WWM Wins Major Pro Rata Allocation Ruling in Missouri Pollution Coverage Action

Bob Arnold, Peter Daniels and Garry Glass Secure Pro Rata Allocation in Missouri Pollution Coverage Action

Granting a motion filed by Walker Wilcox Matousek, Missouri Circuit Judge Thea Sherry has ruled that pollution losses should be allocated pro rata under Illinois and Missouri law. The case involved three separate lines of insurance issued to predecessors of policyholder, Mallinckrodt. Mallinckrodt sought insurance under all of these policies for environmental claims at over twenty different sites throughout the United States.

The court began its analysis with choice of law, observing that it was unnecessary to decide which state’s law applied if there was no actual conflict among the possible choices. The parties agreed that Missouri and Illinois were potentially applicable, so the court examined the laws of those states. Turning to Illinois first, the court focused on two cases: Outboard Marine Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 283 Ill.App.3d 630 (2nd Dist. 1996) and Zurich v. Raymark Indus, Inc., 514 N.E.2d 150 (Ill. 1987). Continue reading

WWM Successfully Defends Favorable Trial Ruling on Bad Faith Before 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

WWM Attorneys Robert Conlon and Christopher Wadley successfully defended, on appeal before the Ninth Circuit, a trial judgment they obtained in favor of a legal malpractice liability insurer in a complex, multimillion-dollar coverage and bad faith lawsuit. Weinstein & Riley, P.S. v. Westport Ins. Corp., Nos. 11-35325, 11-35341, 2012 WL 2024770 (9th Cir. June 6, 2012).

The case arose out of two underlying lawsuits involving the insured attorney. The first action, which was filed against the insured attorney in Oregon, involved the forced sale of a company that the attorney owned and controlled, and the separation of that company from the insured attorney’s law firm. The second action, which was filed against the insured attorney in Washington, involved malpractice claims against the insured attorney and his firm brought by the company he formerly owned and controlled, after the insured attorney sold his interests in the company. The insured attorney sought coverage from his legal malpractice carrier for approximately $2 million in attorney’s fees incurred in the underlying lawsuits. Continue reading

WWM Wins Summary Judgment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

WWM attorneys Robert Conlon won summary judgment on behalf of WWM’s client, a professional liability insurance carrier, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. WWM’s client declined coverage for a third-party claimant’s lawsuit against the insured law firm on the bases that the allegations: did not fall within the scope of coverage provided by the policy’s Insuring Agreement; and, were also barred by an exclusion.  The insured filed a declaratory judgment action against WWM’s client in Florida state court alleging that the client breached the insurance contract by declining coverage for the claim.  WWM successfully removed the matter to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and thereafter filed its motion for summary judgment arguing the two coverage defenses.  The insured firm filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. Continue reading