Shook Obtains Summary Judgment for Insurance Companies

On September 24, a Montana federal judge ruled that three Liberty Mutual subsidiaries do not owe coverage to Aspen Way Enterprises, a franchisee of Aaron’s Inc., for two actions accusing Aspen Way and Aarons of spying on customers through rental computers.

Shook Chicago Partner Matthew Sitzer and Associate Amy Cho led the case for American Economy Insurance, American States Insurance and General Insurance, each subsidiaries of Liberty Mutual.

In two separate orders, U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters granted summary judgment for the Liberty Mutual subsidiaries as well as Hartford Fire Insurance Co., another of Aspen Way’s insurers. Watters found that the insurers do not owe Aspen Way coverage in two underlying lawsuits which alleged that Aspen Way installed software called PC Rental Agent on computers that the rental service sold or rented to customers. The software is alleged to have enabled the company to secretly turn on the computers’ camera and remotely access personal information on the computers.

The dispute began in January 2014 when the Liberty Mutual subsidiaries filed a declaratory judgment action against Aspen Way seeking a declaration that they did not have to defend or indemnify Aspen Way in the two underlying lawsuits. The Liberty Mutual insurers also sought reimbursement from Aspen Way for money they had already spent defending the underlying suits.

The ruling was featured in a September 25 Law360 article, “Hartford, Liberty Mutual Units Duck Spyware Suit Coverage.” 

The case is American Economy Insurance Co. et al. v. Aspen Way Enterprises Inc. et al.