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20 Aug 2015 What Insurance Should Cover Target’s Visa Settlement?

Two years later, and the Target data breach continues to make headlines.   Does anyone need to be reminded that Target suffered a data breach in 2013? Seeing that the breach continues to be litigated and settlements continue to be announced with payment card brands, it is difficult to forget the incident.   Most recently, Target announced that it had reached a settlement with Visa.[1] According to reports, Target could “pay as much as $67 million to banks that issue Visa cards.”[2] Target’s earlier $19 million settlement with MasterCard[3] ended up being scuttled; Target and MasterCard reportedly are working on another resolution.[4]   What is Target settling?   Target’s settlement with Visa likely is to resolve the alleged damages resulting from Target’s payment card breach….

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21 Apr 2015 UPDATE: Georgia Supreme Court Sides with Insurer in Settlement Rights Fight

I previously reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit had certified questions to the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding the rights of an insurer to refuse to consent to a settlement and, thereby, absolve itself of any payment obligation for any settlement entered into by the policyholder. See Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-11987 (11th Cir. Oct. 21, 2014). On April 20, 2015, the Supreme Court of Georgia sided with the insurer. See Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. S15Q0418 (Ga. Apr. 20, 2015). The opinion creates a Hobson’s choice for policyholders wishing to settle underlying lawsuits, even in cases where those insurers expressly agreed in their policies that they would…

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10 Apr 2015 Indiana Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Significant Allocation Issue

Does an insurance carrier have to pay 100 percent of a settlement or judgment resolving a latent injury claim, or can it get away with paying just a fraction of the total cost? That is the issue currently under consideration by the Indiana Supreme Court.   On April 2, 2015, in Thomson, Inc. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., Case No. 49A05-1109-PL-470, the Indiana Supreme Court heard oral argument on an oft-disputed issue between carriers and policyholders over how indemnity costs are to be allocated in long-tail lawsuits alleging latent injuries incurred over numerous years or decades (for example, environmental or toxic tort suits). The outcome of this dispute could have a profound impact on the scope of the coverage available to policyholders for these…

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25 Mar 2015 Scott Godes Quoted in Cyber Risk Network’s article, “10 million settlement with consumers a ‘good deal’ for Target, insurers”

Scott Godes, partner and member of the firm’s Policyholder Insurance Recovery Group, was recently quoted in Cyber Risk Network’s article, “10 million settlement with consumers a ‘good deal’ for Target, insurers.”   In a recent class-action lawsuit, Target Corp and consumers have agreed to a $10 million settlement after a data breach during 2013.  Consumers now will have to demonstrate harm by documenting direct losses from the breach, such as cost to replace identification.   Among other things, Scott is quoted saying, “The settlement should do nothing to consumers’ ability to prove harm and/or damages. The case never made it to a stage where there was showing of actual harm. At this point, there were only allegations of harm. The fact the case settled should…

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13 Jan 2015 Your Liability Insurer Agreed to Defend? Don’t Relax Yet.

You tendered a lawsuit to your liability insurer. You cooperated with its investigation of the claim, and maybe you had to challenge an initial denial. Now, you have a hard-earned letter from your insurer agreeing to defend the suit. This is a significant milestone in managing your risk for the liability, but the need for vigilance to maximize your insurance benefits and protect your rights is far from over. Whether there are thousands or millions at stake, policyholders must remain vigilant and active, to ensure they are receiving maximum benefit from their coverage.   Even after your insurer agrees to defend, numerous disputes may still arise that can affect whether you maintain control over decisionmaking, whether the insurer pays everything it owes under the policies,…

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04 Nov 2014 Know Your Rights: Policyholders’ Defense and Settlement Rights

In Piedmont Office Realty Trust v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., No. 14-11987 (11th Cir. Oct. 21, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified questions to the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding the extent to which an insurance company was bound by a settlement to which it refused to consent. This case represents one of an increasing number of disputes between policyholders and their insurance companies over the defense and settlement of underlying lawsuits. Having lost the battle to narrow the scope of their defense and settlement obligations in many states, insurance companies appear to have opened a new front:  attempting to reduce the cost of their defense and settlement obligations.  This may take the form of refusing to consent to…

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