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Recent Blog Posts

  • California Supreme Court Ruling Clarifies That the Notice-Prejudice Rule Is a Fundamental Public Policy That May Override Choice of Law Provisions In Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, the California Supreme Court resolved two previously open questions in insurance law: (1) it concluded that the notice-prejudice rule[1] is a fundamental public policy of California, and (2) it concluded that the notice-prejudice rule applies to consent provisions, but only in first-party policies. This decision provides three primary lessons to insureds. First, when a first-party insurer cites a strict notice provision as a complete bar to coverage, a California policyholder should respond by citing... More
  • Claims-Made Policy Note: Policy’s Use of Defined Terms May Expand or Limit Coverage Under Related Acts Provision In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Central District of California’s interpretation of the related acts provision in a professional liability policy, holding that related acts reported in a prior policy period were not excluded from coverage in a subsequent period because that policy defined “Policy Period” to mean only the current policy period, not any policy period. Attorneys Insurance Mutual Risk Retention Group, Inc. v. Liberty Surplus Ins. Co., No. 17-55597 (9th Cir., Feb. 15, 2019). As... More
  • CGL Coverage for False Advertising and Intellectual Property Claims: Sometimes It’s There, but You Need to Know Where to Look for it A recent case in the Northern District of California offers two cautionary tales to policyholders. First, when buying insurance, companies should understand their risks and ensure that the policies they’re buying match those risks as closely as possible. Second, when a claim arises, policyholders must carefully consider all the allegations, not just the formal causes of action, in the complaint to determine whether they might trigger an insurer’s defense obligation. The Case  In Educational Impact v. Travelers Property Casualty Company, No. 15-CV-0510-EMC,... More
  • California Supreme Court Concludes Attorney Invoices Privileged During Ongoing Litigation Attorney invoices may be protected in their entirety by the attorney-client privilege during ongoing litigation. After litigation has concluded, however, those same invoices may be discoverable. So concludes the California Supreme Court in a fascinating ending to a case we have been following since last June of last year, County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (opinion). In a 4-3 decision that mirrored the split we observed in oral argument, the Court reversed the decision of the... More
  • California Supreme Court Leans in Favor of Treating Defense Bills as Privileged Communications On October 6, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court, a case that we have blogged about twice in the past because of its possible impact on policyholders (see posts Submitting Your Defense Bills to Insurers Could Mean Waiving Privilege and California Supreme Court Will Review Appellate Decision Holding That Attorney Bills Are Privileged). On appeal, the Court will decide whether to affirm the California Court of Appeal’s decision that legal invoices... More