The Second District Court of Appeal has issued an important new opinion that adds to this year’s series of California appellate decisions on when an insurer owes its policyholder a duty to pay for independent defense counsel, in Swanson v. State Farm General Ins. Co., ___ Cal. App.4th ___ (2013). In Swanson, the Court of Appeal found that an insurer that had issued to its policyholder a reservation of the right to deny coverage that gave rise to the type of conflict that creates a right to independent counsel under California Civil Code section 2860 (“Cumis counsel”) could end that duty by withdrawing that portion of the reservation of rights that created the right to have the insurer pay for such counsel. Continue reading “Controlling Cumis – California Court Confirms that Right to Independent Counsel Can be Terminated by Withdrawing ROR”
In what is the first trial court ruling in California on the issue, to our knowledge, the San Francisco Superior Court on January 31, 2013 issued a ruling adopting the Wallace & Gale approach to the completed operations issue for asbestos claims. The decision was issued by San Francisco Superior Court Judge John E. Munter in Phase III of Plant Insulation Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., et al., a multi-phase declaratory relief action pending in San Francisco.
A California federal court recently issued a summary judgment ruling after interpreting two “other insurance” clauses in California State Automobile Inter-Insurance Bureau v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57996 (N.D. Cal, April 25, 2012). One insurer argued that the “other insurance” clauses conflicted with each other, but the Court disagreed and found no conflict where one other insurance clause specifically provided for excess coverage in certain circumstances.
The policyholder had a homeowner’s insurance policy with California State Automobile Inter-Insurance Bureau (“AAA”) and a watercraft policy with Progressive Casualty Insurance Company (“Progressive”). Both issued liability limits of $500,000.