Member News

Posted December 31, 2020

Case Competition: AND THE WINNER IS... Gray v. Zurich (and Alex Henlin)!


       Alexander Henlin

Back in April, the ACCC began a competition to identify the most important insurance ruling in the modern era. With the aid of the dozen law school professors who comprise our Honorary Fellows, we assembled a list of 100 significant rulings dating back to 1929 (G.A. Stowers Furniture). Since April, a list of cases was posted on the ACCC Community Forum every Monday morning asking Fellows to select the most influential ruling within a particular groups of years.  

In the final weeks of the competition, there was a surprising preponderance of California cases.  Depending on your bias, this was due either to heavy “homer” voting by our California members (the cynical view) or the central role that California courts have played over the years in creating new standards for interpreting and applying insurance policies (charitable explanation).  As Professor Ken Abraham observed, the preponderance of Golden State cases in the final grouping should not be surprising given that “California was and is a pretty litigious state with a large population, an enormous economy, and a body of law that was attractive to policyholders selecting a forum for litigating their claims, as well as a Supreme Court that was very active during the years in question. It is no surprise to me that so many well-known and important cases come from California.”

By the start of December, the original list of 100 had been narrowed to four semi-finalists:   Gray v. Zurich Insurance (expanding scope of duty to defend), Gruenberg v. Aetna Ins. Co. (bad faith cause of action available in first-party claims as well), San Diego Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Ins. Society (creating right to independent counsel where a conflict of interest might affect the insured’s defense) and State Farm v. Campbell (setting due process standards to protect against excessive punitive damage awards).

In the end, the winner was Gray v. Zurich, one of the oldest cases in the competition and, ironically, the winner of the first round back in April.   The ACCC Fellow with the highest point total at the end of the competition is Alex Henlin of the Sulloway & Hollis firm in New Hampshire, followed closely by Neil Selman, Rich Traub, Mary McCutcheon, Andy Downs, Mike Hamilton and Bryan Weiss.  Alex will be honored for his intense coverage nerdiness at our 2021 Annual Meeting, where he will be presented with an inscribed copy of Randy Manilow’s indispensable General Liability Insurance Law:  Key Issues in Every State.

     In the view of Alex:

     “Gray v. Zurich Insurance Company, 419 P.2d 168 (Cal. 1966), is perhaps most responsible for transforming liability insurance into litigation insurance.  It’s been cited over 1500 times since it was issued, most recently in November 2020, by courts across the nation, and remains good law today.  In terms of durability and influence, it stands without peer.  The bedrock propositions announced in the holding have become the received wisdom for at least two subsequent generations of coverage lawyers.”

Although Gray had solid support from our California Fellows (one referred to it as “the Bible”), members from around the country attested to its influence on how courts have expanded the duty to defend.  As Rich Traub observed, Gray “has caused more consternation to insurers (and money) than any other decision I can think of (other than possibly triple trigger in environmental cases).”  Professor Leo Martinez takes a more positive view: “Over time, it has proven to be a standard by which other cases are measured.” Gray v. Zurich broke “new ground in three significant areas: the intentional acts exclusion, the doctrine of reasonable expectations, and the duty to defend. . . . [T]he confluence of these principles with extensions of each in a single case was unprecedented.”

Former ACCC President Lorie Masters praised Gray as the case that “confirmed that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify by adopting the ‘potential for coverage’ standard for the duty to defend.  That promise of defense coverage is fundamental to policyholders and, I would say, core to our practice area.”

     Insurer-side Fellow Neil Selman also emphasized the case’s groundbreaking impact:

     “Gray v. Zurich set new standards for the duty to defend, and impacted courts nationwide.  It stressed the need to examine the facts alleged in the pleading, and not the theory of recovery, and mandated that insurers look to the “potential” of liability under the policy in determining the applicability of the duty to defend.  But, forgetting that, it seems that a good way to determine the importance of a case is by the number of times it is cited by counsel in an attempt to forcefully argue for their position.  By this standard, no one can doubt that in the insurance coverage domain, Gray has no competition, both within California and on a national basis, and letters and briefs filed by my policyholder colleagues prove the point.”

This point was echoed by insurer-side Fellow Andy Downs, who commented that “Gray set the standard for the non-mechanical application of the duty to defend. Before Gray, the legal labels the plaintiff attached to its claims were largely controlling, post-Gray what happened mattered.”

Former ACCC President Mary McCutcheon took a more Dave Letterman view of Gray, identifying its ten most important features:

    10- What other 54-year-old insurance case continues to be cited not only in California but around the country? See, e.g. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Sweet Appetit, Inc., Case No. 19-CV-0630-CVE-JFJ (N.D. Okla. Nov. 9, 2020)

    9- It holds that something in the fine print is not “conspicuous plain and clear”. 

    8- This sentence alone makes it great- “[Defendants] cannot construct a formal fortress of the third party’s pleadings and retreat behind its walls.”

    7- It describes insurance companies as “institutions devoted to the public service.”

    6- It treats seriously the concept of “negligent self-defense.”

    5- It finds that Calif. Ins. Code Sec. 533 (“An insurer is not liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured…”) does not eliminate the duty to defend.

    4- It holds that an insurer must defend an otherwise non-covered complaint if it is “capable of amendment” to allege a covered claim. (What Honorary Fellow Sue Popik ironically calls “the gleam in the plaintiff’s eye” doctrine.)

    3- In drawing a distinction between “an intentional act” and “an intentional harm,” the California Supreme Court has given coverage geeks a subject for philosophical debate which continues to this day. 

    2- An insurer who fails to defend has to pay for a judgment that “has not necessarily been rendered on a theory within the policy coverage.” Talk about leverage for policyholders!

    1-  It immortalizes the phrase “potential for coverage”.

Bob Jerry at the University of Missouri Law School in Kansas City took a more empirical view of the important of Gray. “Of the eight cases in the “elite 8,” only two have been cited by other courts more often. One is the SCOTUS decision in State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell, which has been cited almost twice as often as Gray, is the subject of almost five times the number of discussions in secondary materials, and has a per-year citation rate more than five times the rate as Gray. Campbell, however, is not an insurance law case; it is a Fourteenth Amendment due process case involving punitive damages that happens to have an insurance company as the defendant. The case is certainly important, and it may be that Campbell is “the most consequential insurance company ruling” of the last 50 years, but this does not make Campbell the “most consequential insurance ruling.” Bank of the West has been cited by courts almost 400 times more often than Gray and has an annual citation rate nearly 2.5 times higher. But two headnotes in Bank of the West involving relatively simple and straightforward generalizations about insurance contract interpretation account for over half of Bank of the West’s citations.  Thus, Bank of the West may be the most convenient source of citations for a discussion that happens in almost every coverage case (i.e., “what are the rules of interpretation?”), but this does not make the case the “most influential.” Buss has a higher average citation rate, but because the issues discussed in Buss are narrower, it is unlikely to have the enduring importance properly attributed to Gray.”

True to his nature, Walter Andrews took a pithier view “Like gray-haired insurance lawyers, seminal insurance cases, like Gray v. Zurich, seemingly improve with age. The decision, like many of us, is over 50 years old and has gained almost mythical status in how lawyers cite it.  Will the ACCC one day achieve the same mythical status?”


Posted December 10, 2020

Robinson+Cole Lawyer Named to Business Insurance’s 2020 “Women to Watch” Class


Rhonda Tobin among outstanding group of female executives in the insurance and risk management sector

Robinson+Cole Litigation Section co-chair and Managing Committee member
Rhonda J. Tobin was selected by Business Insurance for inclusion in its 2020 “Women to Watch” recognition, which showcases an outstanding group of female executives in the insurance and risk management sector.

Now in its 15th year, the awards honor 50 women annually from around the globe who have been selected through a rigorous nomination process focusing on expertise, leadership qualities and achievements. Ms. Tobin was chosen from hundreds of nominations to be featured in a winner profile published in the December issue of Business Insurance, along with recognition during the publication’s virtual Women to Watch Conference and Awards Ceremony on December 10, 2020.

Ms. Tobin has represented insurance companies for almost 30 years in litigation of disputes involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith and extracontractual liability, and professional liability. She is one of six Connecticut attorneys named as a Fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel, the preeminent association of lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders. Ms. Tobin has also been listed as one of the Top 250 Women Litigators in the United States and a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation. In June, Ms. Tobin was selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2020 “Women in Business” recognition. She was among 15 honorees who demonstrate business success, confidence in themselves and their organizations, and a strong track record of professional leadership.

The Business Insurance is a singular, authoritative news and information source for executives focused upon insurance, risk management, risk transfer and risk financing. The publication’s Women to Watch awards program highlights the achievements of female leaders in the insurance sector to celebrate their success and promote gender diversity in the industry.

About Robinson+Cole

Robinson+Cole is an AmLaw 200 law firm established 175 years ago with a deeply-rooted culture of collaboration, civility and inclusion. With more than 220 lawyers in eleven offices throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Florida and California, we serve regional, national, and international clients, from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. Robinson+Cole is a service mark of Robinson & Cole LLP. For more information, please visit www.rc.com. 


Posted November 16, 2020

Andy Lundberg featured in Lawdragon's Legal Consultant Limelight profile on October 18, 2020.
Read the article here


Posted November 16, 2020

Richard E. Stewart passed away at age 85 on October 13, 2019

From Andy Lundberg: Dick was very well known to many of the ACCC members as a frequent consulting and testifying expert on all sorts of exotic and complex insurance issues, a role he assumed just as the big environmental coverage wars of the 1980s -- when many of us Fellows were cutting our teeth as insurance lawyers -- started to gather momentum. He really was a special person. The obituary is available on legacy.com at this link. Remembrances can also be posted at the legacy.com link. 

Posted September 25, 2020

Stacy Broman receives 2020 Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel Diversity Award

Stacy Broman

Meagher + Geer Partner Stacy Broman has been awarded the 2020 Diversity Award from the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC). The award celebrates efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and seeks to ensure equal opportunity for all persons in the membership, leadership, engagement and activities of the FDCC. Stacy earned this award through her work on the Barb Currie Scholarship, the Diversity Committee, the Admissions and the Membership Committees. She is known as a tireless supporter of diversity efforts both within and outside the legal community.

Stacy was awarded this honor during the virtual Annual Meeting on July 31, 2020.

Stacy focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation where she defends insurers in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, and represents professionals in professional liability litigation. She is also one of the firm’s leaders as a member of its Management Committee.


Posted September 8, 2020

Margo Brownell of Maslon firm in Minneapolis quoted in Insurance Journal article 
Owners Say Insurance Inadequate to Cover Demolition of Riot-Destroyed Buildings


Posted August 13, 2020

Robinson+Cole Lawyer Among Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation
ACCC Fellow Rhonda Tobin is the only female litigator in Connecticut named to national list 

Robinson+Cole Partner and Litigation Section Co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2020. In this national list published on August 13, 2020, Ms. Tobin is the only female litigator chosen in the state of Connecticut. This is the sixth consecutive year she has received the distinction.

Ms. Tobin has represented insurance companies for almost 30 years in litigation of complex disputes involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith and extracontractual liability. In addition to serving as co-chair of Robinson+Cole’s Litigation Section, she is a member of the firm's Managing Committee. Ms. Tobin is one of six Connecticut attorneys named as a Fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel, the preeminent association of lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders. She was also selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2020 “Women in Business” recognition.

According, to its website, “the extensive research process used in the creation of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation 2020 involves months of investigation into individual litigators’ professional activities as well as client feedback surveys and one-on-one interviews, and has culminated in the selection of the most distinguished women in the world of litigation.” Attorneys named in the publication were chosen through several phases of research: review of their recent case work, consideration of how attorneys at peer legal institutions might rank them, and client feedback on their performances. Information about Benchmark Litigation’s ranking process can be read here.


Posted July 16, 2020
Virtual Arbitrations and Mediations Are Here to Stay
By Steve Gilford of JAMS 

Posted June 22, 2020
GOING VIRAL:  Will Regulatory Estoppel Arguments Undermine the Virus Exclusion?
By Michael Aylward

Posted June 16, 2020

Andy Lundberg named to Global 100 Leaders in Litigation Finance
ACCC Fellow Andy Lundberg, a Managing Director at Burford Capital, was named to Lawdragon’s inaugural Global 100 Leaders in Legal Finance.  The complete list, published on June 4, 2020, can be found here

Posted June 10, 2020

Robinson+Cole Lawyer Named to Hartford Business Journal’s 2020 “Women in Business” Class
Rhonda Tobin among honorees recognized for making a significant difference within their organization and the community

R Tobin

Robinson+Cole Litigation Section co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin was selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2020 “Women in Business” recognition. Ms. Tobin is among 15 honorees who demonstrate business success, confidence in themselves and their organizations, and a strong track record of professional leadership. The honorees were each profiled in a special section published in the April 6, 2020 edition of the Hartford Business Journal. 

Ms. Tobin has represented insurance companies for almost 30 years in litigation of disputes involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith and extracontractual liability, and professional liability. In addition to serving as co-chair of Robinson+Cole’s Litigation Section, she is a member of the firm's Managing Committee. Ms. Tobin is the only woman, and one of five Connecticut attorneys, named as a fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel, the preeminent association of lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders. She has also been listed as one of the Top 250 Women Litigators in the United States and a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.

The Hartford Business Journal's 2020 “Women in Business” class features 15 remarkable women, selected from a record-breaking 116 nominations, who are being recognized for making a significant difference within their organization and the community. In lieu of a recognition event, which was canceled as a result of the current social distancing guidelines in effect, honorees were celebrated during a special two-part webinar series titled “Women in Business Leaders Power Hour Webinars: Leading, Inspiring & Motivating Through Change” hosted on June 2 and June 9. During the webinars, 2020 Women in Business honorees discussed their leadership roles as well as inspiring and motivating through change and growth.

About Robinson+Cole
Robinson+Cole, an AmLaw 200 law firm established 175 years ago in Connecticut, has more than 200 lawyers in eleven offices throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Florida and California. We serve regional, national, and international clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Robinson+Cole is a service mark of Robinson & Cole LLP. For more information, please visit www.rc.com


Posted May 28, 2020

Kramon & Graham rankings increase in 2020 Chambers USA legal guide
ACCC Fellow Lee Ogburn, identified as "preeminent practitioner in the coverage area" and receives top tier ranking again this year.

Kramon & Graham, a leading law firm providing litigation, real estate, and transactional services, announced today that twelve firm attorneys have been recognized for legal excellence and client service in the 2020 Chambers USA legal ranking guide.

Kramon & Graham's Commercial Litigation practice holds its Band 1 ranking for the sixteenth consecutive year and is one of only four firms in the state recognized at this level. The group is co-led by Phil Andrews and Jean Lewis.

The firm's Insurance Coverage practice group also maintains its Band 1 ranking. Only one other firm in the state is recognized at this level. Lee Ogburn, whom Chambers identifies as a "preeminent practitioner in the coverage area" and who also receives top tier ranking again this year, leads the group which represents national property and casualty insurers in disputes involving more than $1 billion.  

Also ranked is the firm's Real Estate practice, which Chambers describes as offering "experience across all stages of commercial property development, including the purchase, financing, leasing and sale of assets."

In this year's guide, Kramon & Graham founding principal Andrew Jay Graham earns his fifth "Star Individual" ranking, a designation reserved for attorneys garnering exceptional recommendations from clients and peers.

The newly released publication again ranks Natalie McSherry in Band 1 for her successful representation of clients in medical malpractice matters.

The complete list of Kramon & Graham attorneys recognized in the 2020 Chambers USA legal guide are:

Amy E. Askew, Litigation, Medical Malpractice Defense
Cynthia Berman, Real Estate
John A. Bourgeois, Litigation
Geoffrey H. Genth, Litigation
Ezra S. Gollogly, Insurance
Andrew Jay Graham, Litigation
Jean Lewis, Litigation
Steven M. Klepper, Insurance
M. Natalie McSherry, Medical Malpractice Defense
Lee H. Ogburn, Insurance
Stuart M.G. Seraina, Insurance
James P. Ulwick, Litigation

Comments about the firm and individual lawyers include:

  • "The firm is highly responsive, thorough in its analysis of issues and strives to provide practical solutions to complex disputes."
  • "Every lawyer we have worked with in litigation or appellate work has a great courtroom presence."
  • "When something requires sensitivity and smarts, [Andrew Jay Graham] is a go-to lawyer…."
  • "Excellent: tenacious, smart, well prepared and very involved."

Chambers USA is one of the most prestigious legal ranking guides in publication. Updated annually, the guide's thorough vetting process ranks attorneys based on technical legal skills, client service, astuteness, diligence, commitment, professional conduct, and other qualities.

Chambers USA is published by Chambers & Partners. A description of the selection methodology can be found at https://chambers.com/research/methodology.


Posted May 27, 2020

Mike Huddleston honored by the State Bar of Texas.

The Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas has presented Michael W. Huddleston with the “Russell H. McMains Legends of Texas Insurance Law Award.” The Insurance Law Section from time to time presents the Russell H. McMains Legends of Texas Insurance Law Award to recognize a senior Texas insurance lawyer who represents the highest levels of accomplishment, competence, professionalism, and ethics in the practice of insurance law, and who inspires others to do likewise. The award is the most significant recognition for Texas insurance law practitioners.

The award is named for the late Russell H. (“Rusty”) McMains, who was a Chair of the Section and one of its founders, and who epitomized the type of practitioner the award is designed to honor. Huddleston is a past-Chair of the Insurance Section, one of the original four officers and a founder of the Section. Huddleston was recently elected Secretary/Treasurer of the American College of Coverage Counsel. He is Chair of the Insurance Recovery Practice Group at Munsch, Hardt, Kopf & Harr, LLC.

The award was presented on Zoom by Section Chair William Chriss, a close friend of Rusty McMains. On receiving the award, Huddleston observed: “To receive an award named after Rusty McMains is an incredible honor. I had the challenge of defending cases against Rusty and combining forces in other matters. He was a great, creative lawyer and great friend.” Huddleston gave credit to his mentors, R. Brent Cooper and Jim E. Cowles, and his long-time partners and colleagues, including fellow Munsch Hardt Senior Counsel Steve Gibson, and the support of his current firm Munsch, Hardt, Kopf & Harr.


Posted April 17, 2020

Andy Lundberg's Law360 Article
Click here to read Andy's article dealing with the subject of coverage issues flowing out of the new Coronavirus, "A Call To Action For The Coming Insurance Litigation Siege".


Posted March 26, 2020

Dominica Anderson's Co-authored Article

Click here to read the DuaneMorris blog article, "Heating Up: New Orleans-Based Oceana Grill Seeks Insurance Coverage for Coronavirus-Caused Business Interruption"


Posted March 24, 2020

Laurie Dugoniths Busbee's Co-authored Article
Click here to read the Aprio piece on business interruption due to COVID-19.


Posted March 12, 2020

The Coronavirus’ Impact on Business Interruption Coverage Is “Direct Physical Loss” Being Redefined?
By Rick Hammond, Partner of HeplerBroom, LLC. Click here to read the article. 


Posted March 10, 2020

Laura Foggan quoted in Business Insurance on business disruption insurance due to COVID-19.

Many commercial policyholders will likely file claims for supply chain related losses resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. Laura Foggan of Crowell & Moring LLP comments in this Business Insurance article. Click here to access.


Posted February 5, 2020

Clifford Shapiro's latest article on
 the “occurrence” issue, published by the Illinois State Bar Association

You should also be aware that on December 18, 2019 the Illinois Appellate Court (1st Dist.) issued another “occurrence” decision (Lloyd's v. Metropolitan Builders - copy attached).  Incredibly, the introduction to the decision states:  “And as we will see below, much of our analysis in those cases has been driven less by the literal contextual construction and more by considering the overall purpose of CGL policies.”  Thus, we now have an admission by our Appellate Court that the legal analysis used in Illinois does not apply the actual terms of the modern day CGL insurance contract, but instead applies a legal gloss based on the court’s own view of the “overall purpose” of the CGL insurance policy.  Unfortunately, the court’s view of the “overall purpose” of the CGL policy is outdated and completely incorrect.  Among other things, it fails to discuss or to recognize that the insurance industry itself specifically and intentionally changed the “overall purpose” of the CGL policy in the construction claim context when the terms of the insurance contract were changed back in 1986.

Construction Law January 2020  |  2019 IL App (1st) 190517 


Posted December 2, 2019


DBusiness
names Browning among Top Lawyers

DBusiness magazine recently named 20 metro Detroit attorneys from Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, to its 2020 list of “Top Lawyers.” The DBusiness Top Lawyers list was compiled based on a peer-review survey open to all metro Detroit lawyers. The publication polled 19,000 attorneys in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties to nominate lawyers among 50 practice areas. The list was published in the November/December edition and included ACCC Fellow Charles Browning.


Posted November 12, 2019

Six ACCC Fellows quoted by Jeff Sistrunk in Law360 on key insurance rulings

College Fellows Michael A. HamiltonSeth LamdenMichael ManireJohn VishneskiBryan Weiss, and Franklin Cordell, were quoted in "3 Key Insurance Rulings Attorneys Should Know This Fall." Click here to read the piece. 


Posted November 1, 2019

The new Bermuda Triangle: Arbitration of Coverage Disputes Under the Bermuda Form
By Lorelie S. Masters, Michael S. Levine, and Latosha M. Ellis


The commercial insurance programs of many multinational and US businesses include “Bermuda Form” policies, a unique policy form developed in Bermuda in the mid-1980s that provides for arbitration of disputes, usually in London under the substantive law of New York. Click here for the full article.  


Posted October 7, 2019

Zale Files it Appellant’s Brief in its Dallas D&O Coverage Action Involving Delaware Securities Appraisal Action.

Between the Zale action in Dallas (which the insurers won on summary judgment) and the Solera Holdings action in Delaware (which the policyholder won the first ruling), a number of Fellows are involved in this high-stakes litigation involving significant money. 

As widely reported in the blogs, the parties in Solera Holdings are seeking an interlocutory appeal of the district ruling in favor of the policyholder to the Delaware Supreme Court; however, the Delaware Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to accept the interlocutory appeal.

So, these all or nothing coverage disputes with completely opposite district court rulings are taking very interesting parallel tracks.

Also interesting is the fact that the Dallas Court of Appeals had significant turnover in the 2018 election in which all incumbent Republican judges were defeated (Texas elects their judges in contested political elections). Currently, the Dallas Court of Appeals, which has been solidly and totally Republican for decades, is now comprised of 8 Democrats and 5 Republicans. An initial analysis of the significant state-wide transformation from Republican to Democrat Judges by Haynes & Boone indicates the beginning of a pro-plaintiff trend.

Unless there are extensions, the insurers Appellee’s Briefs will be due on November 4.  

Zale Appellant Brief


Posted September 11, 2019

Fifth Circuit certifies 8-Corner/Extrinsic Evidence Case to the Texas Supreme Court 
Regent Mike Huddleston to Play Significant Role

On September 9, 2019, a two-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit issued an unpublished Per Curium opinion that certifies a very interesting extrinsic evidence duty to defend case to the Texas Supreme Court.

A key issue is whether there is a policy-language exception to the 8-corner rule when the policy requires the insurer to provide a defense “[i]f a claim is made or a suit is brought against an insured for damages because of bodily injury … to which this insurance applies;” as opposed to the traditional policy language requiring the insurer to defend “even if the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent.”

In this case, the district court allowed State Farm to rely on extrinsic evidence to invoke exclusions to deny a defense. The two-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit in an unpublished Per Curium opinion, which is attached, certified the following question to the Texas Supreme Court: 

  1. Is the policy-language exception to the eight-corners rule articulated in B. Hall Contracting, Inc. v. Evanston Ins. Co., 447 F. Supp. 2d 634 (N.D. Tex.), a permissible exception under Texas law?

Mike is involved as the lead appellate attorney for the claimants.

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