Monthly Archives: December 2014

Website Names the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2014

December saw two posts about the depressing demise of TRIA, so we thought we’d end the year on a considerably lighter note.  FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce project that addresses this country’s litigation explosion, and it publishes a list of the ten most ridiculous lawsuits at the end of every year.  While none of this year’s finalists involve insurance coverage per se, we thought that we still would share them with our readership.  Some of last year’s – such as the man who sued Apple because he allegedly became addicted to pornography after “accidently” visiting an adult website on an Apple device or the criminal who sued eight brewers for not warning him that alcohol, which supposedly led

Posted in U.S. Legal System

Minnesota Holds “Comparable Material and Quality” Requires Wholesale Replacement Where Undamaged Siding Is Faded

Matching issues are frequently problematic when storms damage only portions of an insured structure’s exterior and it proves impossible to replace the damaged sections with material that is an exact match for the rest of the building’s roof or siding.  Earlier this month, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the phrase “comparable material and quality” means material that is suitable for matching; with respect to color, a reasonable match – not an identical match – is all that is required.  In Cedar Bluff Townhome Condominium Ass’n. v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., – N.W.2d – , 2014 WL 7156914, 2014 Minn. LEXIS 661 (Minn., Dec. 17, 2014), however, the court held that that meant that all of the siding on

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Posted in Direct Physical Loss or Damage, Hailstorm, Replacement Cost, Valuation

Our Dysfunctional Congress Skedaddles, Leaving TRIA to Die

Last Friday we reported that the House of Representatives had finally passed a bill reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and sent it to the Senate.  The post included a picture of a cartoon bomb with a lit fuse because the statute was due to expire in only two weeks.  On Tuesday, in an epic act of irresponsibility, the Senate allowed that to happen, adjourning for the year without taking up the measure and leaving TRIA to sunset on December 31st. Congress has a bad habit of larding important legislation like TRIA with wholly-unrelated provisions, and it was one of those that doomed reauthorization.  When the Senate wrote its own reauthorization bill earlier this year, it proposed including a

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Posted in Terrorism, Terrorism Insurance

If It’s December, It Must Finally Be Time for Congress to Do Something About TRIA

It looks like Congress is finally turning its attention to reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).  The statute will sunset on December 31st unless action is taken before then. Addressing our nation’s urgent problems at the last possible minute has become a Congressional hallmark in recent decades, and TRIA is no exception.  We ran a post explaining how the statute works in early May, and we optimistically titled it “Congress Moves Towards Reauthorization of TRIA.”  We should have known better.  TRIA was enacted in 2002 with a sunset date of December 31, 2005.  It has since been reauthorized twice – for two years by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act (TRIEA) in 2005 and then again for seven years

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Posted in Terrorism, Terrorism Insurance

Florida Court: Under All-Risk Policy, Insured Does Not Bear Burden of Showing Loss Was Caused by a Sinkhole

On November 26th, a unanimous panel of Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals held that a trial judge had erred in placing the burden of showing that loss was caused by covered sinkhole activity on the shoulders of the insured.  In Mejia v. Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 2014 WL 6675717, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 19526 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App., Nov. 26, 2014), the court stated that the policyholder under an all-risk contract of insurance has met his burden by showing that the insured property suffered a loss while the policy was in effect; the burden then shifts to the insurance carrier to prove that the cause of the loss was excluded from coverage. Alfredo Mejia owned a home that was insured by Citizens

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Posted in All Risk, Burden of Proof, Experts, Homeowners Coverage, Sinkhole

New Jersey Court: Loss of Use – Without More – Can Be “Direct Physical Loss or Damage”

Last month, a New Jersey federal court held that the term “direct physical loss of or damage to” property did not require that the property be physically altered in any permanent way.  In Gregory Packaging, Inc. v. Travelers Property Cas. Co., 2014 WL 6675934, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165232 (D.N.J., Nov. 25, 2014), the court determined that an ammonia release that rendered the insured manufacturing plant unusable until the gas had been dissipated “physically transformed the air” within the facility and thereby inflicted direct physical loss or damage to the plant. Gregory Packaging manufactured and sold juice cups, and it was in the process of installing a refrigeration system at a new plant in Newman, Georgia when anhydrous ammonia was

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Posted in Direct Physical Loss or Damage, Explosion, Seepage or Leakage
About The Property Insurance Law Observer
For more than four decades, Cozen O’Connor has represented all types of property insurers in jurisdictions throughout the United States, and it is dedicated to keeping its clients abreast of developments that impact the insurance industry. The Property Insurance Law Observer will survey court decisions, enacted or proposed legislation, and regulatory activities from all 50 states. We will also include commentary on current issues and developing trends of interest to first-party insurers.
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