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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


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 ...


Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French Dec 2016

Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Insurance policies commonly are understood to be a species of standardized contracts. This Article challenges that conventional wisdom and argues that insurance policies do not actually qualify as contracts under the doctrinal and theoretical bases of contract formation. It examines the process by which insurance policies are created and sold, and measures that process against the requirements for contract formation. This Article also distinguishes insurance policies from other types of standardized contracts, such as wrap agreements, which currently are the subject of much litigation and scholarly commentary. It then explores the doctrinal and theoretical bases underlying the specialized rules that ...


Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Christopher French Dec 2016

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Gandhi’S Prophecy: Corporate Violence And A Mindful Law For Bhopal, Nehal A. Patel Dec 2015

Gandhi’S Prophecy: Corporate Violence And A Mindful Law For Bhopal, Nehal A. Patel

Nehal A. Patel

AbstractOver thirty years have passed since the Bhopal chemical disaster began,and in that time scholars of corporate social responsibility (CSR) havediscussed and debated several frameworks for improving corporate responseto social and environmental problems. However, CSR discourse rarelydelves into the fundamental architecture of legal thought that oftenbuttresses corporate dominance in the global economy. Moreover, CSRdiscourse does little to challenge the ontological and epistemologicalassumptions that form the foundation for modern economics and the role ofcorporations in the world.I explore methods of transforming CSR by employing the thought ofMohandas Gandhi. I pay particular attention to Gandhi’s critique ofindustrialization and principle ...


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 ...


Insuring Floods: The Most Common And Devastating Natural Catastrophies In America, Christopher French Feb 2015

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Studying Is Dangerous? Possible Federal Remedies For Study Abroad Liability, Robert J. Aalberts, Chad G. Marzen, Darren A. Prum Jan 2015

Studying Is Dangerous? Possible Federal Remedies For Study Abroad Liability, Robert J. Aalberts, Chad G. Marzen, Darren A. Prum

Chad G. Marzen

Every year, thousands of U.S. students study abroad for academic credit. Study abroad programs have traditionally garnered strong congressional support, and proponents of the programs emphasize the educational, cultural, and diplomatic benefits from study abroad experiences.

Despite the many benefits of study abroad programs, risks are incurred overseas. In the past several years, a number of incidents have resulted in which students studying abroad have not only incurred physical harm, but in some instances have died while enrolled in a study abroad program. The current liability standards governing study abroad programs are murky. This article not only discusses the ...


The Personal Liability Of Insurance Claims Adjusters For Insurance Bad Faith, Chad G. Marzen Jan 2015

The Personal Liability Of Insurance Claims Adjusters For Insurance Bad Faith, Chad G. Marzen

Chad G. Marzen

One of the currents of change sweeping through the insurance industry is the rise of insurance bad faith liability. There is an emerging legal question today as to whether the individual employee adjusters of insurance companies can be subject to bad faith liability.This article examines the question of whether employee-adjusters of insurance companies can and should be held liable for insurance bad faith liability. Early reported cases involving personal liability for bad faith generally held that insurance company employee adjusters were immune from bad faith claims as they were not in privity of contract with insureds. However, three significant ...


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.


The Role Of The Profit Imperative In Risk Management, Christopher French Dec 2014

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Public Policy Considerations Concerning Insurance Bad Faith And Residual Market Mechanisms, Chad G. Marzen Jan 2014

Public Policy Considerations Concerning Insurance Bad Faith And Residual Market Mechanisms, Chad G. Marzen

Chad G. Marzen

The question of whether first-party insurance bad faith liability should be extended upon a state-run property insurer is an unresolved one in many jurisdictions. This article contributes to the contemporary literature regarding bad faith in insurance by comprehensively analyzing the history of, the nature of the claims associated with, and public policies concerning the imposition of bad faith liability upon state-run property insurers. This article makes it contribution by arguing the courts should not impose first-party bad faith liability on state-run property insurers who operate in the residual property insurance market.


Gambling On Our Financial Future: How The Federal Government Fiddles While State Common Law Is A Safer Bet To Prevent Another Financial Collapse, Brian M. Mccall Dec 2013

Gambling On Our Financial Future: How The Federal Government Fiddles While State Common Law Is A Safer Bet To Prevent Another Financial Collapse, Brian M. Mccall

Brian M McCall

Many politicians and commentators agree that credit default swaps (CDS) played a significant role in the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, few who observe this role are aware that CDS were set loose on the economy by the federal pre-emption of thousands of years of public policy. Since the time of Aristotle law, philosophy and public policy have been hostile to gambling. Viewed as a socially unproductive zero sum wealth transfer, the law has generally refused to permit parties to use the courts to enforce wagers. Courts and legislatures worked in harmony to control and in some cases punish financial ...


Waging War On Specialty Pharmaceutical Tiering In Pharmacy Benefit Design, Chad I. Brooker May 2013

Waging War On Specialty Pharmaceutical Tiering In Pharmacy Benefit Design, Chad I. Brooker

Chad I Brooker

Specialty drugs represent a growing concern for both health insurance issuers and beneficiaries given their exceedingly high (and growing) costs—representing almost half of all drug spend by 2017. Payers have sought to reduce their specialty drug spend by sharing more of the cost of these drugs with the beneficiaries who depend on them through the creation of specialty drug tiers. This has forced some patients to choose between forgoing other needs to pay for their medications or not take them at all. While several states have sought to outlaw the use of specialty drug tiers or limit pharmaceutical OOP ...


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 ...


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 Dec 2012

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Regulation Not Prohibition: The Comparative Case Against The Insurable Interest Doctrine, Sharo Michael Atmeh Jan 2012

Regulation Not Prohibition: The Comparative Case Against The Insurable Interest Doctrine, Sharo Michael Atmeh

Sharo M Atmeh

American law requires an insurable interest—a pecuniary or affective stake in the subject of an insurance policy—as a predi-cate to properly obtaining insurance. In theory, the rule prevents both wagering on individual lives and moral hazard. In practice, the doctrine is avoided by complex insurance transaction structuring to effectuate both origination and transfers of insurance by individuals without an insurable interest. This paper argues that it is time to ab-andon the insurable interest doctrine. As both the English and Aus-tralian experiences indicate, elimination of the insurable interest doctrine will have little detrimental pecuniary effect on the insurance industry ...


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 ...


The “Ensuing Loss” Clause In Insurance Policies: The Forgotten And Misunderstood Antidote To Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions, Chris French Dec 2011

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


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

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Debunking The Myth That Insurance Coverage Is Not Available Or Allowed For Intentional Torts Or Damages, Christopher French Dec 2011

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


Some Misleading Influences On The Reading Of Reinsurance Contracts: A Plea For Express Intent, Graydon S. Staring Jan 2011

Some Misleading Influences On The Reading Of Reinsurance Contracts: A Plea For Express Intent, Graydon S. Staring

Graydon S. Staring

Reinsurance is a business of transactions that cross national and state boundaries in great numbers and great values measured by premiums, risks and recoveries. It has very old roots as an innovative market free of control by any single nation, responsive to the intentions of parties and governed by the usages and ethical understandings of its principals inherited as part of international commercial practice. It is important that the intentions represented in its contracts be understood in whatever venue they are questioned to the same effect as they were to those who negotiated them. Although this laudable aim will occasionally ...


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 ...


Commentaries On The Recent Amendment Of The Insurance Law Of The People's Republic Of China Regarding Insurance Contracts From The Perspective Of Comparative Law, Kaun-Chun Chang Jan 2011

Commentaries On The Recent Amendment Of The Insurance Law Of The People's Republic Of China Regarding Insurance Contracts From The Perspective Of Comparative Law, Kaun-Chun Chang

Washington University Global Studies Law Review

The Article presents information on the amendment to the insurance law with reference to the history of the insurance law and the insurance industries in the People's Republic of China. The amendments focus on the insurable interests, disclosure of the duties of the insured, insurance fraud and the concept of double insurance, the contractual clauses and their legal interpretation. Information on the role of the amendments for the improvement in the legislation of the country is also presented.


Construction Defects: Are They “Occurrences”?, Chris French Dec 2010

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

Christopher C. French

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 ...


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 ...


Mixed Policies And Separability After Folksamerica, Graydon S. Staring Jan 2009

Mixed Policies And Separability After Folksamerica, Graydon S. Staring

Graydon S. Staring

The Kirby decision by the Supreme Court in 2004 is a landmark in admiralty jurisdiction of contracts with both marine and non-marine elements. The Folksamerica decision by the Second Circuit, the insurance case that follows it in 2005, is a distinctly important precedent requiring additional analysis from case to case in applying the new standard to insurance policies. The old prescription that maritime contracts be purely maritime with its exception for merely incidental non-maritime elements is overruled. Contracts apparently mixed are to be examined to determine whether their principal objective is to effectuate maritime commerce, and if so they are ...


The Insurance Function Of Contracts Revisited, Bruno Meyerhof Salama Jan 2007

The Insurance Function Of Contracts Revisited, Bruno Meyerhof Salama

Bruno Meyerhof Salama

One of the central problems in contract law is to define the frontier between legal and illegal breaches of promises. The distinction between good and bad faith is perhaps the conceptual tool most commonly used to tell one from the other. Lawyers spend a lot of energy trying to frame better definitions of the concepts of good and bad faith based on principles of ethics or justice, but often pay much less attention to theories dealing with the incentives that can engender good faith behavior in contractual relationships. By describing the economics of what Stiglitz defined as “explicit” and “implicit ...