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Stout Risius Ross, LLC v. Aspen Specialty Ins. Co.

Stout Risius Ross LLC asked for a declaratory judgment to require Aspen Specialty Insurance Co. to defend Stout Risius Ross in a lawsuit brought against it by its former client, Wilmington Trust, in an ESOP matter. Stout Risius Ross performed a valuation for an ESOP transaction that the court later criticized in that matter (Brundle). After being sued by Wilmington Trust, Stout Risius Ross filed a claim with Aspen, which was denied by Aspen, citing the “prior knowledge” clause. The court denied Stout Risius Ross’ motion for declaratory judgment and did not allow Stout Risius Ross to amend its motion.

U.S. District Court Dismisses Accounting Firm’s Plea to Require Insurance Company to Defend a Lawsuit Against It

Stout Risius Ross LLC asked for a declaratory judgment to require Aspen Specialty Insurance Co. to defend Stout Risius Ross in a lawsuit brought against it by its former client, Wilmington Trust, in an ESOP matter. Stout Risius Ross performed a valuation for an ESOP transaction that the court later criticized in that matter (Brundle). After being sued by Wilmington Trust, Stout Risius Ross filed a claim with Aspen, which was denied by Aspen, citing the “prior knowledge” clause. The court denied Stout Risius Ross’ motion for declaratory judgment and did not allow Stout Risius Ross to amend its motion.

What It's Worth: Valuing Insurance Agencies

September 2021 PDF

BVR (editor)

Business Valuation Resources, LLC

What It’s Worth: Valuing Insurance Agencies takes a deep dive into the unique considerations for insurance agency and brokerage valuation – as well as the long-term outlook for consumer preferences and financial performance. The report draws upon the best data and industry sources available, summarizes key insights and appraisal factors, and will help guide your professional judgment in determining a conclusion of value that is as reliable as ever. Learn more >>

Malpractice Insurer Not Required to Defend Valuation Firm for Claim Alleging Securities Fraud

This case featured a motion to dismiss a claim from an insured that the plaintiff, Great American, was required to defend the defendant, Stout, against a claim by ESOP plaintiffs that Stout committed “federal securities fraud.” While the Great American policy covered valuation services, the policy also featured an exclusion for claims against the insured for securities violations.

Great Am. Fid. Ins. Co. v. Stout Risius Ross, Inc.

This case featured a motion to dismiss a claim from an insured that the plaintiff, Great American, was required to defend the defendant, Stout, against a claim by ESOP plaintiffs that Stout committed “federal securities fraud.” While the Great American policy covered valuation services, the policy also featured an exclusion for claims against the insured for securities violations.

King v. King

This divorce case appeal deals with three primary issues: the determination of the value of insurance agency marital asset, the determination of the amount of personal goodwill attaching to the insurance agency, and the appropriate amount of alimony. The court remands the value of the business as it relates to the exclusion by the trial court of the liabilities the business owed, remands as to the appropriate amount of personal goodwill, and remands as to the erroneous level of income of the husband for determination of alimony.

Florida Trial Court’s Valuation Findings, Including Personal Goodwill Determination, Do Not Hold Up Under Appeals Court Scrutiny

This divorce case appeal deals with three primary issues: the determination of the value of insurance agency marital asset, the determination of the amount of personal goodwill attaching to the insurance agency, and the appropriate amount of alimony. The court remands the value of the business as it relates to the exclusion by the trial court of the liabilities the business owed, remands as to the appropriate amount of personal goodwill, and remands as to the erroneous level of income of the husband for determination of alimony.

Derek Scott Williams PLLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court declined to grant a motion to dismiss the claim of plaintiff as to coverage for loss of business income but does dismiss the claim of coverage under the civil authority provision of the policy. The court found the wording of the policy sufficiently vague, especially as to the meaning and definition of the word “loss.” In the case of the civil authority provision of the policy, the court decided that plaintiff has not alleged that “[a]ccess to the area immediately surrounding the damaged property is prohibited by civil authority.”

Court Declines Motion to Dismiss Claim of Coverage for Loss of Income, but Dismisses the Claim of Coverage Under the Civil Authority Provision

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court declined to grant a motion to dismiss the claim of plaintiff as to coverage for loss of business income but does dismiss the claim of coverage under the civil authority provision of the policy. The court found the wording of the policy sufficiently vague, especially as to the meaning and definition of the word “loss.” In the case of the civil authority provision of the policy, the court decided that plaintiff has not alleged that “[a]ccess to the area immediately surrounding the damaged property is prohibited by civil authority.”

Equity Planning Corp. v. Westfield Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory restrictions to control COVID-19, the court grants a motion to dismiss claims of the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s arguments that it suffered physical loss or damage to its properties did not sway the court. Nor did its arguments that the civil authority provisions and virus exclusion in the policy were not applicable to deny its claims.

Court Grants Insurance Company’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint That It Suffered Covered Loss of Income Due to COVID-19 Restrictions

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory restrictions to control COVID-19, the court grants a motion to dismiss claims of the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s arguments that it suffered physical loss or damage to its properties did not sway the court. Nor did its arguments that the civil authority provisions and virus exclusion in the policy were not applicable to deny its claims.

Life Time, Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the federal court grants the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the action back to Minnesota state court to resolve the disputed issue of what qualifies as direct physical loss under state law.

In COVID-19 Case, Federal Court Declines to Decide Contentious ‘Direct Physical Loss’ Issue and Sends Case Back to State Court

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the federal court grants the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the action back to Minnesota state court to resolve the disputed issue of what qualifies as direct physical loss under state law.

Family Tacos, LLC v. Auto Owners Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants motions of the defendant to dismiss claims of the plaintiff. The plaintiff files claims for coverage under its insurance policy for losses resulting from COVID-19 shutdowns and seeks to establish a class. The court decides that coverage is not provided under the policy because there is no physical loss; the civil authority provision is likewise not effective, and there is a virus exception that is applicable to the case at hand.

Plaintiff Fails to Convince the Court That Physical Loss or Physical Damage Has Occurred; Virus Clause Applies and Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Is Granted

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants motions of the defendant to dismiss claims of the plaintiff. The plaintiff files claims for coverage under its insurance policy for losses resulting from COVID-19 shutdowns and seeks to establish a class. The court decides that coverage is not provided under the policy because there is no physical loss; the civil authority provision is likewise not effective, and there is a virus exception that is applicable to the case at hand.

MIKMAR, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants the defendant insurance company’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint seeking coverage for lost business income under their insurance policies. Plaintiffs operated a hotel and adjacent banquet and catering facility. In ruling against the plaintiffs, the court found the virus did not perceptibly harm the properties and the policies included a virus exclusion that prevented coverage of business losses.

Court Finds Insurance Policies Are Not Ambiguous as to ‘Physical Loss’ Requirement and Dismisses Plaintiffs’ COVID-19-Related Damages Claims

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants the defendant insurance company’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint seeking coverage for lost business income under their insurance policies. Plaintiffs operated a hotel and adjacent banquet and catering facility. In ruling against the plaintiffs, the court found the virus did not perceptibly harm the properties and the policies included a virus exclusion that prevented coverage of business losses.

Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s COVID-19-Related Suit, Noting Claimed Loss of Use of Properties Is Not Direct Physical Loss Under the Relevant Policy

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, a federal court granted the defendant insurer’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s suit over coverage, finding plaintiff’s claim for loss of income based on state orders restricting use does not meet “direct physical loss” prerequisite.

Torgerson Props. v. Cont’l Cas. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, a federal court granted the defendant insurer’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s suit over coverage, finding plaintiff’s claim for loss of income based on state orders restricting use does not meet “direct physical loss” prerequisite.

Protégé Rest. Partners LLC v. Sentinel Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court says the plaintiff, a California restaurant, failed to state plausible claims to relief but gives plaintiff an opportunity to amend its complaint, even if “it does not seem likely” the plaintiff will be able to overcome the complaint’s deficiencies.

Court Says Plaintiff Fails to State Plausible Claim to Relief for COVID-19-Related Losses but Allows Amendment of Complaint

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court says the plaintiff, a California restaurant, failed to state plausible claims to relief but gives plaintiff an opportunity to amend its complaint, even if “it does not seem likely” the plaintiff will be able to overcome the complaint’s deficiencies.

AFM Mattress Co. v. Motorists Commercial Mutual Insurance Company

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants a motion to dismiss claims of plaintiff. While plaintiff claims losses due to COVID-19, it does not sufficiently move the court to consider the virus exclusion of the policy inapplicable. A motion for a sur-response to espouse an alternative theory was also denied but without prejudice.

In COVID-19 Business Interruption Case, Court Finds Plaintiffs Did Not Argue Physical Loss and Virus Exemption Applies

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court grants a motion to dismiss claims of plaintiff. While plaintiff claims losses due to COVID-19, it does not sufficiently move the court to consider the virus exclusion of the policy inapplicable. A motion for a sur-response to espouse an alternative theory was also denied but without prejudice.

Graspa Consulting v. United Nat’l Ins. Co.

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court dismisses plaintiff’s (a restaurant chain owner/operator) claims against insurance company; plaintiffs did not incur (nor did it assert) physical damages to premises as required by the terms of the insurance policy.

In COVID-19 Business Interruption Case, Court Grants Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Claim for COVID-19-Related Losses

In this business interruption case resulting from mandatory shutdowns to control COVID-19, the court dismisses plaintiff’s (a restaurant chain owner/operator) claims against insurance company; plaintiffs did not incur (nor did it assert) physical damages to premises as required by the terms of the insurance policy.

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