In February 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a closely-watched legal battle concerning claims against manufacturers and retailers of front-loading washing machines accused of causing mold infestations.
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
Bridget Gordon (“Gordon”) appealed a district court’s summary judgment in favor of Deloitte & Touche, LLP Group Long Term Disability Plan (the “Plan”), which is insured by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (“MetLife”). The summary judgment was granted based on Gordon’s failure to file the action within the applicable limitation period. In Bridget Gordon, Plaintiff v. Deloitte & Touche, LLP Group Long Term Disability Plan, No. 12–55114, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (April 11, 2014) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal was called upon to determine what statute of limitation, if any, applies to an ERISA claim.
People who are victims of a construction defect will seek as many defendants as possible to recover the costs of repairing and replacing the defects. Sometimes they will file one suit naming every possible defendant. Other times they will attempt to file separate suits against the various categories of defendants thinking it best to divide the defendants and then conquer them independently and thereby avoid excessive litigation costs.
Over the past several decades, the construction industry has moved to an airtight standard for new buildings in order to reduce heating and cooling costs. In such dwellings, however, where moisture gets in, it is less likely to air-dry. The resulting damp conditions create the perfect environment for mold growth.
Christopher Roinestad and Gerald Fitz-Gerald were overcome by poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas while cleaning a large grease clog in a sewer near the Hog’s Breath Saloon & Restaurant. The district court concluded that Hog’s Breath caused respondents’ injuries by dumping substantial amounts of cooking grease into the sewer. On summary judgment, the district court found Hog’s Breath liable under theories of negligence and off-premises liability, and entered a damage award in respondents’ favor. Mountain States Mutual Casualty Company (“MSM”) sought a ruling that it had no obligation to indemnify Hog’s Breath and the district court agreed, holding that dumping substantial amounts of cooking grease constituted a discharge of a pollutant under the policy’s pollution exclusion clause. The court of appeals reversed. It held that the terms of the pollution exclusion clause were ambiguous and that its application to cooking grease could lead to absurd results and negate essential coverage. The parties took the case to the Colorado Supreme Court who, in Mountain States Mutual Casualty Company v. Christopher Roinestad and Gerald Fitz-Gerald, and Tim Kirkpatrick, D/B/A Hog’s Breath Saloon & Restaurant., 2013 CO 14 (Colo. 02/25/2013), resolved the dispute.
In the concluding part of his year in review series, Barry Zalma selects his final choice of the most significant insurance law cases of 2012:
As part of the year in review series, insurance expert Barry Zalma identifies his three most significant insurance law cases of 2012. Here is his second selection:
As part of the year in review series, insurance expert Barry Zalma identifies his three most significant insurance law cases of 2012. Here is his first choice:
Recent storms on the US east coast have once again highlighted the importance of having at least some understanding of insurance law, in particular the procedures for making an insurance claim in the aftermath of a catastrophic event.
Insurance Law is often complex and the consequences for insurers, and reinsurers, of not fully understanding the agreements they enter into can be costly. As the following case illustrates, failure to read and understand a contract between two equal parties is no excuse.