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Partner Steven Erigero Quoted in "NFL Banks on Friendlier LA Climate"

The Daily Journal - August 22, 2012

By Brian Sumers

Partner Stephen Erigero was quoted in the article, “NFL Banks on Friendlier LA Climate.” In the article, Erigero discusses the National Football League’s (NFL) lawsuit against 32 insurance companies in California state court. The NFL has filed a lawsuit arguing that, under California’s “continuous trigger” theory of insurance coverage, the league should be able to collect for claims from every insurance company that sold it a policy between the date an initial injury occurred and the present. The article notes that the NFL is fighting “at least” 143 claims by former players and their spouses, seeking damages for personal and bodily injuries that have occurred over the last four decades. The goal of the NFL’s lawsuit is to have the insurance companies pay for legal defenses in injury-related lawsuits and pay injury-related judgments and settlements rendered against it.

Erigero, commenting on the need to sort out which insurers are responsible for which claims noted, “There will have to be a specific order and determination for each insurer. There may be a ruling that applies to more than one insurer. But there will have to be a definitive ruling for each insurance company.” He emphasized that an intensive case-by-case, fact-based analysis will be needed.

Later in the piece, Erigero noted that there is a notable exception to California’s largely pro-policyholder law in that if an insurer can prove that a major injury was likely to occur – given the physical nature of the sport – and that said injury was expected and intended, then it may not be liable for judgments or settlements as policies only pay out based on unforeseen events. The article notes that if an incident such as a head injury is seen as an expected event, it would be viewed under terms of a policy on the level of a shoulder injury – which is considered common and not something the league would make an insurance claim on.

“Everyone knows the risk of the game. How can that be something insurance would apply for?” commented Erigero.