Monthly Archives: November 2016

Insuring Fine Art: The Visual Artists Rights Act and Its Bad Faith Implications

Insuring fine art can present challenges that are not encountered with other types of property. One of these challenges involves the application of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (17 U.S.C. §106A) (“VARA”) when artwork by a living artist is damaged.   VARA protects an artist’s “moral” rights in his/her work of art beyond traditional property law – in other words, even after a piece of art is sold, the artist retains certain rights to make sure that the artwork is not impermissibly modified. VARA provides the author of a “work of visual art” the right to “prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation, and

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Nickerson Redux: Five Lessons On Punitive Damages For Bad Faith Attorneys

This past June the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company, 63 Cal.4th 363 (2016), holding that post-trial Brandt fees could be included in the damage calculus for purposes of evaluating the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages. We wrote about this decision in an earlier blog. The Supreme Court remanded the $19 million punitive verdict to the Court of Appeals to amend the judgment to correct the maximum allowable amount of punitive damages of 10:1, or $475,000. In doing so, the Court of Appeals reissued its original decision. This decision has a number of issues that may guide insurance counsel in handling bad faith cases with a punitive exposure. The policy involved

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Ninth Circuit Finds Plausible Claim of Damages Avoids Dismissal of Bad Faith Lawsuit

Can an insurer be potentially liable for breach of contract or bad faith where the insured can only plead a plausible claim of damages? The Ninth Circuit has answered “yes” in a recent decision in the case of Beverly Burton v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 14-56721, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18617 (9th Cir. October 18, 2016). The Court held that the lower district court erred in dismissing a claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing where the Plaintiff has plausibly alleged that she incurred an economic loss, but where the relevant facts are known only to the carrier. In Burton, the Plaintiff asserted that Prudential failed to calculate interest on her son’s

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Avoiding Insurance Bad Faith
Cozen O’Connor represents insurance clients in jurisdictions throughout the U.S. against statutory and common law first- and third-party extracontractual claims for actual and consequential damages, penalties, punitive and exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and coverage payments. Whether bad faith claims are addenda to a broader coverage matter or are central to the complaint, Cozen O’Connor attorneys know how to efficiently respond to extracontractual causes of action. More
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