Justia Insurance Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
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At issue in this appeal was whether claims in an underlying personal injury suit against two contractors were covered under policies issued by Amerisure, in which the contractors were additional insureds. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment that Amerisure improperly relied on a policy exclusion to avoid its duty to defend, and that Amerisure was liable under the terms of its policies to pay the full cost of the settlement plus prejudgment interest. The court vacated the district court's judgment with respect to defense fees and costs, and held that Amerisure was liable for the full amount of those fees and costs because Continental did not have an independent duty to defend in the underlying lawsuit. View "Continental Casualty Co. v. Amerisure Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that the main questions at issue in this appeal —concerning both the scope and limit of the Insurers' duties to defend and indemnify WECCO—were answered over a decade ago in In re Wallace & Gale Co., 385 F.3d 820, 833–34 (4th Cir. 2004). The court denied WECCO's request to either consider these questions anew or certify them to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment and rejected WECCO's challenges to the district court's interpretation of the completed-operations hazard to apply to bodily injury stemming from an individual's exposure to asbestos during a WECCO operation that was completed at the time the insurance policy took effect, regardless of whether such operation was ongoing when the individual was first exposed; decision to place the burden on WECCO to prove that an asbestos related bodily injury claim was not subject to a policy's aggregate limit; determination that St. Paul properly classified certain claims as "completed operations" claims; declaration that the aggregate limits of St. Paul's policies had been exhausted; and conclusion, in the alternative, that most of WECCO's breach-of-contract claims were time-barred. View "The Walter E. Campbell Co. v. United States Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that the main questions at issue in this appeal —concerning both the scope and limit of the Insurers' duties to defend and indemnify WECCO—were answered over a decade ago in In re Wallace & Gale Co., 385 F.3d 820, 833–34 (4th Cir. 2004). The court denied WECCO's request to either consider these questions anew or certify them to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment and rejected WECCO's challenges to the district court's interpretation of the completed-operations hazard to apply to bodily injury stemming from an individual's exposure to asbestos during a WECCO operation that was completed at the time the insurance policy took effect, regardless of whether such operation was ongoing when the individual was first exposed; decision to place the burden on WECCO to prove that an asbestos related bodily injury claim was not subject to a policy's aggregate limit; determination that St. Paul properly classified certain claims as "completed operations" claims; declaration that the aggregate limits of St. Paul's policies had been exhausted; and conclusion, in the alternative, that most of WECCO's breach-of-contract claims were time-barred. View "The Walter E. Campbell Co. v. United States Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against ASIC, alleging that its conduct in handling her insurance claim constituted an unfair claims settlement practice in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 58-63-15(11), and, as a matter of law, an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 75-1.1. The Fourth Circuit held that because North Carolina law required ASIC to appoint and authorize the Commissioner as its agent for service of process as a condition of writing insurance in the state, and because this was the only authority ASIC provided the Commissioner, the Commissioner was merely ASIC's statutory agent for service of process; service on a statutory agent was not service on the defendant within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. 1446(b); the district court did not err in determining that ASIC timely filed notice of removal and in denying plaintiff's motion for remand based on her allegations of untimely filing; diversity jurisdiction existed and the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's motion for remand based on an alleged lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and the district court did not err in granting ASIC's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. View "Elliott v. American States Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit held that the district court correctly denied Applied Underwriters' motion to compel arbitration in a suit alleging that Applied Underwriters engaged in the business of insurance in Virginia without complying with Virginia insurance and workers' compensation laws. However, the court held that the district court reversibly erred in applying the doctrine of judicial estoppel to hold that the agreement between Applied Underwriters and plaintiff constituted an insurance contract for purposes of Virginia law. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Minnieland Private Day School v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co." on Justia Law