Nixon Peabody secures summary judgment win for the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania in federal court

February 05, 2021

Media Relations Manager
Jaszver Bauzon

San Francisco, CA. Nixon Peabody secured an insurance coverage summary judgment win for the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (ICSOP)—a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc.—in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The Nixon Peabody team was led by Complex Commercial Disputes partner Matt Richards and attorney Dawn Valentine, both from the firm’s San Francisco office.

The plaintiff, City of Walnut Creek (City), sought coverage under liability policies issued in the 1960s and 1970s for flood damage lawsuits filed by property owners beginning in 2003, alleging property damage no earlier than 2000. The ICSOP insurance policy issued to the City only covered property damage occurring in the July 1, 1977, to July 1, 1978, policy period.

After obtaining key admissions from the City as part of Nixon Peabody’s targeted discovery strategy, the legal team filed a motion for summary judgement, arguing the City had not only failed to show the alleged underlying property damage occurred during the ICSOP policy period but had expressly admitted that no such claim had been made by the underlying plaintiffs.

During oral argument on February 5, 2021, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. quoted from and endorsed Nixon Peabody’s papers. In the Court’s Order, granting Nixon Peabody’s motion and entering judgment in ICSOP’s favor, the Court held: “It is clear that none of the underlying plaintiffs ever claimed that damage occurred during the long-ago policy periods…Those lawsuits only claimed that damage occurred, at the earliest, in 2000…Speculation about extraneous facts does not trigger a duty to defend or duty to indemnify.”

“The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania was subject to a lawsuit based purely on speculative allegations,” said Matt and Dawn. “This is a satisfying result for our client, and we are extremely proud of our entire team.”

In addition to Matt and Dawn, the Nixon Peabody legal team included e-discovery specialists Alicia Do and Thomas Lindsey, and paralegal Allen Rose.

The case is In re: American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 4:19-cv-02237 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California).

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