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Full-Text Articles in Law

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2017

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For most non-contractual legal claims for damages that are brought against individuals or firms, there is some form of liability insurance coverage. The Restatement of the Law Liability Insurance is the American Law Institute’s first effort to “restate” the common law governing such liability insurance policies, and we are the reporters. In a recent essay funded by the insurance industry, Yale Law Professor George Priest launched a strident critique of the Restatement project, arguing that the rules adopted in the Restatement:

(a) are radically contrary to existing case law,

(b) have a naïve “pro-policyholder” bias that ignores basic economic ...


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 ...


After Tackett: Incomplete Contracts For Post-Employment Healthcare, Maria O'Brien Aug 2015

After Tackett: Incomplete Contracts For Post-Employment Healthcare, Maria O'Brien

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines the recent U.S. Supreme Court retiree health care decision in Tackett v. M & G Polymers and focuses, in particular, on the ostensibly odd silence with respect to a critical contract term — whether the parties in fact agreed that these benefits were vested. Although the union in Tackett insisted these welfare benefits were clearly intended to vest and the employer now asserts they can be modified at any time, the collective bargaining agreement and supporting documents are ambiguous on this question. This paper examines how and why this “silence” persisted for so many decades and concludes that ...


Insurance And The Law, Shauhin A. Talesh Jan 2015

Insurance And The Law, Shauhin A. Talesh

Faculty Scholarship

Insurance and the law are interconnected. Legislation, court decisions, and regulations impact and influence the meaning of private and social insurance arrangements in society. While the law shapes and influences what insurance means in society, insurance also exerts a regulatory force over its subjects and acts as a form of governance beyond the state. Drawing from sociolegal scholars who study the gap between the law on the books and the law in action, this article explains the basic forms and functions of insurance in society and explores insurance’s intertwined relationship with the law.


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 ...


Misclassifying The Insurance Policy: The Unforced Errors Of Unilateral Contract Characterization, Hazel G. Beh, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2010

Misclassifying The Insurance Policy: The Unforced Errors Of Unilateral Contract Characterization, Hazel G. Beh, Jeffrey W. Stempel

Scholarly Works

Insurance policies are traditionally classified as unilateral or “reverse-unilateral” contracts, a characterization we find largely incorrect, with problematic consequences for adjudication of insurance coverage disputes. In addition to the general difficulties attending the unilateral classification, the concept as applied to insurance policies is not only unhelpful but incorrect. Insurance policies are more accurately viewed as bilateral contracts. In addition, the unilateral characterization of insurance policies introduces error and inconsistency into the litigation of insurance controversies. In particular, the unilateral view tends toward excessive formalism and focus on so-called “conditions” precedent to coverage, eschewing material breach analysis and encouraging needless forfeitures ...


Insurance Binders Revisited, Peter N. Swisher Jan 2004

Insurance Binders Revisited, Peter N. Swisher

Law Faculty Publications

Temporary contracts of insurance-binders-protect the insured during the time between completion of the application and issuance of the policy. They are an accepted and necessary part of the insurance business, used in connection with a wide variety of insurance P7:oducts. But when alleged coverage under a binder is the subject of litigation, the results are often inconsistent and, sometimes, indefensible. This article provides a comprehensive discussion of binders, including the differences between standard form and manuscript binders, binding receipts in property and casualty insurance and conditional receipts in life insurance policies, the various kinds of conditional receipts, and otherwise ...


Can Consumer-Choice Plans Satisfy Patients? Problems With Theory And Practice In Health Insurance Contracts, Wendy K. Mariner Jan 2004

Can Consumer-Choice Plans Satisfy Patients? Problems With Theory And Practice In Health Insurance Contracts, Wendy K. Mariner

Faculty Scholarship

Much scholarship has considered whether health care - and insurance - should be distributed by voluntary contract or subject to government standards or regulation. Contracts will likely play a key distributive role in any future health care system. Yet we do not fully understand where private contracting does and does not work to further the goals of equitable access to affordable care. This article examines the role of health insurance policies in defining and enforcing access to medical care, focusing on private employment-based group health benefit plans. It describes models of consumer choice health plans and critiques their capacity for lessening consumer ...


Fire, Metaphor, And Constitutional Myth-Making, Robert Tsai Jan 2004

Fire, Metaphor, And Constitutional Myth-Making, Robert Tsai

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

From the standpoint of traditional legal thought, metaphor is at best a dash of poetry adorning lawyerly analysis, and at worst an unjustifiable distraction from what is actually at stake in a legal contest. By contrast, in the eyes of those who view law as a close relative of ordinary language, metaphor is a basic building block of human understanding. This article accepts that metaphor helps us to comprehend a court's decision. At the same time, it argues that metaphor plays a special role in the realm of constitutional discourse. Metaphor in constitutional law not only reinforces doctrinal categories ...


Insurance Contracts And Judicial Decisions Over Whether Insurers Must Defend Insureds That Violate Constitutional And Civil Rights: An Historical And Empirical Review Of Federal And State Court Declaratory Judgments 1900-2000, Willy E. Rice Jan 2000

Insurance Contracts And Judicial Decisions Over Whether Insurers Must Defend Insureds That Violate Constitutional And Civil Rights: An Historical And Empirical Review Of Federal And State Court Declaratory Judgments 1900-2000, Willy E. Rice

Faculty Articles

Empirical findings suggest that extralegal factors, such as geographic location, ethnicity, gender, disability, perceived sexual orientation, and age of third-party victims, influence judicial decisions as to whether liability carriers must defend or reimburse the costs of defending various lawsuits. After the introduction, Part II of this article presents a brief discussion of state and federal declaratory judgment statutes and of the public policy behind liability and indemnification insurance contracts. Part III examines the origin and scope of insurers’ duty to defend, duty to pay legal expenses, and duty to reimburse litigation costs when third-party victims sue policyholders. Part IV argues ...


Recent Case Developments, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2000

Recent Case Developments, Jeffrey W. Stempel

Scholarly Works

Recent case developments in Insurance Law in the years 1999 and 2000.


The Tale Of A Tail, James F. Hogg Jan 1998

The Tale Of A Tail, James F. Hogg

Faculty Scholarship

The commercial general liability insurance industry shifted, in 1986, from the use of an “occurrence-based” to a “claims-made” policy form. So-called “tail” or “long tail” claims have continued nevertheless, to be asserted under the older “occurrence” policies which required that injury occur during the term of the policy, but not that the claim for such injury be made or brought at any particular time. In seeking state approval to use the new “claims-made” form in 1985-86, the insurance industry represented that the new form would not affect coverage under the old “occurrence” form. Despite that representation, insurers are now asserting ...


Consent, Contract, And The Responsibilities Of Insurance Defense Counsel, Robert H. Jerry Ii Jan 1997

Consent, Contract, And The Responsibilities Of Insurance Defense Counsel, Robert H. Jerry Ii

Faculty Publications

This paper examines some of the assumptions on which many contemporary assessments of defense counsel's relationship with the insurer and the policyholder rest, contends that some of the current turmoil in this area is traceable to shaky assumptions, and argues that the drafting of clearer liability insurance contracts would add stability to the relationships. Part I briefly describes the current uncertainty confronting policyholders and defense counsel. Part II explores what the most widely-used liability insurance contracts say about the responsibilities of insurance defense counsel, examining both the context in which these policies are sold and the texts themselves. It ...


Reinsurance: Bad Faith Considerations And Insolvency Dilemma, Hui-Ju Hsieh Jan 1992

Reinsurance: Bad Faith Considerations And Insolvency Dilemma, Hui-Ju Hsieh

LLM Theses and Essays

Reinsurance is insurance that an insurance company purchases from another insurance company. The original insurance company is called the reinsured, and the insurance company that is contracted is called the reinsurer. The main purpose of reinsurance is to disperse or spread the risk of loss. The reinsurance relationship is frequently characterized as an exercise of fiduciary responsibility based upon an undertaking of utmost good faith between contracting parties. However, disputes arise; most litigation involving reinsurance has been between reinsurers and persons not party to the reinsurance agreement. This paper’s first major area of discussion is the relationship between the ...


Protection Of Shipowners’ Liability Under United States Law And Marine Insurance Practice, Izak Stephanus Fourie Jan 1987

Protection Of Shipowners’ Liability Under United States Law And Marine Insurance Practice, Izak Stephanus Fourie

LLM Theses and Essays

Shipowners are exposed to a variety of risks that are, to a large extent, unique to maritime business. Because of factors like the recent increase in the size and value of ships, increase in marine traffic, enactment of legislation imposing new liabilities, and the tendency of courts to make huge awards to personal injury and death claims, shipowners are exposed to potential losses or claims worth millions of dollars in the event of disaster. These heavy risks led to the establishment of the marine insurance industry, as well as the enactment of legislation that limits shipowners’ liability. This legislation was ...


Declaratory Judgments And Insurance Litigation, Edwin Borchard Jan 1939

Declaratory Judgments And Insurance Litigation, Edwin Borchard

Faculty Scholarship Series

The passage of the Federal Declaratory Judgments Act in 1934 has stimulated throughout the country the employment of the action for declaratory judgment In few branches of commercial activity has it been used more successfully than in insurance litigation. It would be hard to say whether this new device for the construction of written instruments and the clarification and adjudication of all types of legal relations has been more effectively used for the determination of disputed status, the construction of contracts, conflicting claims to property, or administrative law disputes between the Government and the citizen.