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10.20.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Retroactive dates punch gaps into insured’s coverage
Most professional-liability policies are written on a “claims-made” basis, which provides coverage for lawsuits filed against the insured during the policy period — even for damages caused by some professional negligence that occurred long before the policy was issued (and, perhaps, for some mistake at a time when the insured had no insurance coverage at...
10.12.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Court finds plaintiff’s attorney fees covered by liability policy
One of the most misunderstood provisions in a Commercial General Liability policy is the first sentence, which provides that the insurance company promises to provide coverage for damages “because of” bodily injury or property damage. Many people, including seasoned insurance professionals, believe CGL policies merely provide coverage “for” bodily injury or property damage. We see...
09.22.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Oregon Supreme Court forecloses insurers from taking a second bite at the apple
Today, the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously rejected a liability insurer’s attempt to avoid paying on a judgment entered against its insured in FountainCourt Homeowners’ Ass’n v. FountainCourt Dev., LLC. The Court held that an insurer cannot re-litigate an underlying lawsuit as part of an insurance-coverage lawsuit, and that a claimant must show only that some property damage occurred...
09.20.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Property Developers Need to Take Extra Steps to Protect Themselves from ADA and FHA Liabilities
The federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) require property developers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals. In turn, property owners rely on their architect and engineer to design compliant projects. If a project is not compliant, it is typical thinking that the property owner will seek indemnification and defense...
09.14.2016 // EDUCATION & PUBLIC AGENCY CONSTRUCTION LAW
Avoiding and Resolving Disputes About Building Performance
Over the next few years, school districts across the state will spend millions on construction and renovations. It is an exciting time; schools are testing new products, new building control systems, and new methods and components. Since facilities managers are responsible for operating these systems for years to come, they have several things to consider if called...
09.09.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Washington courts continue to expand policyholder access to insurer files
The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, and its lawyers, recently had a rough couple of days in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. On August 24 and 25, that court issued orders in Meier v. The Travelers Home & Marine Insurance Co. and Bagley v. Travelers Home & Marine Insurance...
08.30.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
10 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Chances of Getting Paid
Educate Yourself About the Project. If you are working with an owner that is new to you or if you are a subcontractor working with a general contractor with whom you have not worked previously, ask others about their reputation. Before venturing into a relationship, investigate the project’s financing and the reputation of those holding...
08.24.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Insurer learns hard lesson in failing to settle
Insurers control the defense of claims against their insureds, but this control comes with the risk that failing to settle a case could result in a verdict much greater than the available limits under the policy. And if it was reasonable and possible to settle before this calamitous end, the insurer could be on the...
08.10.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
In Washington, late notice may not preclude coverage, but it could cost you your fee claim
The Washington Court of Appeals recently issued an unpublished opinion that should serve as a warning to policyholders pursuing coverage in Washington. On its surface, The Port of Longview v. Arrowood Indemnity Co. (Aug. 2, 2016) was a significant win for the insured. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s ruling that the insured’s primary...
07.28.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Oregon federal court endorses broad definition of “property damage”
In a recent case, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Ass'n v. Great American Ins. Co., the federal District Court for the District of Oregon adopted a liberal interpretation of “property damage.” The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association (OSF) suffered a loss during its season: nearby wildfires caused smoke to infiltrate a partially outdoor theater where performances were being...