9th Circuit Win for Hartford Casualty Insurance Co.

Keating Dental Arts sought payment of defense costs in the underlying action, arguing that the underlying action alleged a claim for disparagement covered by commercial general liability policies issued by client Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. Hartford contended that the underlying claims failed to meet the test for disparagement enunciated by the California Supreme Court and also that coverage was barred by the policy’s exclusion for claims arising out of an infringement of intellectual property.

Akin Gump argued and won a 9th Circuit appeal for Hartford in which the 9th Circuit affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against underlying trademark infringement claims. The 9th Circuit held that all the claims in the underlying case arose from allegations of trademark infringement and, therefore, fell within the exclusion for intellectual property claims. It did not reach the disparagement claim.