October 2017 Update
The current update includes changes throughout this publication that reflect recent developments in case law, legislation, court rules, and jury instructions. Summarized below are some of the more important developments included in this update since publication of the 2016 update.
Accident. In Navigators Specialty Ins. Co. v Moorefield Constr., Inc. (2016) 6 CA5th 1258, the court defined an accident as “an unexpected, unforeseen, or undesigned happening or consequence from either a known or an unknown cause.” See §2.42.
Occurrence. For a recent case discussing the distinction between an “occurrence” and the resulting “bodily injury or property damage” and how “bodily injury or property damage” must occur during the policy period for coverage to exist, see Tidwell Enters., Inc. v Financial Pac. Ins. Co. (2016) 6 CA5th 100, discussed in §2.44.
Regular use. In Medina v GEICO Indem. Co. (2017) 8 CA5th 251, the court found that a company van was a nonowned vehicle because it was furnished for regular use by the employee even though she was a permissive user at the time of the accident. See §4.12.
Punitive damages. For two recent cases discussing punitive damages, see Bigler-Engler v Breg, Inc. (2017) 7 CA5th 276 (defendant’s low degree of reprehensibility and relatively low harm suffered by plaintiff, coupled with jury overestimating defendant’s net worth, required reduction in punitive damages award) and Nickerson v Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (2016) 5 CA5th 1 (10:1 ratio was constitutional given high level of reprehensibility; $35,000 in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages), both discussed in §10.35.
Cancellation. In Mills v AAA N. Cal., Nev. & Utah Ins. Exch. (2016) 3 CA5th 528, an insurer canceled a policy after the insured failed to respond to a written request to either complete the form to exclude his son from the policy or call the insurer to add him to the policy. See §8.7.
Other insurance. If one insurer is a specific excess insurer and the other is a general excess insurer, the court may find that the specific excess policy attaches before the general excess policy. See Advent, Inc. v National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. (2016) 6 CA5th 443 in §11.4.