Texas Court of Appeals: Insurers Must Defend Samsung in EMF Suits

November 17, 2006

The law firm of Anderson Kill & Olick P.C., reported that the Texas Court of Appeals has ruled that Samsung Electronics America is entitled to defense coverage for class action lawsuits based upon the alleged harm caused by electromagnetic fields, or EMFs.

In decisions of Aug. 21, 2006, and Oct. 18, 2006, in Samsung Electronics America Inc., et al. v. Federal Insurance Company (05-04-01316-CV), the Court ruled that a member of the Chubb Insurance Group must provide the plaintiffs with a defense in four of five class actions. The coverage action involves general liability policies which provide defense coverage for claims that seek “damages” because of “bodily injury.”

In the announcement, Anderson Kill said Chubb contested coverage because the class actions do not assert claims for damages due to diagnosed injuries, but rather seek monetary and other relief based upon allegations that EMFs from cell phones cause “biological injury” to users.

The trial court agreed with Chubb, but the Court of Appeals reversed, agreeing instead with Samsung that in four of the lawsuits the claims were premised upon alleged bodily injury and therefore trigger the defense obligation. The fifth suit was brought under a consumer protection statute and contains atypical allegations.

Many telephone manufacturers and service providers are defendants in the class actions, and there have been several court decisions on defense coverage for other companies. The Texas Court of Appeals decision tips the weight of that authority in favor of coverage for these cases, the law firm said.

Samsung was represented by Anderson Kill & Olick P.C. and the Potter Minton law firm.

Source: Anderson Kill & Olick P.C.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.