Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Copyright
Cincinnati Insurance Company v. Jacob Rieger & Co., LLC
Five months after being sued in Oregon for trademark infringement, Jacob Rieger & Co., LLC provided notice to its liability insurer, Cincinnati Insurance Company. Due to Rieger’s delay, Cincinnati refused to reimburse Rieger’s legal fees for the five months that Cincinnati was unaware of the lawsuit. The Oregon case was ultimately dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Instead of waiting to be sued in a court that did have jurisdiction, Rieger’s parent company, GSP Licensing LLC, filed a new suit in Missouri as the plaintiff. GSP was not named under Rieger’s insurance policy, so Cincinnati denied coverage for the Missouri case. Cincinnati then filed this lawsuit, seeking a declaration of coverage. The district court granted summary judgment to Cincinnati. The Eighth Circuit reversed in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Cincinnati. The court affirmed the dismissal of Rieger’s tort claims and the imposition of sanctions. The court explained that under Missouri law, a tort claim is independent of a contract claim if the tort claim can succeed without regard to the outcome of the contract claim. In other words, the tort claim could succeed regardless of the outcome of the contract claim. Here, Rieger admits that its tort claims would fail if its contract claim succeeded. By Rieger’s own admission, the court found that the district court properly dismissed Rieger’s tort claims. View "Cincinnati Insurance Company v. Jacob Rieger & Co., LLC" on Justia Law
Looney Ricks Kiss Architects v. Bryan, et al.
LRK, an architect firm, brought this action for copyright infringement against a former client and his affiliated building companies (collectively, Bryan defendants). Lafayette and State Farm, insurers of Bryan's Cypress Lake Development, sought declaratory judgments that, by virtue of exclusions set forth in their respective insurance policies, they have no obligation to provide coverage or duty to defend in LRK's suit. LRK appealed the district court's summary judgment ruling that Lafayette and State Farm have no duty to provide coverage, and Lafayette and State Farm appealed the district court's summary judgment ruling that they have a duty to defend. The court concluded that the exclusions relied upon by the insurers did not preclude coverage of LRK's copyright infringement claim and therefore, that the insurers owed both coverage and defense under their respective policies. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part.