to always swing to the left and right before it balances somewhere in the middle. For those who are old enough to remember the meteoric rise of insurance bad faith claims in the late 1980s, decisions issued in the latter part of the 1990s and beyond seemed to signal a near-anaphylactic reluctance by Texas courts to hold any insurer responsible for its conduct.

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All I Want for Christmas is a Drone!

I buy my son a remote-controlled helicopter every Christmas. It’s just one of many quirky traditions in my family. Because my son is now officially an adult (if 30 years old qualifies as adulthood), I thought he might enjoy an upgrade this year. So, I investigated drones. I was surprised to find a varied selection of drones equipped with different technological abilities like high-powered cameras, infrared sensors, facial recognition technology, license plate readers, and complex autonomous anti-collision systems. 

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Ebola :: The Insurance Side Effects

With the entrance of the Ebola virus into the United States this year, we have become acutely aware of public health issues raised by the threat of an outbreak, yet the potential economic impact of this virus and the associated need for proper risk management has not been considered as closely. The economic implications of the Ebola outbreak could be epic—the World Bank Group forecasts the affected countries’ economic loss to reach $32.6 billion by the end of the year.

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Looting in the Wake of the Ferguson Decision :: What Business Owners Need to Know About Their Insurance Policies

Reports of looting and violent protests in major cities followed the grand jury’s decision not to bring criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. While business owners may be concerned about the safety of their property in high-risk areas, many may not have thought about whether damages arising out of acts of vandalism are covered by insurance. In fact, what’s not covered might come as a big surprise.

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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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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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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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Amy Stewart PC Certified As Women's Business Enterprise By Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Amy Stewart PC is excited to announce that the firm recently received certification as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations to provide its world-class standard of certification ...

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Please visit our web site at www.amystewartlaw.com.
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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, cyber insurance, 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
  • advice | insurance disputes
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