Posts tagged Patrick M. McDermott.
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After any merger or acquisition, disputes can arise regarding the accuracy of representations and warranties made by the seller to the buyer. In most transactions today, the buyer obtains representation and warranty insurance to cover the buyer for losses resulting from the seller’s breach of a representation or warranty. When an R&W policy provides coverage, a seller may attempt to offset its obligations to the buyer by amounts paid by the R&W insurer. Likewise, the R&W insurer may attempt offset against the damages paid by the seller to the buyer. But other legal and equitable ...

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Insurance companies can become insolvent. This is an ongoing issue in Puerto Rico following hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition to Real Legacy Assurance Company’s insolvency, Puerto Rico’s Insurance Commissioner reportedly fined various insurers for delays in handling claims. Even if your insurance company is insolvent, it may have purchased reinsurance. While the general rule is that a policyholder cannot make a claim directly against the reinsurer, there are exceptions to the rule. One such exception is when the reinsurance contract contains a “cut-through” ...

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The Scott Fetzer Co. v. Zurich American Insurance Co. matter involved a dispute over coverage for sexual assault claims against Fetzer. Three women filed suit against Fetzer, claiming that John Fields, an independent dealer of vacuums manufactured by Fetzer, verbally and sexually assaulted them. Fetzer’s alleged liability was premised on, among other things, its negligence in supervising its independent contractor’s hiring process. Fetzer settled with each of the three women.

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On March 22, 2019, a federal judge in Michigan found in Alticor Global Holdings, Inc. v. America Int’l Specialty Lines Ins. Co., that claims of copyright infringement by several major record labels are potentially covered under liability policies issued by AIG.  Alticor involved a claim for coverage stemming from suits by a group of entertainment companies against Amway, “accusing it of infringing hundreds of copyrighted sound recordings.”  Amway sought coverage from its umbrella insurer, AIG.  AIG claimed that the personal injury and advertising injury coverage did not apply because “coverage extends only to advertisements of a Named Insured,” i.e., Amway, and the underlying suit related to advertisements of Amway independent business owners.

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The doctrine of functus officio typically sets an arbiter’s award in stone: It forbids an arbiter from altering its award after the award has been rendered. But the doctrine has several exceptions. One such exception, known as the clarification exception, allows an arbitration panel to clarify an ambiguous final award. In Gen Re Life Corporation v. Lincoln National Life Insurance, the Second Circuit joined several other circuits in expressly adopting this exception, allowing an arbitration panel to clarify the meaning of its prior interpretation of rescission-clause in a ...

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The Supreme Court of Virginia’s decision yesterday finding no coverage for fire damage to a building is a cautionary tale for companies acquiring other companies. Erie Ins. Exch. v. EPC MD 15, LLC, 2019 WL 238168 (Va. Jan. 17, 2019). In that case, Erie Insurance issued a property insurance policy to EPC. The policy covered EPC only and did not cover any subsidiaries of EPC. EPC then acquired the sole member interest in Cyrus Square, LLC.  Following the acquisition, fire damaged a building that Cyrus Square owned.

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In the December 2018 edition of Virginia Lawyer Magazine, Hunton Andrews Kurth insurance coverage lawyers Syed S. Ahmad, Patrick M. McDermott, and Latosha M. Ellis discuss the importance of preserving improperly excluded evidence into the trial record for post-trial motions or appellate review. In the article, the authors explain how to make an offer of proof, the value of issue preservation during the motions stage of litigation, and the significance of motions in limine. The full article is here

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Hunton insurance attorneys Syed Ahmad and Patrick McDermott recently wrote a chapter on insurance law in the District of Columbia to the newest edition of the District of Columbia Practice Manual. The chapter of the Practice Manual, in its 26th edition, is available here and now covers topics including the duties to defend and indemnify, insurers’ defenses to coverage, allocation issues, bad faith, policy interpretation principles, and coverage for cyber events.
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A California federal court found coverage under AIG’s general liability policy for the defense and indemnity of email scanning suits against Yahoo!. Those suits generally alleged that Yahoo! profited off of scanning its users’ emails. Because the allegations gave rise to the possibility that Yahoo! disclosed private content to a third party, the court found that the suit potentially fell within the coverage for “oral or written publication, in any manner, of material that violates a person’s right of privacy.” Thus, AIG’s duty to defend was triggered.

The court also ...

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Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (“DLT”), is already proving to be a game-changer for businesses globally and across sectors. But is it secure? And can insurance help protect against risks and, thus, help advance the development of this technology?

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To follow up on our post last week recapping a recent Ninth Circuit decision regarding coverage for losses from a social engineering scheme, federal appellate courts continue to examine the coverage available for such losses. As Law360 highlighted, and as we previously reported (here, here, here, and here), appeals are pending in the Second, Sixth, and Eleventh circuits. These cases, some of which involve lower court findings of coverage while others do not, show that coverage for social engineering scams remains hotly contested, which means policyholders must carefully ...
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On April 17, 2018, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision finding that an exclusion barred coverage for a $700,000 loss resulting from a social engineering scheme. Aqua Star (USA) Corp. v. Travelers Cas. & Surety Co. of Am., No. 16-35614 (9th Cir. Apr. 17, 2018). The scheme involved fraudsters who, while posing as employees, directed other employees to change account information for a customer. The employees changed the account information and sent four payments to the fraudsters.

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As we have previously written, students accused of hazing can obtain coverage under a parent’s homeowners’ policy. See our prior post. A recent New York decision provides the latest example.

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In an article recently featured in FC&S Legal, Hunton & Williams insurance lawyers Syed Ahmad and Patrick McDermott discuss ways to guard against waiver of the attorney-client privilege when cooperating with insurers providing Representations & Warranties insurance coverage. The full article can be found here.
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Last week Bloomberg Law launched an online “cyber insurance suite” authored by Hunton attorneys, Walter J. Andrews, Sergio F. Oehninger, and Patrick M. McDermott. The online suite, available here and to Bloomberg subscribers, covers all aspects of cyber insurance, including identifying the major cyber risks and liabilities, applying for and obtaining cyber insurance coverage, and submitting claims under cyber coverages. It also contains an overview of case law evaluating coverage for cyber liabilities under traditional insurance policies and under cyber specific ...
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A recent decision highlights the need for businesses to carefully consider the applicability of insurance coverage across borders. In this case, the owners of an Idaho restaurant traveled to Thailand for business related to the restaurant. While in Thailand, thieves stole uniforms and decorations from the owners, who then submitted an insurance claim. The insurer denied the claim because the policy only covered property within the "coverage territory," which was limited to the U.S., its territories, and Canada.

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In prior posts (here and here), we have highlighted some potential coverage concerns for losses arising out of the use of blockchain technology. However, as previously reported, Blockchain technology’s relevance to insurance is not limited to coverage for losses. In fact, earlier this week, the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative known as B3i expanded its membership to include heavyweight insurance companies like Chubb, AIG, and Gen Re as well as notable insurance and reinsurance brokers like Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Willis Re, and JLT Re.

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In an article in the September issue of ABA Business Law Today, Hunton & Williams attorneys Lorie Masters, Sergio F. Oehninger, and Patrick McDermott discuss the increasing use of blockchain technology, the security of the technology, and insuring against the relevant risks. As they explain, the "potential disruptive uses of blockchain technology in the marketplace have been compared to that of the Internet." Thus, businesses across industries should consider their insurance would cover risks arising out of the use of blockchain technology. The authors point out that current ...
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Congratulations to Hunton & Williams insurance recovery lawyer, Patrick McDermott, on his confirmation by the DC Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors to the organization’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council.  The DC Bar Foundation launched the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council in November 2011 as an opportunity for younger attorneys to further the goal of access to justice within the community.  Members serve as ambassadors in order to promote DCBF’s mission and programs and to help raise additional resources to support local legal aid organizations.  Among ...

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Three significant insurance disputes are pending before the New York Court of Appeals, and Hunton partner Syed Ahmad discusses the importance of those cases in Law 360’s article titled 3 Insurance Cases To Watch At NY’s High Court.

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Since our first report last year, Lemonade Insurance, a tech start-up that planned to offer peer-to-peer insurance products, has launched in four states, offering homeowners and renters insurance in New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey. Lemonade’s cutting-edge use of technology and its alternative business model could prove disruptive to the insurance industry.

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In a recently filed brief in the Ninth Circuit, Cottage Health argued in support of the federal district court’s stay of Columbia Casualty’s lawsuit against Cottage Health in favor of Cottage Health’s parallel state court lawsuit against Columbia Casualty.

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Hunton & Williams insurance partner Syed Ahmad commented in a July 19, 2017, Law360 article concerning the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Olin Corp. v. OneBeacon America Insurance. In the decision, which is the subject of a July 26, 2017, Hunton blog post, the Second Circuit agreed with Olin that its payments toward remediating contamination at five manufacturing sites implicated a series of excess policies issued by Lamorak Insurance Co., formerly OneBeacon.

The ruling adopted the principles articulated by New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals ...

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Last week, the Second Circuit remanded environmental coverage litigation between Olin Corporation and OneBeacon based on its conclusions that (1) all sums allocation applied and (2) a prior insurance provision allowed OneBeacon the opportunity to show that prior excess insurers had made payments for the same claims, thereby reducing OneBeacon’s liability for Olin’s remediation costs at five manufacturing sites.

The district court had calculated OneBeacon’s liability on a pro rata allocation. Based on the New York Court of Appeals’ intervening decision in Viking Pump (previously covered here, the Second Circuit found that an all sums allocation should apply. The decision thus allows Olin to obtain full indemnification under OneBeacon’s policy for amounts spent to remediate the manufacturing sites, up to the limits of that policy. Because the district court had applied a pro rata allocation based on pre-Viking Pump case law, the Second Circuit remanded for the district court to recalculate damages.

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Ride and homesharing technologies like Uber and Airbnb are now ubiquitous. Slice, an on-demand insurance provider, seeks to fill the gap between the demands of these on-the-go services and traditional insurance contracts, which may not cover home rental or car sharing. Slice users can pick and choose the dates for which they receive coverage. So, for example, a homeowner that rents her home to Airbnb renters for two nights can obtain coverage solely for those two nights.

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The RIMS 2017 Annual Conference & Exhibition is just around the corner.  Visit members of Hunton & Williams LLP’s Insurance Coverage Team at Booth #2421 to learn more about our legal services.

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Policyholders are often surprised to hear that their policies cover more than the run-of-the-mill claim. For example, a general liability policy may cover a cyber-related loss. See our prior post. As a more recent example, a federal court in South Carolina found that a parent’s homeowners’ policy obligated an insurer to defend a college student against hazing allegations. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Ingraham, No. 7:15-cv-3212 (D.S.C. Mar. 14, 2017).

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The ABA announced last week that it would supplement its insurance coverage offerings to include cyber insurance. Chubb Limited will underwrite the insurance, which the ABA said “includes cyber coverage for a firm’s own expenses, such as network extortion, income loss and forensics, associated with a cyber-incident as well as for liability protection and defense costs.”

In its press release, the ABA referenced the revelations late last year that Chinese citizens had hacked two law firms to obtain information regarding mergers. The hackers then used that insider ...

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Law firms have become a popular target for cyberattacks. Sergio Oehninger and Patrick McDermott recently authored an article in the ABA’s TYL magazine regarding insurance coverage for law firms for cyber-related risks. In the article, Oehninger and McDermott identify the potential coverage issues firms may face under their typical liability policies and provide guidance for firms seeking coverage specifically written to cover cyber-related risks.
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The Delaware Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a long-running dispute involving Viking Pump’s and Warren Pumps’ claims for recovery under primary, umbrella, and excess insurance. The Delaware high court had certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals. The Delaware decision follows the New York high court’s ruling in May that the policies required “all sums” allocation and “vertical” exhaustion” (click here and here for prior posts).

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Andrea DeField’s update, and her original post discuss portions of the proposed Restatement of the Law on Liability Insurance and how they may alter the consequences for breaching the duty to defend. The proposed Restatement contains many other provisions that may prove relevant to future coverage disputes, particularly ones governed by state law that is less developed than in states like New York, California, and Florida.

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In an article recently published in Bloomberg/BNA Privacy and Security Law Report, Hunton lawyers Syed Ahmad, Sergio Oehninger and Patrick McDermott discuss a recent decision finding insurance coverage for a cyber-related incident.  In the article, the authors dissect whether information made available on the internet is “published” if there is no evidence that anyone ever accessed the information.  As the authors and the court conclude, coverage is indeed available under the general liability policy at issue, demonstrating that general liability insurance can provide ...
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Yesterday, a federal court found that FIFA’s D&O insurer is obligated to reimburse and advance legal costs for the defense of Eduardo Li, one of the defendants in the FIFA racketeering and fraud prosecution. Li v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, No. 15-cv-6099 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 27, 2016). Li was the president of the Costa Rican soccer federation, an executive member of the soccer association for North and Central America (CONCACAF), and a member of FIFA standing committees. Along with other FIFA executives, he was indicted this past summer and charged with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

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As an update to our March 31 post about MetLife shedding its SIFI designation, the court recently released its opinion detailing the reasoning behind its order. The court found two reasons to overturn MetLife's designation as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI), which the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) placed on MetLife after finding that "material financial distress" at MetLife could "pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States."

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On April 11, 2016, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a trial court’s decision that Travelers must defend a class action against its policyholder, Portal Healthcare Solutions, arising out of Portal’s alleged failure to safeguard confidential medical records. In the class action, the plaintiffs contended that Portal had allowed their private medical records to be accessed on the internet for more than four months by a simple Google search of a patient’s name. Portal sought coverage under provisions in two Travelers policies that provided coverage for alleged injury arising from “electronic publication of material” that “gives unreasonable publicity to a person’s private life” or that “discloses information about a person’s private life.”

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Last week, Chubb announced that it would begin offering personal lines coverage in four states for costs related to cyberbullying. The coverage would reportedly insure costs for “psychiatric services, rest and recuperation expenses, lost salary, temporary relocation services, education expenses, professional public relations services, and cyber security consultants.”

The cyberbullying protection would cover expenses up to $60,000. Chubb will offer the coverage to its homeowners insurance policyholders who purchase a Family Protection policy, which Chubb says ...

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Yesterday, a federal judge in the District of Columbia rescinded a regulatory order designating MetLife as a systemically important financial institution (“SIFI”). In December 2014, MetLife joined AIG and Prudential as the only insurance companies designated as SIFIs – a designation that subjected the insurers to additional regulation by the Federal Reserve and additional capital requirements. Unlike AIG and Prudential, MetLife took its challenge to the federal courts. And yesterday the court rewarded MetLife’s persistence.

The court released only a two-page ...

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A federal court in New York has held that an insurer carries the burden of demonstrating which, if any, defense costs should be allocated to the defense of non-covered entities. High Point Design, LLC v. LM Ins. Co., No. 14-cv-7878, 2016 WL 426594 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2016). The court ruled that once the policyholder established that amounts were spent defending covered claims, the burden shifts to the insurer to show that certain of those amounts resulted from the defense of other claims against non-covered entities. To meet that burden, the insurer was required to show that the relevant costs would not have been incurred but for the non-covered claims.

 

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Lemonade, a new insurance start-up that intends to offer peer-to-peer insurance in the US, received a recent boost when it announced that several well-known insurers, including Lloyd’s of London underwriters and Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity Company, have signed up to provide reinsurance backing to the new venture.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has called Zika an international public health emergency. The insurance industry is taking notice. Civil authorities have already begun to issue notices, like the Center for Disease Control’s travel notices for areas in which Zika transmission is occurring. As highlighted by Marsh in a recent blog post, the potential for action by civil authorities can create problems for some policyholders.1

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Prior blog posts discuss new laws imposing, among other things, insurance-related requirements on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft (also known as transportation network companies or TNCs) and their drivers. While many states have passed such laws, the Florida legislature is now dealing with competing proposals for regulating TNCs. On Tuesday, a Florida Senate committee unanimously approved a bill to regulate TNCs. A different bill is making its way through the Florida House. Both bills include insurance requirements but the devil is in the details.

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States continue to increase their regulation of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft (also known as Transportation Network Companies or TNCs) and their drivers. The increased regulation comes with increased insurance obligations and Farmers Insurance is expanding a new product to fulfill those requirements. As one example, the governor of Ohio recently signed a bill that includes insurance coverage requirements applicable to TNCs and their drivers. To help remedy the potential coverage gaps that must now be filled, Farmers announced on Monday that it would expand its ridesharing coverage to Ohio.

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A federal court in New York recently found that litigation concerning damages related to a third party’s product recall required a defense under a commercial general liability policy. Thruway Produce, Inc. v. Mass. Bay Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94846 (S.D.N.Y. July 20, 2015).

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