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Recent Rulings & News

General Liability Policy With Products-Completed Operations Coverage and Professional Services Exclusion Does Not Relieve Insurer of Duty to Defend Insured Engineer Against Suit Alleging Negligent Construction of Dam

Food Truck Is "Mobile Equipment" and Thus Is Not Subject to "Auto" Exclusion in General Liability Policy

Subrogation Action Fails Where Insurer Failed to Give Timely Notice to Residential Home Builder Under "Right to Repair" Statute

Statutes Do Not Require, and Automobile Policies Do Not Provide, Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Named Insured's Non-Resident Daughter Killed While Pedestrian

Broker Has No Duty to Procure Insurance Beyond What Insured Requests

2013 Annual Review of California Insurance Law (PDF)

Auto Exclusion in Homeowners Policy Bars Coverage Where Insured's Negligent Supervision Exposes Victim to Risk of Negligent Operation of Auto

Trial Court Has Discretion to Defer Appraisal Until Resolution of Declaratory Relief Action Regarding Method of Calculating Depreciation

Insurer's Duty to Defend Is Not Subject to Policy's Self-Insured Retention Provision Unless Expressly Provided For by Policy

Unless Third Party Claimant Makes Settlement Demand Against Insured or Otherwise Expresses Interest in Settling With Insured, Insurer Has No Affirmative Duty to Offer Policy Limits and Insurer Cannot Be Liable for Bad Faith Failure to Settle

"Assault or Battery" Exclusion Bars Coverage for Insured's Alleged Negligent Failure to Prevent Assailant from Throwing Flammable Liquid on Claimant and Setting Claimant on Fire

Water Tank Separated From Dwelling by Clear Space But Connected by Underground Pipe Was Not "Attached" to Dwelling and, Therefore, Was Subject to "Other Structures" Limit

Once Insurer Withdraws Reservation of Rights That Initially Created Right to Independent Counsel, Insurer No Longer Has Obligation to Pay Independent Counsel

Insured Entitled to Attempt to Prove Loss of Rents Claim, Even Though Building Was Not Actually Rented at Time of Loss

Uninsured Motorist Insurer Cannot Deny Coverage Based on Exclusion Allowed By Statute But Not Actually Included in Policy

First-Party Claimant May Pursue Cause of Action for Violation of Unfair Competition Law, Even Though Unfair Insurance Practices Act Does Not Allow a "Private" Cause of Action for Same Conduct

Plaintiff Who Settles Lawsuit Against Tortfeasor and Receives Payment From Tortfeasor's Insurer Under Liability Provision of Policy Is Not Barred From Later Suing Tortfeasor's Insurer for Alleged Breach of Duties Owed to Plaintiff Under Medical Payment Provision of Policy

Liability Insurer's Reservation of Rights Regarding "Contractor's Special Condition" Triggers Conflict of Interest Requiring Independent Counsel

Liability Policies Covering "Occurrences" and "Wrongful Acts" During Policy Period Do Not Cover Insured's Alleged Tortious Conduct Before Policy Period

Insurer Not Liable for Fire Loss Where Insured Fails to Maintain Automatic Sprinkler System, and Insurer Entitled to Reimbursement of Advance Payment Made During Investigation

Where Insurer Breaches Duty to Defend Insured and Dispute Later Arises Regarding Fees Charged by Independent Counsel, Insurer May Only Seek Reimbursement From Insured, Not Independent Counsel

Plumbing Leakage That Continued For One To Two Months Was Not "Sudden" And, Therefore, Was Excluded

Where Policy Expressly Provides for Defense Against Criminal Charges, Insurance Code Section 533.5(b) Does Not Relieve Insurer of Duty to Defend Insured Against Federal Criminal Indictment

In Continuous Injury Case, Excess Policy Is Not Triggered Until All Applicable Primary Policies Are Exhausted, But Multiple Primary Policies Issued By Same Insurer Cannot Be "Stacked"

No Coverage Where Building Was "Vacant" For More Than 60 Days Before Loss, Even Though Policy Was Issued Less Than 60 Days Before Loss

In Auto Coverage Dispute, After Exhaustion of "Primary" Policy, All Policies Covering Negligent Driver Must Exhaust Before Any Policies Covering Vicariously Liable Employer Will Apply

Although Insured's Insolvency Renders It Unable to Pay Self-Insured Retention, That Does Not Relieve Insurer of Duty to Pay Covered Portion of Judgment

"Ordinance or Law" Exclusion Bars Coverage Where City Orders Demolition of Building

Where Liability Policy Only Covers Additional Insured for Vicarious Liability of Named Insured, Claim By Additional Insured Against Named Insured Does Not Fall Within Exclusion for "Inter-Insured Claims"

Exclusion for Water That "Backs Up or Overflows" From Sewer or Drain Applies Even Where Blockage Prevents Water From Ever Entering Sewer or Drain

Fire Insurer Must Promptly Object to Late Notice of Claim, and Must Establish Substantial Prejudice From Failure to Submit Sworn Proof of Loss

"Personal and Advertising Injury" Coverage for "Disparagement" Not Triggered Where Insured's Advertisements Do Not Mention Claimant's Products

Insured's Numerous Misrepresentations About Alleged Theft Justify Denial of Claim

In Contribution Action, Once Participating Insurer Proves "Potential for Coverage," Non-Participating Insurer Must Prove "Absence of Actual Coverage"

Government's Suit Against Insured for Violation of Housing Laws Is Not Potentially Covered As "Wrongful Eviction, Wrongful Entry and Invasion of Right of Private Occupancy," But Is Potentially Covered As "Discrimination"

Insurance Code Section 520 Does Not Invalidate "Consent-to-Assignment" Clause In Liability Policy

"All-Sums-With-Stacking" Allocation Rule Applies To Indemnification In Continuous Injury Case

Independent Adjuster Was Not "Sham" Defendant Where Insureds Alleged That Adjuster Negligently Caused Additional Property Damage

Insurer Entitled To Reimbursement From Insured Of Sums Paid In Settlement Of "Slumlord" Suit

Policy Covering "Disparagement" Requires Insurer To Defend Insured Against Suit Alleging That Insured Improperly Sold Claimant's Products At "Close-Out" Prices

Insurer Entitled To Reimbursement From Insured Of Sums Paid In Settlement Of "Slumlord" Suit

Policy Covering "Disparagement" Requires Insurer To Defend Insured Against Suit Alleging That Insured Improperly Sold Claimant's Products At "Close-Out" Prices .

Once Insured's Liability Becomes Reasonably Clear, Insurer Has Duty to Attempt Settlement, Even Absent Demand from Claimant

Absent Actual Coverage, Liability Insurer Cannot Be Liable to Insured for Failing to Accept Third Party's Settlement Offer

In Contribution Action, Insurer Only Needs to Show "Potential" for Coverage Under Co-Insurer's Policy With Self-Insured Retention That Insured Pays As Part of Settlement

Participating Insurer's Equitable Contribution Claim Against Non-Participating Insurer Is Barred By Two-Year Statute of Limitations

Excess Policy Does Not Cover Injury Occurring Prior to Issuance of Policy

Bodily Injury Claim Against Interstate Trucker Is Not Covered By Basic Commercial Auto Policy, But Is Covered By MCS-90 Financial Responsibility Endorsement

In Reinsurance Dispute, Ceding Insurer "Invites Error" By Agreeing to Jury Instruction Regarding Statute of Limitations Issue

Issues Regarding Bad Faith Must Be Resolved Before Insurer Can Compel Arbitration of Independent Counsel Fees

Judgment Creditor Cannot Recover Costs and Interest in Direct Action against Guarantee Association

"Actual Cash Value" Amount Listed in Declarations Is Limit, and Does Not Create "Valued" Property Policy

Commercial Auto Policy's "Mechanical Device" Exclusion Applies Only When Device Is Used in Movement of Property To or From Covered Auto

Smith Smith & Feeley is a firm dedicated to the practice of insurance law. Our mission is to provide all clients with prompt, innovative and cost-effective solutions to insurance claims and litigation, while adhering to the highest professional standards.

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We have extensive experience in all facets of commercial and personal insurance law. We have special expertise in:

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  • Listed in A.M. Best’s Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys
  • Revisor of the California Insurance Law Digest for A.M. Best
  • Affiliate member of Property & Liability Resource Bureau


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16330 Bake Parkway
Irvine, California 92618

Telephone: 949.263.5920
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16330 Bake Parkway . Irvine, California 92618
Telephone: 949.263.5920 | Facsimile: 949.263.5925

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