Insurer not obligated to cover telemarketer

Judy Greenwald

9/6/2018 1:55:00 PM

Source: Business Insurance

Extended telemarketing calls are unrelated to a person’s right to privacy, says a federal district court in ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute with a telemarketer.

Libertyville, Illinois-based NuWave LLC, which manufactures and markets small appliances, was sued by the West Virginia attorney general in October 2015 on charges it engaged in unauthorized telemarketing, falsely represented that its products were free while charging exorbitant fees for shipping and handling, and used deceptive sales practices by falsely stating special product offers would end that day, among other charges, according to Wednesday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in Chicago in NuWave LLC v. Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co.

The attorney general’s litigation charged the company with violating the West Virginia Telemarketing Act, among other laws.

The case was settled in March 2017 for $320,000, among other provisions of the settlement agreement, according to court papers filed in West Virginia state court in the case.

NuWave had two successive general liability policies with Cincinnati Specialty, a unit of Fairfield, Ohio-based Cincinnati Insurance Co., that provided coverage for violating persons’ right to privacy.

NuWave filed suit against Cincinnati after the insurance company refused to defend it in the litigation. The question is “whether the consumer’s right to privacy could possibly include the right to be free from prolonged phone calls,” said the ruling.

The ruling said it does not do so. “The flaw in NuWave’s argument is that neither invasion of privacy by intrusion nor invasion of privacy by disclosure of private facts is present in the (West Virginia attorney general’s) action,” said the ruling.

“The court has seen no mention that NuWave released any private facts about anyone,” the ruling said, in concluding Cincinnati has no duty to defend NuWave.