Updates on Insurance Coverage, Construction Defect
and Commercial Auto Law Developments
in North and South Carolina
Greetings from Evans & Co. Counselors and Litigators, with our March edition of our Case Notes series.
We write with our regular updates on insurance, construction defect , and commercial auto law in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina, which we last visited in October. We attach 18 pages presenting and analyzing the cases we mention below.
Please recall that our past Case Notes are archived at evanslawfirm.com and we would be pleased to bring current the decisions on which we've reported previously, at your request.
The North Carolina Federal District Court considers an advertising injury case under CGL terms, where the damages were due to trademark infringement expressly excluded by policy terms. Pathways to coverage for essentially the same acts exist under the policy wordings, but were rejected by this court. Claimants may use this precedent to draft complaints that either cover claims, or exclude claims, depending on their intention regarding the defendant and its insurers.
Another Federal District Court, applying North Carolina law, discusses the procedures for adjustment and appraisal of a property loss. Here the insurer concealed from the insured information regarding the loss which if known would have inflated the claim, and the court applied the doctrine of equitable estoppel, established in North Carolina law, to expand the homeowners deadline for filing suit against the insurer.
In South Carolina, their Federal District Court holds that an assault-and-battery exclusion does not bar a duty to defend where the complaint could be read to allege that the discharge of the firearm that injured the plaintiff, was accidental and not intentional.
We digest a case of first impression under South Carolina law, where the court found that a multi-car collision was one “accident” for the purposes of determining coverage limits, borrowing authority from other states and adopting the majority position on this issue.
A personal injury arising from fraternity hazing activities was squarely excluded from coverage by a specific hazing exclusion. In a property damage claim, the breaking of a man-made dam causing water damage to the claimant’s home was water damage due to flood which was specifically excluded from coverage. Finally we digest a UM/UIM case which holds that med pay may offset UM/UIM payments when the total of the payments makes the claimant whole.
 Once again these courts have not graced us with construction defect decisions during the relevant recent period.
Click here for our Case Notes for both states. (18 pages)