Steve Plitt News

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. ยง742.056, 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 …

Massachusetts Bad Faith Statute Doesn’t Include Post-Judgment Interest in Multiplier

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Anderson v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. Pittsburgh, PA 476 Mass. 377, 67 N.E. 3d 1232 (2017) that post-judgment interest on a judgment against a driver and owner were not part of the …

Use of Employer’s Vehicle While Intoxicated Didn’t Exceed Scope of Permissive Use

Recently the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held, in Great American Alliance Insurance Co. v. Anderson 847 F.3d. 1327 (11th Cir. 2017) that an employee did not go beyond the scope of the employer’s permissive use of a …

S.D. High Court Permits Bad Faith Cause of Action Against Workers’ Comp Insurer

In Mordhorst v. Dakota Trucking Underwriters and Risk Administration Services, 886 N.W.2d 322(S.D. 2016) the South Dakota Supreme Court found that a workers’ compensation insurer could be found in bad faith, even though it relied upon an independent medical opinion …

Kentucky Supreme Court Finds No Bad Faith as a Matter of Law

The Kentucky Supreme Court in Hollaway v. Direct General Ins. Co. Mississippi Inc., 497 S.W. 3d 733 (Ky. 2016), recently affirmed summary judgment that was granted in favor of the insurance company, finding that the plaintiff did not present a …

Washington Court Further Clarifies Defense Counsel’s Role in ROR Defense

The Washington Court of Appeals recently found (Arden v. Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S., 193 Wash.App. 731, 373 P.3d 320 (2016)), on first impression, that insurer retained attorneys (defense attorneys) were not automatically prohibited from representing insureds merely because the defense …

Montana Courts Finds That Falling Boulders Constitute ‘Earth Movement’ for Purposes of Policy Exclusion

The Montana Supreme Court in Parker v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America, 384 Mont. 125, 2016 MT 173, 376 P.3d 114 (2016), held that an earth movement exclusion was not limited solely to damages caused by soil movement. The Court …

Liquidated Judgment Not Necessary for Equitable Subrogation

California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finds that the absence of a litigated judgment did not preclude an equitable subrogation claim from being brought by an excess insurer for bad faith failure to settle when the excess insurer actually contributed …