Articles by Steven Plitt

image of Steven PlittSteven Plitt is the current successor author to Couch on Insurance, 3d. He maintains a national coverage practice with The Cavanagh Law Firm. He has been listed continuously as one of Arizona's 50 lawyers by Southwest Super Lawyers. He can be reached splitt@cavanaghlaw.com. To read additional articles by Steven Plitt, go to www.insuranceexpertplitt.com.

In Illinois Disparagement is Not ‘Patent Pending’

Some insurance policies do not specifically define the term “disparagement” in the policy. When the term “disparagement” is not defined, the courts will come up with a workable definition. As an example, in Lexmark International, Inc. v. Transportation Insurance Co., …

‘Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night . . .’: Cancellation by Mail

The Nebraska Supreme Court in Barnes v. American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, 297 Neb. 331, 900 N.W.2d 22 (2017) recently considered whether an insurance company’s cancellation of an auto policy by certified mail permitted the granting of summary judgment …

Termite Damage Isn’t Building Collapse for Purposes of First Party Property Coverage

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently found that an insurance company’s homeowners’ policy did not cover termite damage that did not result in the home’s collapse. The insured presented a claim for termite infestation that was discovered throughout the insured home …

Insured Must Obtain Settlement Consent Where Policies Require it

Where insurance policies require written consent from the insurer to enter into any settlement agreement, it is important to remember to ask, “May I?” Failure to do so may void coverage. That is what occurred recently in One West Bank, …

Taxable Cost Award Capped by Policy Limits According to Minnesota Supreme Court

Under Minn. Stat. §604.18, insureds are entitled to recover taxable costs when an insurance company unreasonably denies insurance benefits. The statute provides a remedy of one-half of the “proceeds awarded” that are in excess of an amount offered by the …

Controlling the Defense in Massachusetts

In One Beacon America Insurance Co. v. Celanese Corp., 94 Mass. App. Ct. 382, 84 N.E.3d 867 (Mass. App. 2017), the Massachusetts Court of Appeals held that insurance companies have the right to control the defense of the insured after …

Good Samaritan Exiting Vehicle to Assist Injured Person Still Occupies Insured Vehicle for UM Purposes

The Rhode Island Supreme Court in Hudson v. GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc., 161 A.3d 1150 (R.I. 2017) recently held, as a matter of first impression, that a passenger riding in an insured vehicle who exited the vehicle in order to …

Failure to Keep IME Doctor Updated Can Foreclose Application of Genuine Dispute Doctrine for MSJ Purposes

California courts have adopted the Genuine Dispute Doctrine. Chateau Chamberay Homeowners Assn v. Associated Internat. Ins. Co., (2001) 90 Cal. App. 4th 335, 347, 108 Cal. Rptr. 2d 776 (“[A]n insurer denying or delaying the payment of policy benefits due …

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules That Statutory Attorney’s Fees Are Capped by the Policy Limit

The question of whether attorney’s fees awarded under Minnesota’s insurance unreasonable denial statute could exceed the policy limits of the policy was recently addressed by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Wilbur v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 892 NW2d …

Rhode Island Supreme Court Enforces Suit Limitation Provision in Policy

In the past, Rhode Island courts have upheld insurance policy provisions that require insureds to commence legal action against the insurance company within a time period that is less than the legislatively-enacted statute of limitations. See, e.g., National Refrigeration, Inc. …