Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Ocwen Financial Corp., No. 19-3052 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment declaring that Zurich had no duty to defend Ocwen in the underlying litigation brought by a consumer. In the underlying case, the consumer's complaint relied on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as well as common law claims of defamation and invasion of privacy. Zurich insured Ocwen under a series of commercial general liability policies, but two provisions in the policies expressly excluded injuries resulting from conduct that violates certain laws.
Setting aside the live-operator calls to the consumer's home and the manually dialed calls to her cell phone, and assuming that neither violated the TCPA, the court concluded that it remains true that if Ocwen caused "a telephone to ring … repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at that called number," which the district court concluded Ocwen did, then it violated the FDCPA. Because the policy exclusion's catch-all clause swept in the FDCPA as an "other statute" that regulates the communication of information, Zurich had not duty to defend based on the factual allegations of the consumer's complaint.