Jenner & Block

California Supreme Court, Reversing Court of Appeal, Grants Insurance Coverage to Firm Client

A decision issued today by the California Supreme Court granted insurance coverage to Firm client Kraft Foods for hundreds of underlying personal injury cases, affirming the trial court's decision and reversing the Court of Appeal in Dart Industries v. Commercial Union Ins. Co.  

The opinion was the first in which the California Supreme Court addressed "what an insured must prove... to establish its rights under a lost or destroyed insurance policy" and the first time in many decades that the Court spoke to the requirements for proving the terms of a lost document.  A key holding was that the insured is not required to prove the specific language used in a lost policy; it only need prove with secondary evidence the substance of the coverage terms that are material to the risk.

Jenner and Block served as lead counsel for Kraft Foods, Inc., in the Supreme Court appeal and at trial.  Representing Kraft were Partner Stephanie A. Scharf, Co-Chair of the Firm's Product Liability and Mass Tort Practice and member of the Firm's Insurance Litigation and Counseling Practice, Partner Paul M. Smith, Co-Chair of the Firm's Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, and Associate David C. Belt, along with California co-counsel Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.

Click here to view California Supreme Court order.