Category: Insurance Coverage

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What to Ask About Recall or Product Contamination Insurance Coverage

If they don’t already have it, I advise my clients to talk with their insurance broker about purchasing recall insurance (otherwise known as product contamination insurance) . For clients who have recall insurance, I advise them to make sure the policy provides the coverage they expect. Recall insurance is a different animal than other policies … Continue Reading

Listen on Demand to April 29, 2011 AON Webinar on the FSMA

A 60-minute webinar broadcast on April 29 on the Food Safety Modernization Act (and a short discussion of implications of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster on food safety) is available for replay at this link. The webinar was sponsored by AON. My gratitude to AON for inviting me to participate. As always, I’m interested in your feedback and questions.… Continue Reading

Looking for Information and Presentations on FSMA, Recalls and The RFR? Look No Further.

I’ll be speaking at several events over the next two months on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and how this comprehensive and far reaching legislation affects the status quo for food companies. Two of these events are free, and all promise to address relevant and critical issues for those involved in the food industry. a. May … Continue Reading

Multiple Occurrences in a Single E.Coli Outbreak: Double-Edged Sword for Insureds?

Marler Clark clients and the owners of the restaurant that sold MarlerClark’s clients food they claim was contaminated with E.coli O111 joined forces against the restaurant’s insurer. In the end, the peronsal injury plaintiffs and the restaurant insured convinced the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma  on a Rule 56 summary judgment motion that a … Continue Reading

Insurer Says Coverage for HVP Recall “Limited or Precluded”

Employers Fire Insurance Company has brought a declaratory relief action against Basic Food Flavors, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Employers Fire says in its complaint that its policy "contain[s] certain terms, provisions, limits, conditions, exclusions and endorsements that limit or preclude coverage to Basic Food with respect to … Continue Reading

Denial of Insurance for Consumer Fraud/Lanham Act Claims: Blaming the Product, Not the Advertising?

UPDATE: For those interested in reviewing the Axis policy discussed in the motion, it can be linked here.  I’m often asked in my practice about the availability of insurance coverage for claims by consumers or competitors that products are deceptively labeled, marketed or advertised. Those interested in the topic should follow the litigation between Welch Foods, … Continue Reading

Defective Cans of Fruit Deemed “Usable” by Insurer … but for What?

Can products packaged defectively for consumer sale really be usable? According to a recent case adjudicating commercial general liabilty ("CGL") and commercial umbrella insurance policies, products packaged in defective cans are not necessarily unusable.  In Silgan v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., Judge Hamilton from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, recently ruled against Silgan, a can manufacturer, … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from November 3 Webinar: Making Good Marketing Claims: Product Labeling Pitfalls, Third-Party Certification and “Green Washing”

Tuesday, November 3, we held our second webinar in a three-part series on bringing sustainable food products to market. Thanks again to our presenters and attendees. The recorded webcast was archived and is accessible at this link. Click here to access a PDF copy of the presentation slides. Take-aways from the second webinar include: • … Continue Reading

Comment On Recent New York Times E. Coli and Beef Article: How Retailers Can Protect Themselves

Co-Authored By Guest Blogger Scott Hansen According to its website, last Sunday’s New York Times article on E. coli and beef is among the most widely read pieces published by the newspaper this week. The article tells the story of a 22-year-old Minnesota dance instructor who was left paralyzed after being infected with a strain of E. … Continue Reading

Litigation and Insurance Coverage Risks from Swine Flu (H1N1)

For food companies (and other businesses), a dangerous and deadly flu pandemic (e.g., H1N1) can be a business disaster. Adding insult to injury is personal injury litigation and the accompanying insurance coverage nightmares that follow. What Are the Personal Injury Litigation Risks? For restaurants, airlines, cruiselines, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, and other institutions, risk comes from … Continue Reading

Before the Outbreak, Preapprove Defense Counsel with Insurer

When a food-borne illness outbreak happens, few food companies (especially those whose brand is at stake) want an unfamiliar defense lawyer who has little knowledge about food-borne illness responding to claims asserted against them. Unless a food company maintains a high, self-insured retention or has the lawyer of its choosing preselected, its insurer might appoint … Continue Reading

Video From Governor’s Conference on Ensuring Food Safety

University of Nebraska has posted video on its website from the entire three days of the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Ensuring Food Safety. You can view my presentation on Defending Liability in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks. More important, you view the presentations of Dr. Andrew Benson and the other scientists who offer fascinating insights into the … Continue Reading

Tort Damages Not the Only Exposure from Food-Borne Illness Outbreaks

For lawyers and insurance adjustors, compartmentalizing food-borne illness claims is easy. They often see their jobs solely as minimizing the tort liability and legal fees. In my experience, attorneys and adjustors often fail to appreciate how outbreaks can affect a client’s (or even a whole industry’s) business going forward. Often, the long-term business losses of a … Continue Reading

Liability Limits: How Much Should Your Food Company Maintain?

Food business clients frequently want to ensure that they have sufficient liability limits in the event of an outbreak (they also want to make sure they have adequate coverage, but this is a separate discussion). Determining the amount of a business’s limits depends on the business’s possible exposures. No one-size-fits-all formula is available. Every business … Continue Reading

More on Reducing the Risk of Failure – Focus on Shifting Liability For Consumer Claims

Food Safety Magazine ran an interesting piece by Aaron Krauss titled “Reducing the Risk of Failure.”  The article was part of the magazine’s focus on limiting liability for food companies.  Mr. Krauss includes a good discussion of the pros and cons of indemnities and disclaimers of warranty and liability as ways to shift or reduce … Continue Reading

Tips For Successful Multiparty Food Liability Mediation

Mediation has become a critical process for resolving large, multi-party consumer claims. Settlement of these claims is often complicated by insurance and third-party recovery. Often a brokered process is the only practical way to get to a meeting of the minds. Yet, in my experience mediations that can succeed fail because of the lawyers and mediators. Having been … Continue Reading

A Reminder To Review Insurance

Law 360 has an article up this week titled “Coverage May Be Tricky For Food Recalls.” I am among the lawyers quoted in the article. For me, the takeaway is that any food company should have in place a strong team of insurance coverage counsel and brokers. Food companies need to ensure that they have in … Continue Reading

PCA Recall – Insurance Lessons for Food Sellers

Bill Marler posted on his blog recently a complaint for declaratory relief filed by an insurer for Peanut Corporation of America (“PCA”). Mr. Marler comments, “Frankly, I read this suit several times and still do not see what the fight is about.” For those who represent commercial insureds in pursuing coverage from their insurers, the suit … Continue Reading

2009 Priorities for USDA in Food Safety

I just returned from ACI’s Second National Forum on Food-Borne Illness, which included several interesting presentations and discussions. One was by Dan Engeljohn, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Policy and Program Development at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”). Mr. Engeljohn spoke about FSIS’s priorities for “2009 and beyond.” Takeaways from this … Continue Reading

Another Reminder Why Indemnification and Insurance Requirements Are Important

Last month, a state judge in Minnesota awarded summary judgment to a lettuce supplier of restaurants associated with an E. coli outbreak in 2006. The restaurant supplier brought suit against its suppliers. The suit appears to have been based at least in part on an indemnification agreement between Vistar (which delivered lettuce to restaurants) and … Continue Reading

“Organic Pathogens Exclusion”

Insurers are making efforts to exclude food-borne illness claims from coverage under comprehensive general liability (“CGL”) policies. The "Organic Pathogens Exclusion" is a good example. While a claim for food-borne illness may normally be covered by a CGL policy, if you have an organic pathogens exclusion, your insurer will not provide a defense and will … Continue Reading

More on Compensation for Tomato Growers

I wrote recently about legislation introduced in Congress to compensate tomato growers for their losses during the recent and protracted Salmonella Saintpaul investigation.  While the legislation has not yet advanced, Cindy Skrzycki from Bloomberg.com is also covering this issue and wrote a great article "Tomato Growers Seek Payback on Samonella Scare." According to the Bloomberg article, … Continue Reading

Government Assistance for Rotten Tomatoes?

     I recently received a call from a reporter about legislation introduced by Representative Tim Mahoney (D-Fl), that would provide “emergency assistance to growers and first handlers of tomatoes.”  The text of the bill, HR 6581, as referred to the House Agriculture Committee reads as follows: SECTION 1. EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR GROWERS AND FIRST … Continue Reading
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