January 13, 2017

Ninth Circuit sends choice-of-law question in insurance case to Supreme Court [Updated]

Claiming the issues are “of significant importance to the state,” the Ninth Circuit today asked the California Supreme Court to answer choice-of-law questions that arise in a case concerning insurance coverage for remediation of pollution damage at Pitzer College.

In Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, the federal court has requested the Supreme Court to resolve these issues:  “1.  Is California’s common law notice-prejudice rule a fundamental public policy for the purpose of choice-of-law analysis?  May common law rules other than unconscionability not enshrined in statute, regulation, or the constitution, be fundamental public policies for the purpose of choice-of-law analysis?  2.  If the notice-prejudice rule is a fundamental public policy for the purpose of choice-of-law analysis, can a consent provision in a first-party claim insurance policy be interpreted as a notice provision such that the notice-prejudice rule applies?”

[January 17 update:  The Supreme Court today docketed the Ninth Circuit’s request.]

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