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Absolute Pollution Exclusions Are Not Absolute

Insurance is a crucial source of funding for most environmental cleanups. For the past 30 years, comprehensive general liability insurance policies have uniformly included an “absolute pollution exclusion” in some form or another. The earliest such exclusions appeared in the 1950’s, but they became ubiquitous boilerplate in the mid-1980s. As a result, most applicable environmental … Continue Reading

Neiman Marcus Data Breach Decision Portends Greater Risk for NW Companies, Need for Cyber Coverage

Earlier this week the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Illinois, issued a momentous decision for those of us who keep tabs on data breach litigation nationwide.  The decision in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus reinstated class action claims by thousands of shoppers who had their credit card data stolen.  Reversing a trend in the case law driven by … Continue Reading

Lessons From CNA’s Suit to Avoid Covering a Hospital Cyber-Breach

A few weeks ago the insurance-coverage community experienced a watershed event: the first publicized lawsuit by an insurer for a declaration of “no coverage” under a cyber-insurance policy. The case is Columbia Casualty Company v. Cottage Health Systems, filed in the Central District of California, and the issue is the insured’s compliance with a pledge … Continue Reading

Premera Data-Breach Class Action Claims Illustrate Cyber Coverage Issues

The massive data breach at Washington health insurer Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield has spawned at last count fifteen class action lawsuits in Washington alone and at least one suit in Oregon federal court.  The suits allege that over 11 million records were exposed in the hack, including not just personally identifiable information but also health … Continue Reading

Cert Grant in FCRA Case Could Impact Cyber Coverage

News today that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Spokeo v. Robins, which tests whether Congress can confer “standing” by giving consumers a private right of action under a federal law, and entitlement to statutory damages, even if the consumer cannot prove any concrete damages.  The Court will review a decision by the Ninth … Continue Reading

Why You Need More Than Just a Certificate of Insurance

It is common practice for entities such as owners, contractors and design professionals to contractually require another party to provide insurance. The most common method of providing information related to this requirement is through a certificate of insurance. A certificate is usually issued on a form copyrighted by an organization named ACORD (Association for Cooperative … Continue Reading

Did the Ore Sup Ct Abolish Common Law Indemnity for Defense Costs?

“Frequent-fliers” in the world of construction-defect litigation know that defense costs are often the biggest exposure, particularly for subcontractors.  That is why securing a paid-for defense from an insurance carrier is such a hot topic on this blog (and elsewhere).  And whether there is insurance to cover defense costs or not, defendants in complex disputes … Continue Reading

Oregon Trial Court Adopts “All-Sums” In Environmental Coverage Case

A great win last month for the Zidell real-estate group (owner of much land in the South Waterfront area of Portland, including a historic ship-repair yard) in the longest-running environmental contamination case in Oregon history: a Multnomah County judge held that Zidell’s carriers must pay for environmental remediation based on the “all sums” approach.  (Click here for … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals: Insured Cannot Place Extra-contractual Conditions on Compliance with Policy

When an insurance policy requires the insured to provide information to the insurer, may the insured demand that the insurer enter into a confidentiality agreement, even when the request from the insurer is reasonable?  Heck no, says the Oregon Court of Appeals in a new decision, Safeco v. Masood.  According to the decision, the policyholder … Continue Reading
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