NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against underlying claims that it misappropriated trade secrets to create and sell lighting fixtures that mimicked the appearance of those sold by the underlying claimant (Bridge Metal Industries LLC, et al. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 11-4228, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4463).
LOS ANGELES - A California court on March 6 affirmed a trial court's decision in favor of various owners of a commercial property, finding that building employees failed to present expert evidence in support of their claims that Legionella bacteria and mold in the water system made them sick (Carol Harris, et al. v. 3075 Wilshire LLC, et al., No. B223826, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1629).
WAUKESHA, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals panel on March 5 found that an insured's bankruptcy does not relieve a commercial general liability insurer of its obligation under a directors and officers (D&O) endorsement to the policy, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor the insurer (Guy Hollingsworth, et al. v. Landing Condominiums of Waukesha Association Inc., et al., Nos. 2013AP888, 2013AP1538, Wis. App., Dist. 2; 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 178.)
LOS ANGELES - The Chapter 11 trustee in the bankruptcy proceeding of GGW Brands LLC, the parent company for the producer of adult entertainment company that produces videos carrying the name "Girls Gone Wild," on March 6 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California opposing a motion to compel GGW to surrender commercial property that operates as the company's office (In Re: GGW Brands LLC, No. 13-15130, Chapter 11, C.D. Calif. Bkcy.).
FLINT, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on March 3 denied a motion to dismiss and granted a motion for class certification in a case filed by residential communities in the City of Detroit challenging the city's policy of charging them the higher commercial rates for water and sewage instead of residential rates (LaSalle Town Houses Cooperative Association, et al. v. City of Detroit, et al., No. 12-13747, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26490).
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against claims that it "substantially, illicitly, and tortiously benefitted financially" from West Virginia's prescription drug abuse problem, a Kentucky federal chief judge ruled March 4. The chief judge, however, refused to rule on the indemnification issue (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Richie Enterprises LLC, No. 1:12-CV-00186-JHM-HBB, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27306).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A global energy company that provides low-enriched uranium (LEU) for commercial nuclear power plants on March 5 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, citing debts of $1.07 billion and assets of only $70 million (In Re: USEC Inc., No. 14-10475, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Faulty workmanship on its own is not an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Kentucky federal judge ruled Feb. 28, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend an insured in an underlying breach of contract action (State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Daniel Bragg d/b/a Bragg Septic & Electric, No. 13-100, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25659).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Per a lease agreement, a railway was an additional insured on its lessee's commercial umbrella policy, a West Virginia federal judge found Feb. 26, ruling that the railway was entitled to coverage under the policy for lawsuits related to a derailment (Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 2:12-cv-05183, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24092).
LOS ANGELES - Perfect Science Labs LLC, an affiliate of bankrupt GGW Brands LLC - the parent company of the maker of adult videos carrying the name "Girls Gone Wild" - on Feb. 21 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California to compel GGW to surrender commercial property that Perfect Science and GGW use for office space (In Re: GGW Brands LLC, No. 13-15130, Chapter 11, C.D. Calif. Bkcy.).
CHICAGO - Michael Jordan may proceed with allegations that a grocery store chain violated the Lanham Act, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 19 (Michael Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores et al., No. 12-1992, 7th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurance policy's employee exclusion does not preclude an additional insured's coverage claim arising from a workplace injury, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 18, vacating and remanding a lower federal court's ruling in part (ArcelorMittal Plate LLC v. Joule Technical Services Inc., et al., No. 13-1212, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2905).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify an insured against an underlying construction defects judgment totaling $700,000 because breach of contract is not an "occurrence" under the policy, an Alabama federal judge ruled Feb. 11 (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Howard Snider, et al., No. 11-215, M.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16920).
NEW ORLEANS - A commercial general liability insurer did not have a duty to defend an additional insured against claims of a subcontractor's negligent construction because the damages arise out of completed operations not covered under the additional insured endorsement, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 11, reversing and remanding for entry of judgment for the insurer (Carl E. Woodward LLC and Gray Insurance Co. v. Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 12-60561, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2569).
RICHMOND, Va. - A commercial general liability insurer does not need to have caused actual damages to be liable for punitive damages, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 10, reinstating a jury's $12.5 million verdict finding that the insurer acted in bad faith when settling underlying property damage lawsuits against an insured manufacturer (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and Employers Insurance of Wausau v. JT Walker Industries Inc., et al., Nos. 12-2256 & 12-2350, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2470).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer failed to show that other insurers owed a defense to an insured in an underlying construction defects case and, therefore, were required to reimburse for defense costs incurred, a Colorado federal judge ruled Feb. 6 (Bituminous Casualty Corp. v. Trinity Universal Insurance Company of Kansas v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co. and Owners Insurance Co., No. 12-01802, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14844).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 5 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial liability insurer has no duty to defend against an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured performed an improper wood-destroying insect (WDI) inspection (Clint Simon d/b/a Sherlock Pest and d/b/a Sherlock Spec, et al. v. Tudor Insurance Co., et al., No. 05-12-00443-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 1321).
PORTLAND, Maine - Under Maine law, a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured against an underlying lawsuit for breach of contract arising from the insured's alleged faulty workmanship, a Maine federal judge ruled Feb. 4 (Ted Berry Company Inc. v. Excelsior Insurance Co., No. 13-342, D. Maine; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13585).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Jan. 31 affirmed a lower court's finding that a scientific equipment manufacturer's business personal property loss was caused by flood and, therefore, is not covered under its commercial insurance, further finding that the insurer's denial of the claim did not constitute a vexatious and unreasonable claims practice (Delta Technical Products Laboratory Investment Recovery Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 1-12-2158, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div.; 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 162).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured against allegations that defects in the design and construction of a groundwater recharge facility caused economic and consequential damages, a Colorado federal judge ruled Jan. 29 (Cornella Brothers Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-00558, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10896).
LOS ANGELES - A California appellate court on Jan. 27 ruled that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify a food truck lessor insured against a products liability lawsuit, further finding that, contrary to the lower court's ruling, the insured's auto insurer is not liable because its policy's completed operations provision bars coverage for products liability claims (American States Insurance Co. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. B243003, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 74).