Coverage


Federal court holds pollution exclusion does not apply to injuries caused by direct, personal exposures

October 11th, 2020 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In Canal Indemnity Company v. CalJet II, 4:2019cv02945  (opinion available on PACER), a Texas federal judge recently held pollution exclusions did not bar coverage for a suit involving a truck driver who allegedly died from cancer caused by exposure to the carcinogen benzene in gasoline, a cargo the driver loaded and unloaded. Although Texas courts have previously held that pollution exclusions are not limited to typical cases of environmental pollution, U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett of the Southern District
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Fifth Circuit Affirms No Duty To Defend Against Criminal Charges Under Pollution Liability Policy

September 27th, 2020 By Erin Holmes

On September 4, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a district court’s decision that AIG Specialty Insurance Company (“ASIC”) was not liable for more than $12 million dollars in legal expenses incurred by Waste Management, Inc. (“Waste”) for defending criminal charges that were brought against the company for environmental contamination, agreeing with the lower court that there was no duty to defend the criminal case under the insurer’s pollution liability policy.  See Waste Management
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COVID-19 Case Note: Government mandated shutdown did not cause direct physical loss required to trigger business interruption coverage.

September 13th, 2020 By Sheila Tan

For many businesses in Texas that have been shut-down or restricted by state and local government orders due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, one of the most pressing questions raised is: is there business interruption coverage? And for at least some barber shops in Bexar County, the Western District has answered with a definitive no. In Diesel Barbershop et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 5-20-CV-461-DAE, Plaintiffs run barbershop businesses that were classified as “non-essential businesses” and forced to cease
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Covid Webcast Alert

September 8th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

Hanna & Plaut partner Catherine Hanna recently recorded a webcast for the State Bar of Texas with renowned Texas policyholder attorneys Vince Morgan and William Chriss and fellow carrier attorney Stephen Melendi to discuss coverage issues arising from the Covid19 pandemic. The webcast premiers today – Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Come for the coverage overview. Stay for the discussion of Covid cockroaches!


More (Or Less?) on Indemnity: A Brief Primer on Texas Construction Anti-Indemnity Act

July 26th, 2020 By Eric S. Peabody

The Texas Construction Anti-Indemnity Act, codified in Subchapter C of Chapter 151 of the Texas Insurance Code, renders void certain construction indemnity agreements that purport to indemnify the indemnitee for its own fault, even if that fault is shared or contributory. While most states now have some type of anti-indemnity statute, Texas is one of only a handful of states whose statutes void related additional-insured procurement and policy provisions as well. The Act applies to any “construction contract” for a
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Texas Supreme Court Recognizes Eight-Corners Exception for “Collusive Fraud”

May 3rd, 2020 By David L. Plaut

For the first time, the Texas Supreme Court has recognized an exception to the eight-corners rule and allowed the consideration of “extrinsic evidence” when assessing a carrier’s duty to defend its insured under a liability policy.  In Cause No. 18-0837, Loya Insurance Company v. Osbaldo Hurtado Avalos et al. (Tex. May 1, 2020), the Texas Supreme Court adopted “an exception to the eight-corners rule” finding a trial court “may consider extrinsic evidence regarding whether the insured and a third party
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Is Eight Enough, Part 3: Texas Supreme Court Rejects District Judge’s Exception to the “Eight Corners Rule”

April 19th, 2020 By Jeffrey C. Glass

We recently wrote about a question, certified to the Texas Supreme Court by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, regarding the continuing validity of the “eight corners” rule.  The U.S. District Court decision under review was one of a series of decisions authored by Judge John McBryde finding that because the eight corners rule originally derived from policy language requiring the carrier to defend claims even “if the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent,” policies without such
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Time is on Whose Side? Time-on-the-risk allocation applied over insurer objections.

April 12th, 2020 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In Great Am. Lloyds Ins. Co. v. Vines-Herrin Custom Homes, L.L.C., 05-18-00337-CV, 2020 WL 104622 (Tex. App.—Dallas Jan. 9, 2020, no pet. h.), the Dallas Court held indemnity coverage can be allocated among multiple liability insurers based on each carrier’s time on the risk. The decision does not cite and appears to depart from prior decisions that favor targeted tender and allocation according to subrogation and “other insurance” clauses. See, e.g., CNA Lloyds of Texas v. St. Paul Ins. Co.,
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Is Eight Enough, Part 2 – Texas Supreme Court Justices Signal Skepticism of Extrinsic Evidence Exception

February 9th, 2020 By Eric S. Peabody

On January 8, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court heard argument on a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in State Farm Lloyds v. Richards, 784 Fed. App’x 247 (5th Cir. 2019), certified question accepted (Sept. 13, 2019), which asks: Is extrinsic evidence permissible—and the strict eight-corners rule inapplicable—in determining the duty to defend if the policy does not require defense of groundless, false or fraudulent allegations? Jeff Glass previously blogged about this certified question here.
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Stormy Weather — Insured Sings the Burden of Proof Blues

December 3rd, 2018 By Eric S. Peabody

Insured’s Failure to Support Causation and Segregation with Evidence Results in Win for Carrier Insureds Richard and Linda Seim filed suit against their homeowners’ insurance carrier Allstate for damage to their home following a storm in August 2013. Seim v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, No. 02-16-00050-CV, 2018 WL 5832106, at *1 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth  Nov. 8, 2018, n.p.h.). Allstate had investigated and, despite finding some interior water damage to the home, had denied the claim because there was no evidence of
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