Tag Archives: Washington

Allocation-Process Information Shielded by Mediation Privilege, not Available to Insurer: Wash. Fed. Court

In a decision with important implications for “long-tail” environmental contamination coverage claims in the Northwest, a federal court in Washington state has held that information from a confidential “allocation” proceeding in a Superfund site does not need to be produced to an insurer for one of the parties. The decision provides comfort to those hoping … Continue Reading

Insurer Sues to Terminate Defense of Premera Cyber Breach

On December 8, 2015 an insurer for Premera Blue Cross sued to terminate its defense obligation (and any indemnity obligation) in a class-action lawsuit involving the theft of 11 million medical records.  We have previously reported on the massive Premera breach and the many class action lawsuits that followed the breach (now consolidated in Oregon), here.  The … 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

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 leastone 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 treatment and … Continue Reading

Washington Policyholders, Check Your Cyber Policy as Data Breach Notification Law Moves Forward

Washington has moved a step closer to bringing its data-breach notification law in line with the laws of many states (including Oregon) that require notification in the majority of scenarios, closing what some viewed as loopholes in the law and mandating notification within 45 days, rather than the prior “as soon as possible” requirement.  (Oregon … Continue Reading

WA Fed Court: “Spin, Massage, Speculation and Sophistry” Do Not Create Duty to Defend

In Wargacki v. Western National Assurance Co. Judge Leighton of the Western District of Washington held that a homeowner’s carrier had no duty to defend a civil suit where the insured shot his pregnant girlfriend, and then shot himself – despite the allegation in the complaint that the boyfriend acted “either negligently, intentionally or recklessly” and that … Continue Reading

Wash. Federal Court Broadly Applies “Ongoing Ops” Exclusions

In a decision from mid-summer, Judge Rice of the Eastern District of Washington – a relatively new judge in a jurisdiction without a lot of coverage decisions – broadly applied what are known as the “ongoing operations” or “business risks” exclusions, completely voiding the damaged party’s recovery, demonstrating the devastating impact that subtle coverage issues … Continue Reading

Wash. Fed. Court Orders Trial on AIG Defense Rates

The long-running federal court litigation between Washington company Coinstar/Redbox and its insurer, AIG, took a turn last week, with good news and bad for the policyholder.  The backstory: Redbox has been sued in several different jurisdictions for collecting information about its customers that it was not permitted to collect; the allegations are, generally, that Redbox … Continue Reading

Washington Federal Court Orders Broad Discovery of AIG Defense Rates

A significant win for policyholders in a discovery dispute over internal carrier records.  AIG and Coinstar/Redbox have been locked in coverage litigation in the Western District of Washington for some time over AIG’s obligation to defend Redbox in several class actions alleging that Redbox has violated privacy laws in its handling of consumer information.  Redbox … Continue Reading

Insurers Trying to Have It Both Ways on ‘First Party’ v ‘Third Party’

Insurance carrier-side lawyers are celebrating the result in Cox v. Continental Casualty Company, a decision out of the Western District of Washington  in which Judge Pechman held that Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) does not apply to claims under liability policies because the policyholder there is not a “first-party claimant,” and IFCA specifically refers to … Continue Reading

Wash. Court of Appeals Gets It Dead Wrong on What Is a “Suit”

Earlier this week Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals issued its much-anticipated decision in the Gull Industries v. State Farm litigation.  The issue was whether a letter from the state equivalent of the EPA constitutes a “suit” under a standard-form legacy GL policy (that is, a policy issued before the ISO form defined “suit”). … Continue Reading

Adjuster Read Canceled Policy, Denied Claim, Committed Bad Faith

One assumption that even many commercial-lines policyholders make is to assume that the insurance adjuster that they are dealing with is an “expert” on their insurance coverage (ref. “You’re in good hands…”).  As if anyone needed one more example that that simply is not a safe assumption to make, read in disbelief the case linked … Continue Reading

Washington Federal Court Permits Deposition of Carrier’s Former Coverage Attorney

On October 30, 2013 Judge Martinez of the Western District of Washington permitted the policyholder in a long-running bad faith case to take the deposition of the carrier’s former coverage counsel, Joanne Henry, about the coverage analysis that she performed for the carrier leading to the carrier denying the tender of defense.  This decision relied … Continue Reading

Wa. Court of Appeals: Exhaustion of Primary Layer Means Actual Payment

In a new decision that has generated some interest nationally, the Washington Court of Appeals held November 12, 2013 that if an excess policy’s attachment language is sufficiently restrictive, the excess policy will not be triggered unless the primary carrier actually pays the full amount of its limits.  In this case, Quellos Group LLC v. … Continue Reading

Wonder Why You Never Hear About Crop Insurance Coverage Disputes? Here’s Why

Short decision today from the Washington Supreme Court reversing the Court of Appeals on enforcement of an arbitration clause in an insurance policy.  Here the farmer wanted to sue both the insurance broker and the insurer at the same time to avoid the risk of inconsistent decisions, and having to litigate in two fora.  That’s … Continue Reading

Washington Court Smacks Down Lloyd’s Effort to “Cook the Books”

Subcontractors on construction projects are commonly required to provide “additional insured” liability coverage to the general contractor.  The coverage is available to the extent that the general is liable because of the subcontractor’s negligence – which is the case most of the time.  In Oregon it is rare for a subcontractor’s carrier to actually agree … Continue Reading

Washington and Now Idaho Limit Attorney-Client Privilege in Bad Faith Cases

My former colleagues at Bullivant Houser Bailey have done a nice job of summarizing two recent decisions, one from Washington and one from Idaho, limiting the application of the attorney-client privilege where outside coverage counsel participates in a fact investigation for coverage purposes.  Both decisions (Idaho’s Stewart Title v. Credit Suisse in federal court, Washington’s Cedell … Continue Reading
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