Shook Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment on Insurance Company's Duty to Defend
Shook, Hardy & Bacon attorneys obtained summary judgment on the duty to defend for Ohio Security Insurance Company after a policyholder was sued by a telecommunications company in an underlying lawsuit for, among other things, tortious interference with business relationships, federal trademark infringement, fraud and civil conspiracy. The policyholder, Unwired Solutions, Inc., dba Linq Services, is the holder of three insurance policies issued by Ohio Security, each of which outlined a duty to provide a defense and indemnity in actions involving “personal and advertising injury,” as defined under the policies.
The underlying complaint alleged that Linq, which provides services to the telecommunications company's customers, gained control of customer accounts in order to acquire subsidized phones and sell them at a profit. In its summary judgment ruling for Ohio Security, the court found that under Maryland law the relevant inquiry was whether the complaint alleged or implied it suffered an injury that arose out of publication of disparaging material by Linq. The court found there was no allegation in the action that Linq published material that disparages the plaintiff, and that “an allegation of reputational harm” did not establish a claim of disparagement. The court also rejected Linq’s claim of “implicit disparagement” by the telecommunications company. Accordingly, the court found that there was no “personal and advertising injury” at issue in the underlying litigation. Absent specific allegations which would constitute “personal and adverting injury,” the court held that Ohio Security had no duty to defend Linq in the underlying litigation and granted summary judgment to Ohio Security, as well as denying Linq’s competing summary judgment motion.
Unwired Solutions, Inc. v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., No. 16-0405 (D. Md. 2017).