By the Kean Miller State and Local Tax Team

On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., Dkt. No, 17-494, 585 U.S. __ (June 21, 2018).  In addition to overturning the physical presence substantial nexus standard applicable to use tax collection requirements articulated

The legal process typically begins with a claim, which, if not resolved, can result in a lawsuit.  There are steps a business should take to protect itself at the claim stage, or when a lawsuit is served.  Larger businesses may have a risk manager with the formal training and experience needed to respond to a

Almost everyone knows insurance policies provide a defense and indemnity for insureds, if the terms and conditions of the insurance policy are met. Insureds include named insureds, other insureds (as defined by the policy) or additional insureds as provided by endorsement. However, insurance policies may also provide payment and defense to others who are not insureds under the policies.

Most liability policies provide coverage to the insureds for liability when the insureds have contractually agreed to provide indemnity and/or defense to or party to a contract. A typical example of contractual indemnity coverage can be found in a construction contract to supply labor and materials related to electrical wiring in the construction of a home, office, pipeline or oil rig.Continue Reading Contractual Indemnity Coverage Under Someone Else’s Insurance Policy May Provide Coverage in Unexpected Places

In Louisiana, an insurer’s duty to defend it’s insured typically depends on the “four corners rule,” in which the court examines the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s petition and the terms of the insurance policy.  If there is the possibility of coverage, the insurer’s duty to defend is triggered. However, in Sibley v. Deer Valley

In Sher v. Lafayette Insurance Co. (La. 2008), an apartment unit was flooded when levees failed immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The insurer inspected the property to determine the amount of covered loss and concluded that most of the building’s damage was due to poor maintenance, disrepair, and flooding. Checks totaling slightly more than $2,700 were tendered but rejected. Although the term “flood” was not defined in the policy, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected the argument that the definition depended on whether the event resulted from a natural disaster or a man-made one, instead focusing on the prevailing meaning of the word “flood,” i.e., the overflow of a body of water causing a large amount of water to cover an area that is usually dry. Accordingly, the court did not find the term ambiguous, and found that the levee breaches were covered by the flood exclusion.
Continue Reading Water From Broken Levees Falls Within Insurance Policy Flood Exclusion

In Landry v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Co. (La. 2008), the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected a homeowner’s breach of contract claim against the insurer for failure to pay the face value of the policy after their house was totally destroyed by Hurricane Rita. The parties did not dispute that the insurance in question covered any loss caused by wind and rain, and that the policy specifically excluded damages caused by flood waters. Even so, the homeowner claimed that Louisiana’s statutory law (R.S. 22:695) obligated the insurer to pay the face value of the policy. The insurer responded, asserting several defenses, including damages caused by flood, high tides, and storm surge. The statute in question was the Louisiana Value Policy Law (R.S. 22:695), that sets forth the methodology to compute loss and that its provisions are not altered due to concurrently causing damages, even if one of such damages is not covered.
Continue Reading Louisiana Value Policy Law Does Not Control Amount of Insurance Loss

The Louisiana New Home Warranty Act provides the exclusive remedies, warranties, and prescriptive periods (statute of limitations) as between builder and owner related to home construction. The Act’s minimum required warranties are mandatory, and cannot be waived by the owner or reduced by the builder. Homeowners cannot avoid the exclusivity by crafting recovery claims through other theories. Consequently, the New Home Warranty Act provides the exclusive remedy, but permits the builder to contractually assume greater obligations or warranties than those set forth in the Act.
Continue Reading Louisiana New Home Warranty Act Protects Insurance Carriers

Louisiana courts preclude summary judgments on insurance coverage matters until the underlying litigation is resolved and the factual basis for the insured’s liability is determined. For example, in Vidrine v. Constructors, Inc., 953 So.2d 193 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 2007), welders, pipe fitters and their helpers brought action against the employer and plant owner to recover for asbestos exposure allegedly arising during a plant renovation. One of the insurers filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting there was no coverage based on an exclusionary provision for bodily injury caused or aggravated “by the conditions of your employment.” Under that provision, the employee’s last day of last exposure had to occur during the policy period. The insurer based its summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ petition and discovery responses that alleged asbestos exposure beyond the last day of the policy period.
Continue Reading Lack of Final Determination Precludes Insurance Coverage Summary Judgment