Buckley Christopher lawyers have experience handling claims that arise between insurance carriers and insureds as to the scope and extent of coverage under existing or claimed insurance policies. These disputes require the interpretation of insurance contracts, warranties, representations, claims of policy amendment and waiver, exclusions, and other contract and policy provisions. Coverage issues such as late notice, right to counsel, and alleged errors and omissions of insurance agents are also points of focus.
Additional Insured? Not so Fast!
An insurance company represented by the firm was awarded summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by a manufacturer seeking a defense, indemnity and/or coverage as an additional insured for a personal injury claim. The manufacturer was previously a subsidiary of a parent corporation that had entered into an agreement with a trucking company for freight hauling services. The agreement included indemnity and insurance obligations on the part of the trucking company for the benefit of the parent corporation and its subsidiaries. The insurance company was the general liability carrier for the trucking company. The manufacturer was sold by the parent corporation, and subsequent to the sale, an owner/operator of the trucking company was injured while performing freight hauling services at the manufacturer’s facility. The owner/operator filed a personal injury claim against the manufacturer, and the manufacturer then sued the trucking company and the general liability insurer seeking a defense, indemnity and insurance coverage under the policy for the personal injury claim. The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to both the trucking company and the insurance company since the manufacturer ceased to have any rights under the freight hauling agreement or the insurance policy once it lost its status as a subsidiary of the parent corporation. The manufacturer, as a subsidiary, was only a member of a class of parties to the agreement, and when it was sold by the parent corporation, it was removed from this class of parties.
Primary + Umbrella = One Policy
An insurance company represented by the firm was awarded summary judgment in a lawsuit by a policyholder who claimed that the company had a duty under its general liability policy to indemnify the policyholder for a wrongful death claim. The underlying wrongful death claim against the policyholder involved the death of a mother and her two minor children who perished in a fire and was settled for $3.25 million. The policyholder was seeking to recover $2.25 million of this amount from the insurance company pursuant to an umbrella endorsement attached to the policy. The policy also contained a “designated premises endorsement”, and the location where the fire occurred was not one of the premises designated for coverage in the endorsement. The policyholder argued that the primary general liability coverage and umbrella coverage were separate and distinct so that the “designated premises endorsement” did not apply to the umbrella endorsement. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia disagreed and found that that the primary and umbrella coverage comprised a single policy. Therefore, the “designated premises endorsement” applied to the umbrella endorsement, and as a result, precluded any coverage for the underlying wrongful death claim.
On behalf of the insurer of a property manager in a personal injury claim brought by a subcontractor’s employee, BCH discovered insurance policies held by other entities providing coverage to the property manager and taking priority over the insurer’s policy. After fully analyzing the relationship between the parties and other possible insurance, the firm successfully tendered defense and indemnification under an insurance policy in which the property manager was named an additional insured.