Key Decisions:

Liability

NIC Ins. Co. v. First Financial Inc. Co. (2010) 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8699. Affirmed summary judgment for general contractor’s insurer against sub-contractor’s insurer, notwithstanding rescission of general contractor’s policy after defense costs were incurred; general contractor’s insurer entitled to equitable contribution of defense fees and costs on “equal shares” method, based upon the number of policies triggered.

O’Donnell v. Everest National Ins. Co. (2007) 2007 WL 1989839. Reversing coverage for a $15 million stipulated judgment, the court found non-owned and hired auto coverage did not apply to the owner of a vehicle whose truck had caused a traumatic double amputation.

Hayward v. Centennial Ins. Co. (9th Cir 2005) 430 F.3d 989. Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in establishing case precedent that one-on-one solicitation of customers does not constitute “advertising injury” offense under general liability policy.

Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Superior Court (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 1131. Prevailed before the California Court of Appeal in establishing case precedent that trial court settlement judge exceeded his authority in $230 million sexual abuse case against clergy in making factual findings and preparing coercive orders against clergy’s general liability insurers in violation of fundamental principles governing mediation proceedings.

Atlantic Mutual Ins. Co. v. Ruiz (2005) 123 Cal.App.4th 1197. Case established that injured policyholder was “upon” his vehicle and entitled to underinsured motorist coverage benefits when struck by underinsured vehicle while rendering assistance approximately one foot away from his car.

Amazon.com Int’l, Inc. v. American Dynasty Surplus Lines Ins. Co. (2004) 152 Wn.2d 1030.  Established case precedent before Washington Court of Appeal that patent violation in website “advertising” might constitute “advertising injury” under general liability policy sufficient to invoke duty to defend.

Sokol and Co. v. Atlantic Mutual Ins. Co. (7th Cir. 2003) 430 F.3d 417. Denial of coverage based on business risk exclusions and product recall endorsement upheld under Illinois law.

Santa Clara Seeds, Inc. v. Mutual Service Cas. Ins. Co. (2002) (Unpublished). Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in establishing that claims by the seed purchaser fell squarely within the policy’s exclusion of coverage for damages arising out of misdelivery of seed even though insured did not perform the misdelivery.

Centennial Ins. Co. v. United States Fire Ins. Co. (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 105. Established case precedent before California Court of Appeal that apportionment of defense fees between co-insurers for mutual insured is permissibly allocable using “time-on-the-risk” approach.

Kemmer Agricultural Mfg. Co. v. Mutual Service Casualty Ins. Co. (9th Cir. 2000) (Unpublished decision). Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in establishing that claims of inducing patent infringement were not covered under a CGL policy’s “advertising injury” coverage, and dismissal of counterclaim without prejudice did not trigger coverage for malicious prosecution.

United Parcel Service v. Pedus Security Systems (Continental Casualty Co.) (3 Civil C028998 2000)(Unpublished decision). California Court of Appeal concluded that in dismissing plaintiff’s lawsuit the trial court abused its discretion in awarding defendant recovery of attorney fees against plaintiff in absence of prevailing-party clause in security guard contract.

Atlantic Mutual Ins. Co. v. Rumberg (2000 Wash.) (Unpublished decision). Case established that injured employee entitled to employer’s uninsured motorist coverage while using covered auto.

Vandenberg v. Superior Court of Sacramento County (1999) 21 Cal.4th 815. Acted as lead counsel before California Supreme Court on whether findings of fact in a binding contractual arbitration collaterally estops parties or privities in subsequent litigation, and whether insurance coverage under general liability policy is predicated upon the legal theory asserted by the third-party claimant against the defendant-policyholder.

CFOs 2 Go, Inc. v. CFO 2 Go, Inc. (D.C. Cal. 1998) (Unpublished decision). Successfully defended Washington State business owner in defeating jurisdiction in California by establishing that use of website by California resident, without a business transaction, did not establish jurisdiction in California.

Dane v. Travelers Ins. Co. (1998) (Unpublished decision). Prevailed before California Court of Appeal in establishing that rental car (Enterprise) agency’s self-insurance did not extend coverage to unauthorized drivers.

Medallion Indus. v. Atlantic Mutual Ins. Co. (1998). Prevailed in establishing case precedent that insurer has no duty to defend under CGL policy for negligent supervision of sexual harassment claim in the workplace.

Diesel v. Travelers Ins. Co. (D.C. Cal. 1997) (Unpublished decision). Prevailed before Federal District Court in establishing that general liability insurer had no duty to defend an action based solely on a contract claim where there was no evidence that “other damages” requested in the complaint referred to property damage.

Delta Pride Catfish v. Home Ins. Co. (1997) S. 2d 400. Prevailed before the Mississippi Supreme Court in establishing case precedent that a general liability policy does not provide coverage for antitrust suits alleging price fixing.

Providence Washington Ins. Co. v. Valley Forge Ins. Co. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 1194. Prevailed before California Court of Appeal in establishing case precedent that a sole proprietor operating two unrelated businesses under different DBAs was a single insurable entity whose liabilities were excluded by the owned auto exclusion in garagekeepers and CGL policies unless liabilities arose from acts independent of the automobile.

Assurance Co. of America v. Haven (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 78. Prevailed before California Court of Appeal in establishing case precedent that general liability insurer cannot assert a malpractice claim against attorney acting as independent “Cumis” counsel because there is no attorney-client relationship.

Mori v. Southern General Ins. Co. (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 99. Prevailed before California Court of Appeal in establishing the meaning of the undefined term “bodily injury” as consistent throughout the policy form.