Steve Plitt News

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 …

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. …

Smooth Sailing for a Pollution Exclusion?

The question of whether carbon monoxide constitutes a pollutant for purposes of a standard policy pollution exclusion has been mixed among the courts. Whether carbon monoxide constitutes pollution is jurisdiction-specific and depends on whether the jurisdiction adopts a traditional or …

Investigation of Property Loss Doesn’t Establish Estoppel in Oregon

Under Oregon statute O.R.S. §742.056, an insurance company’s investigation of a loss or claim under the policy does not estop the insurance company from asserting any provision of the policy or any defense that the insurer may have under the …

Maine Supreme Court Discusses Allocating Between Covered and Uncovered Claims

In Harlor v. Amica Mut. Ins. Co., 2016 ME 161, 150 A.3d. 798 (2016), the court held that when an insurance company breaches its duty to defend, the insurer has the burden of allocating settlements reached by its insured and …