Oops, Insurer’s Poorly Drafted Language Applied As Written; Double Oops, Insured Can’t Complain When New York Law is Applied After It Chose to Reject Missouri Tax

An insured under an errors and omissions policy gives timely notice of circumstances during the policy period in effect when it first became aware of its potential civil liability. The E&O insurer acknowledges notice. Many years later, the insured is sued, but it waits almost two years before it gives notice of the suits. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you would imagine.

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Looking for Illinois Insurance Case Law? One-Stop Shopping

If you are not using the Insurance Case Law Index regularly to check on Illinois insurance cases, you are missing out on a great resource. Now summarizing over 1,890 Illinois state and federal case citations, holdings and summaries accumulated since 1986, it serves as a free research tool for easy access to Illinois coverage precedent. Search by name of Case, Words & Phrases, Year or Keyword, and the results will yield a record with the case name, citation, indexed issue, holding and name of trial or appellate judges.

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"Non-Trivial Probability" of Excess Judgment Obligates Insurer to Pay for Independent Defense Counsel

The court in Perma-Pipe, Inc. v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, Case No. 13 C 2989, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54867 (N.D. Ill. April 21, 2014), held that a CGL insurer breached its duty to defend by refusing to pay for independent defense counsel selected by the insured when the insured faced "a nontrivial probability" of a judgment in the underlying litigation in excess of its policy limits.  

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State Farm’s Relentless Pursuit to Deny Coverage for TCPA Cases

As policyholder lawyers, one can usually count on a few basic mistakes that insurers will make. First, they wrongfully deny coverage and fail to defend. They abandon their insured who is then left to its own devices to protect itself. The policyholder enters into a consent judgment or settlement with the plaintiff and then the plaintiff agrees to pursue collection only from the insurer. Given that the denial was wrongful and the settlement was reasonable, the insurer pays.

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Insurance Policyholder Partner Jill Berkeley Elected to ACCEC Board of Regents

Jill B. Berkeley, a partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, was recently selected to serve as a member of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel’s (ACCEC) Board of Regents.

The ACCEC, established in 2012, is composed of preeminent coverage and extracontractual counsel in the U.S. and Canada selectively nominated by their peers, representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders. 

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No Reasonable Person Would Believe Contract Exclusion Applies to Wrongful Eviction

In John Doyle Trust, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., 2014 IL App (2d) 121238, the Illinois appellate court affirmed summary judgment entered against Country Mutual, finding it owed its insured landlords a defense for a wrongful eviction action. That ruling is hardly surprising, but the insurer’s attempt to deny coverage is what makes me want to get up on my soapbox.

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Defective Construction Claims: Where Breach of Warranty and Covered Occurrences Merge or Divide

On March 21, 2014, Jill B. Berkeley presented at the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel's (ACCEC) 2014 Insurance Law Symposium, held on the campus of the University of Mississippi. The ACCEC brought together pre-eminent lawyers representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders to improve the quality of the practice of insurance law and to increase civility and professionalism in the field.

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Fat Tuesday Special: Louisiana Court Holds that “Coconut Throwing” Endorsement Does Not Bar Coverage for Mardis Gras Float

In Faith Brooks v. Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Inc., 110 So.3d 703 (La. Ct. App. 2013), the Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment to an insurer based on a coconut throwing endorsement in an insurance policy issued to the Mardis Gras Zulu Krewe.

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Absolute Pollution Exclusion Still Unenforceable in Indiana

On February 27, 2014, the Insurance Committee of the Indiana State Senate voted 6 to 3 against House Bill 1241, which would have amended the Indiana Insurance Code to specify the manner in which the term "pollutant" must be construed in liability insurance policies.  

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