Legal Insights for the Insured

Matthew J. Morris

Matthew J. Morris

Associate

Matthew J. Morris is an associate in the Litigation Department. He works on a variety of disputes concerning insurance coverage, partnership and joint venture agreements, hotel management agreements, civil RICO and media and communications law.

Matt's analytical acumen has enabled him to contribute significantly to the firm's success in difficult appellate matters, including: two victories in the New York Court of Appeals, one in a dispute concerning whether the aggregate coverage limit of an excess liability insurance policy covering asbestos claims made against the insured was renewed annually, rather than continued over the three year period of the policy (16 N.Y.3d 419) and the other in a decision that established that an insured may obtain indemnification for payments made as disgorgement where such payments do not represent the insured’s own illicit gains (21 N.Y.3d 324); its victory in the New York Appellate Division in a dispute regarding whether an insured that sold asbestos believing its products could be used safely, despite its awareness of possible injuries, did not expect or intend such injuries for coverage purposes (101 A.D.3d 434); its successful appeal to the Second Circuit from a decision in which the district court had held that a "hell or high water" agreement barred Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. from arguing that it was constructively evicted from its premises, terminating its rent obligation (570 F.3d 513); and its representation of The New York Times in a case in which the lower court granted class certification to plaintiffs challenging the right to engage in newsgathering, and the appellate court reversed the certification order (895 A.2d 1173).

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds That Insured May Settle Tort Claim Without Insurer Consent Under “Fair and Reasonable” Standard

In Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. American Nuclear Insurers, a divided Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, deciding an issue of first impression under Pennsylvania law, recently held that when an insurer defends its insured subject to a reservation of rights, the insured may accept a settlement over the insurer’s refusal where the settlement is fair, reasonable, … Continue Reading

Divided New York Court of Appeals Holds That Under Noncumulation Clause Only One Limit Is Available to Cover Multiple Claims

In Nesmith v. Allstate Insurance Co., New York’s highest court, over a two-judge dissent, held that under the noncumulation clause in a landlord’s liability policy, only one limit was available to cover claims by children from different families who were exposed to lead paint in the same apartment during successive policy terms.  This result should … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Denies Policyholder’s Discovery Regarding Claims Handling

It is rare to see a state’s highest court address a discovery issue.  But the Supreme Court of Texas did just that recently in In re National Lloyds Insurance Co., holding that a policyholder’s demands for discovery about how her homeowner’s insurance carrier’s claims adjusters handled other insurance claims was an impermissible “fishing expedition.”  The … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds That Insured Must Reimburse Insurer For Litigation Costs Paid In Excess Of Sub-limit

In CAMICO Mutual Insurance Co. v. Heffler, Radetich & Saitta, L.L.P., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that a $100,000 sub-limit for claims involving employee misappropriation, misuse, theft or embezzlement in a claims made accountants professional liability insurance policy applied, requiring the insured to repay litigation costs the insurer … Continue Reading

Illinois Court Holds That Coverage for Malicious Prosecution Claim Is Triggered When the Prosecution Is Commenced, Not When It Is Terminated

An Illinois appellate court recently held in St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. City of Zion that coverage under a law enforcement liability policy for a malicious prosecution claim is triggered when the wrongful prosecution is commenced, not when it is terminated in favor of the accused.  The court thereby joined the majority … Continue Reading
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