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Full-Text Articles in Law

Forum Shopping Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Claims, Chris French Jan 2020

Forum Shopping Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Claims, Chris French

Journal Articles

Insurance disputes are typically governed by state law, and state insurance laws vary considerably, with some states being favorable to policyholders and others being unfavorable. With forum shopping, a plaintiff often has many choices regarding where it can bring a lawsuit, including multiple states in which to bring the case and whether to bring the case in federal or state court. Of the over 1000 COVID-19 business interruption insurance lawsuits filed thus far, more than 700 of them have been filed in, or removed to, federal court, with more than 250 of the cases filed as class actions. Many of ...


America On Fire: Climate Change, Wildfires & Insuring Natural Catastrophes, Christopher French Jan 2020

America On Fire: Climate Change, Wildfires & Insuring Natural Catastrophes, Christopher French

Journal Articles

America is on fire. The damage, destruction, and loss of life caused by wildfires have exploded over the past few decades. Nine of the ten worst fire seasons have occurred in the past fifteen years, with 2017 and 2018 being the worst years ever. Despite spending approximately $3.7 billion annually on fire suppression, more than 35,000 structures were lost to wildfires in 2017 and 2018, approximately $32 billion in property losses occurred, and more than 100 people were killed. More than forty million homes worth approximately $187 billion in the U.S. are currently at a high risk ...


Dual Regulation Of Insurance, Christopher French Jan 2019

Dual Regulation Of Insurance, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Since this country was created, the insurance industry has been principally regulated by the states with infrequent Congressional interventions. As the insurance industry has evolved in recent decades, however, individual states have become unable to adequately regulate some insurers, such as multinational insurers and foreign insurers, because they lack jurisdiction over such entities. Simply having the federal government assume responsibility for regulating insurers will not solve the current regulatory problems, however, because Congress’ past forays into regulating certain areas of insurance generally have yielded poor results. Consequently, this Article makes the novel proposal and argument that, with the creation of ...


English Justice For An American Company?, Christopher French Jan 2018

English Justice For An American Company?, Christopher French

Journal Articles

This Essay addresses the Halliburton Co. v. Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd. case, which is pending before England's Supreme Court. The issue before the Court is whether it is appropriate for the "neutral" arbitrator, who has a history of serving as a party-appointed arbitrator for Chubb, to serve as the "neutral" arbitrator in the matter while simultaneously serving as a party-appointed arbitrator for Chubb in another related arbitration proceeding involving the same insurance policy form and the same underlying Deepwater Horizon incident. The lower courts declined to remove the arbitrator. The Essay also addresses the question of whether London arbitration ...


Insuring Against Cyber Risk: The Evolution Of An Industry (Introduction), Christopher French Jan 2018

Insuring Against Cyber Risk: The Evolution Of An Industry (Introduction), Christopher French

Journal Articles

Cyber risks are the newest risks of the 21st century. The breadth and cost of cyber attacks are astonishing. Worldwide damages caused by cyber attack are predicted to reach $6 trillion by 2021. Between 2015 and 2017, ransomware damages alone increased from $325 million to approximately $5 billion. In 2017, WannaCry ransomware shut down over 300,000 computer systems across 150 countries.

On April 13, 2018, the Penn State Law Review held a symposium to discuss the evolution of cyber risks and cyber insurance. The symposium was comprised of an eclectic group of legal practitioners and scholars who presented four ...


Hurricanes, Fraud, And Insurance: The Supreme Court Weighs In On, But Does Not Wade Into, The Concurrent Causation Conundrum In State Farm Fire And Casualty Company V. Rigsby, Chris French Jan 2017

Hurricanes, Fraud, And Insurance: The Supreme Court Weighs In On, But Does Not Wade Into, The Concurrent Causation Conundrum In State Farm Fire And Casualty Company V. Rigsby, Chris French

Journal Articles

In the December 6, 2016 Supreme Court decision, State Farm v. Rigsby, a homeowner’s house was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The homeowner had homeowners insurance with State Farm and a flood insurance policy that was administered by State Farm on behalf of the federal government. The claims adjusters assigned by State Farm to handle the homeowner’s claim allegedly were instructed by State Farm to misclassify wind damage as flood damage in order to shift State Farm’s own liability for the loss to the federal government. The claims handlers filed a lawsuit against State Farm under the False ...


Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Chris French Jan 2017

Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Chris French

Journal Articles

In their recent article, The Black Hole Problem in Commercial Boilerplate, Professors Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati, and Robert Scott identify a phenomenon found in standardized contracts they describe as “contractual black holes.” The concept of black holes comes from theoretical physics. Under the original hypothesis, the gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that once light or information is pulled past an event horizon into a black hole, it cannot escape. In recent years, the theory has been reformulated and now the hypothesis is that some information can escape, but it is so degraded that it is virtually ...


Sex, Videos, And Insurance: How Gawker Could Have Avoided Financial Responsibility For The $140 Million Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Verdict, Christopher French Jun 2016

Sex, Videos, And Insurance: How Gawker Could Have Avoided Financial Responsibility For The $140 Million Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Verdict, Christopher French

Journal Articles

On March 18, 2016, and March 22, 2016, a jury awarded Terry Bollea (a.k.a Hulk Hogan) a total of $140 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Gawker Media for posting less than two minutes of a video of Hulk Hogan having sex with his best friend’s wife. The award was based upon a finding that Gawker intentionally had invaded Hulk Hogan’s privacy by posting the video online. The case has been receiving extensive media coverage because it is a tawdry tale involving a celebrity, betrayal, adultery, sex, and the First Amendment. The case likely will ...


The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French May 2016

The Insurability Of Claims For Restitution, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Does and should a wrongdoer’s liability insurance cover an aggrieved party’s claim for restitution (e.g., a claim for the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains)? This article answers those questions. It does so by first answering the question of whether claims for restitution are covered under the terms of liability insurance policies. Then, after concluding that they are, it addresses the question of whether claims for restitution should be insurable as a matter of public policy and insurance law theory. There are long-standing legal and equitable principles that, on the one hand, dictate that a wrongdoer should not be ...


Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophes In America, Christopher French Mar 2015

Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophes In America, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Flooding is the most common natural catastrophe Americans face, accounting for 90% of all damage caused by natural catastrophes. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, for example, collectively caused over $160 billion in damage, but only approximately 10% of the Hurricane Katrina victims and 50% of the Hurricane Sandy victims had insurance to cover their flood losses. Consequently, both their homes and lives were left in ruins in the wake of the storms. Nationwide, only approximately 7% of homeowners have insurance that covers flood losses even though the risk of flooding is only increasing as coastal areas continue to be developed and ...


The Role Of The Profit Imperative In Risk Management, Christopher French Jan 2015

The Role Of The Profit Imperative In Risk Management, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Risks in the world abound. Every day there is a chance that each of us could be in a car accident. Or, one of us could be the victim of a tornado, flood or earthquake. Every day someone becomes deathly ill from an insidious disease. Our properties are in constant peril—one’s house could catch fire at any time or a tree could fall on it during a storm. Any one of these events could have devastating financial consequences, and they are just a few of the many risks that impact our daily lives. One of the principal ways ...


Segmented Settlements Are Not The Answer: A Response To Professor Squire’S Article, How Collective Settlements Camouflage The Costs Of Shareholder Lawsuits, Christopher C. French Jan 2013

Segmented Settlements Are Not The Answer: A Response To Professor Squire’S Article, How Collective Settlements Camouflage The Costs Of Shareholder Lawsuits, Christopher C. French

Journal Articles

In his recent article, Professor Richard Squire offers a provocative theory in which he claims the underlying claimants in shareholder litigation against corporate policyholders are overcompensated due to what he describes as “cramdown” settlements, under which insurers are forced to settle due to the “duty to contribute” that arises under multi-layered directors and officers (“D&O”) insurance programs. He also offers a novel idea regarding how this problem could be fixed by what he refers to as “segmented” settlements in which each insurer and the policyholder would be allowed to settle separately and consider only its own interests in doing ...


Debunking The Myth That Insurance Coverage Is Not Available Or Allowed For Intentional Torts Or Damages, Christopher French Jan 2012

Debunking The Myth That Insurance Coverage Is Not Available Or Allowed For Intentional Torts Or Damages, Christopher French

Journal Articles

Over the years, a myth has developed that insurance coverage is not available or allowed for intentional injuries or damage. This myth has two primary bases: one, the “fortuity” doctrine, which provides that insurance should only cover losses that happen by chance; and two, public policy, which allegedly disfavors allowing insurance for intentional injuries or damage. This article dispels that myth. Many types of liability insurance policies expressly cover intentional torts including trademark infringement, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation, disparagement, and improper employment practices such as discrimination. In addition, punitive damages, which typically are awarded for intentional misconduct, are ...


The “Ensuing Loss” Clause In Insurance Policies: The Forgotten And Misunderstood Antidote To Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions, Chris French Jan 2012

The “Ensuing Loss” Clause In Insurance Policies: The Forgotten And Misunderstood Antidote To Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions, Chris French

Journal Articles

As a result of the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco which destroyed the city, a clause known as the “ensuing loss” clause was created to address concurrent causation situations in which a loss follows both a covered peril and an excluded peril. Ensuing loss clauses appear in the exclusions section of such policies and in essence they provide that coverage for a loss caused by an excluded peril is nonetheless covered if the loss “ensues” from a covered peril. Today, ensuing loss clauses are found in “all risk” property and homeowners policies, which cover all losses except for ...


Construction Defects: Are They “Occurrences”?, Chris French Jan 2011

Construction Defects: Are They “Occurrences”?, Chris French

Journal Articles

An issue in the area of insurance law that has been litigated frequently in recent years is whether construction defects are “occurrences” under Commercial General Liability (“CGL”) insurance policies. The courts have been divided in deciding the issue and in their approaches to analyzing the issue. This article addresses how the issue should be analyzed and concludes that construction defects are “occurrences”. The relevant rules of insurance policy interpretation dictate that construction defects are “occurrences”. Policy language should be interpreted in such a way as to fulfill the reasonable expectations of the policyholder when the policy is construed as a ...


The “Non-Cumulation Clause”: An “Other Insurance” Clause By Another Name, Chris French Jan 2011

The “Non-Cumulation Clause”: An “Other Insurance” Clause By Another Name, Chris French

Journal Articles

How long-tail liability claims such as asbestos bodily injury claims and environmental property damage claims are allocated among multiple triggered policy years can result in the shifting of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from one party to another. In recent years, insurers have argued that clauses commonly titled, “Prior Insurance and Non-Cumulation of Liability” (referred to herein as “Non-Cumulation Clauses”), which are found in commercial liability policies, should be applied to reduce or eliminate their coverage responsibilities for long-tail liability claims by shifting their coverage responsibilities to insurers that issued policies in earlier policy years. The insurers’ argument ...


Competition And Regulation In The Insurance Sector: Reassessing The Mccarran-Ferguson Act, Susan Beth Farmer Jan 2011

Competition And Regulation In The Insurance Sector: Reassessing The Mccarran-Ferguson Act, Susan Beth Farmer

Journal Articles

This article was presented at a symposium entitled “Public and Private: Are the Boundaries in Transition?” sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute on June 24, 2010. It proposes a different paradigm, which more precisely describes regulation and competition in the insurance sector. This relationship is the shifting boundary between state and federal regulation instead of a boundary between the public and private sectors. The McCarran-Ferguson Act was adopted to protect firms acting in the business of insurance from federal antitrust scrutiny, but its language and impact goes far beyond federal competition law. So broad is the exemption that the modern ...