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In a recent case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit considered whether a below-limit payment by a primary insurance carrier could trigger excess insurance coverage in circumstances where the policyholder settled the underlying action for an amount far in excess of primary insurance policy limits. Martin Resource Mgmt. Corp. v. Axis Ins. Co., No. 14-40512, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18279 (5th Cir. Oct. 21, 2015).…
In McGinnes Indus. Main’t Corp. v. The Phoenix Ins. Co. (Case No. 14-0465), the Texas Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote joined the majority of other courts to have considered the issue and  answered in the affirmative a question certified to it by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals: Whether the EPA’s PRP letters and/or unilateral administrative order, issued pursuant to CERCLA, constitute a “suit” within the meaning of the CGL policies, triggering the…
The Texas Supreme Court is grappling with conflicting principles from its prior decisions in a case that may affect how insurers approach the duty to defend in Texas. In Seger v. Yorkshire Ins. Co., Ltd., (Case No. 13-0673), the carriers denied coverage on a wrongful death claim against a company called Diatom.  Claiming an inability to pay for counsel, Diatom defaulted post-answer and made no attempt to defend the claims at trial.  It…