Today the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court. In a unanimous decision, authored by the Chief Justice, the Court rejected the enforceability of “consent to assignment” clauses as a bar to coverage when the loss pre-dates the assignment, based on California Insurance Code section 520, and overruled its prior decision in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934.
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court set two important and much anticipated insurance cases for May oral argument.
On May 26, 2015, the Court will hear argument in Fluor v. S.C. (Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company), No. S205889, which presents the following issue: Are the limitations on assignment of third party liability insurance policy benefits recognized in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934 inconsistent with the provisions of Insurance Code section 520?
On May 28, 2015, the Court will hear argument in J.R. Marketing, L.L.C. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance, No. S211645, which presents a rare opportunity for guidance from the Supreme Court on independent Cumis counsel issues. The case present the following question: After an insured has secured a judgment requiring an insurer to provide independent counsel to the insured (see San Diego Fed. Credit Union v. Cumis Ins. Society Inc. (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 358), can the insurer seek reimbursement of defense fees and costs it considers unreasonable and unnecessary by pursuing a reimbursement action against independent counsel or can the insurer seek reimbursement only from its insured?
Both matters will be heard in San Francisco on the 9:00 a.m. calendars. Under California rules, the Supreme Court must issue its decisions in the matters within 90 days after the argument.
On November 26, 2013, the California Supreme Court denied MBL’s petition for review from the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Federal Ins. Co. v. MBL (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 29. In addition, the Supreme Court also denied eight different requests to depublish the decision filed by parties aligned with the insured.
The California Supreme Court issued an important decision last week that potentially impacts all California litigation, including insurance coverage litigation. In Kurwa v. Kislinger, __Cal.4th __ (October 3, 2013) (Supreme Court No. S201619), the Supreme Court held it is not possible to create an appealable final judgment by dismissing remaining causes of action without prejudice and tolling the applicable statute of limitations. This resolves an important split in California appellate courts on the one final judgment rule. The issue commonly arises when parties attempt to move a case into the appellate court after the trial court has resolved the key issues, but some causes of action remain.
On December 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court granted review in Fluor Corporation v. Superior Court (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 1506, previously commented upon in this blog. The issue on review, as stated on the Supreme Court’s website, is: “Are the limitations on assignment of third party liability insurance policy benefits recognized in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934 inconsistent with the provisions of Insurance Code section 520?”
On August 30, 2012, Division Three of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District put to rest a new argument devised by policyholders to attack the California Supreme Court’s seminal consent-to-assignment ruling in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 29 Cal.4th 934 (2003). See Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court (Slip Opn. dated Aug. 30, 2012) (Fourth Dist. No. G045579)
The Fluor case involved the same consent-to-assignment clause at issue in Henkel: “Assignment of interest under this policy shall not bind the Company until its consent is endorsed hereon.” (See Henkel, supra, 29 Cal.4th at 943.) Continue reading The California Court of Appeal Says Nice Try To Attempt to Overturn The California Supreme Court’s Henkel Decision Based on an 1872 Statute
As you may be aware, the California Supreme Court heard argument in the State of California case on May 30th. (See Bill Baron’s May 4, 2012 posting to this site.) I’ve entered into a wager with my partner and insurance guru, Phil Matthews, on the outcome of State of California, which should decide two very important insurance coverage questions in California: (1) all sums; and (2) stacking of policy limits. I won’t reveal our respective wagers, and recognizing that predicting the outcome of an appellate court is not exactly a science, I invite you to email me with your prediction as to the outcome of this case. Continue reading Any Friendly Wagers on Outcome of State of California v. Continental Ins.?
It’s been a very good few weeks in the California appellate courts for asbestos defendants and perhaps the beginning of a broader trend towards leveling the playing field in the unrelenting asbestos litigation that continues to overwhelm California courts.
On May 21, 2012, the Second District, Division Seven, issued a decision in Campbell v. Ford Motor Company (No. B221322) holding that a premises owner and employer owes no duty to protect family members of employees from secondary exposure to asbestos used during the course of the employer’s business – a new bright line rule that should significantly limit take-home exposure liability in California.