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Full-Text Articles in Law

Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Losses: The Cases For And Against Coverage, Christopher French Jan 2020

Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Losses: The Cases For And Against Coverage, Christopher French

Journal Articles

The financial consequences of the government-ordered shutdowns of businesses across America to mitigate the COVID-19 health crisis are enormous. Estimates indicate that small businesses have lost $255 to $431 billion per month and more than 44 million workers have been laid off. When businesses have requested reimbursement of their business interruption losses from their insurers under business interruption policies, their insurers have denied the claims. The insurance industry also has announced that business interruption policies do not cover pandemic losses, so they intend to fight COVID-19 claims “tooth and nail.” More than 450 lawsuits throughout the country already have been ...


Res Ipsa Loquitur: Reducing Confusion Of Creating Bias?, John E. Lopatka, Jeffrey Kahn Jan 2020

Res Ipsa Loquitur: Reducing Confusion Of Creating Bias?, John E. Lopatka, Jeffrey Kahn

Journal Articles

The so-called doctrine of res ipsa loquitur has been a mystery since its birth more than a century ago. This Article helps solve the mystery. In practical effect, res ipsa loquirtur, though usually thought of as a tort doctrine, functions as a rule of trial practice that allows jurors to rely on circumstantial evidence surrounding an accident to find the defendant liable. Standard jury instructions in negligence cases, however, fail to inform jurors that they are permitted to rely upon circumstantial evidence in reaching a verdict. Why, then, is another, more specific circumstantial evidence charge necessary or desirable?

We describe ...


Catholic Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Marie T. Reilly Jan 2019

Catholic Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Marie T. Reilly

Catholic Dioceses in Bankruptcy

The Catholic Church is coping with mass tort liability for sexual abuse of children by priests. Since 2004, eighteen Catholic organizations have filed for relief in bankruptcy. Fifteen debtors emerged from bankruptcy after settling with sexual abuse claimants and insurers. During settlement negotiations, sexual abuse claimants and debtors clashed over the extent of the debtors’ property and ability to pay claims. Although such disputes are common in chapter 11 plan negotiations, the Catholic cases required the parties and bankruptcy courts to account for unique religious attributes of Catholic debtors. This article reviews the arguments and outcomes on property issues based ...


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 ...


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 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Iqbal And Supervisory Immunity, Kit Kinports Jan 2010

Iqbal And Supervisory Immunity, Kit Kinports

Journal Articles

Prior to the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the federal courts generally acknowledged that high-ranking government officials could be held liable for the constitutional injuries inflicted by their subordinates, though they differed on the appropriate standard of supervisory liability. In Iqbal, the Supreme Court called this case law into question, holding that constitutional tort liability hinges on proof that each defendant, “through the official’s own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.” The Court’s cursory treatment of this issue, without the benefit of briefing or oral argument, was based entirely on the misguided assumption that ...


Making Sense Of Successor Liability, Marie T. Reilly Jan 2003

Making Sense Of Successor Liability, Marie T. Reilly

Journal Articles

A firm that buys assets from another firm ordinarily does not acquire liability to the seller's creditors simply by buying its assets. This ordinary rule is subject to important exceptions. The buyer's consent triggers an exception. If a buyer agrees to assume the seller's liability to third parties, it is for that reason liable. This article considers a more controversial exception - successor liability. When a court decides that an asset acquirer should be treated as a "successor" to the transferor, it is liable for the transferor's debts as though it were the transferor.


A Paradigm For Sexual Harassment: Toward The Optimal Level Of Loss, Marie T. Reilly Jan 1994

A Paradigm For Sexual Harassment: Toward The Optimal Level Of Loss, Marie T. Reilly

Journal Articles

This article proposes a paradigm that draws from the common-law rule of negligence. It defines actionable sexual conduct in the workplace in terms of the cost of precautionary conduct and the increased safety such precaution would have yielded. Like the rule of negligence, the proposed paradigm creates incentives for men and women to take steps to prevent sexual conduct loss to the point at which the cost of an additional increment of precaution is equal to the value of the reduction in risk of loss. This point is the optimal level of precaution. After this point, additional precaution might further ...


Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye Jan 1979

Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

Day in and day out, attorneys, judges, and jurors must estimate probabilities. To be sure, we rarely quantify such estimates of probability and almost never adopt the terminology and mathematics of probability theory to resolve matters. Nevertheless, the mathematical theory of probability can be applied to legal problems in various ways. This article uses probability theory normatively in an effort to clarify one aspect of the famous tort doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur. While not urging that jurors be instructed in probability theory or be equipped with microprocessors, it does seek an accurate statement of the res ipsa doctrine ...