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).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 declined to hear the appeal of a June 2013 decision by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the rejection of two cases by pilots challenging the nonretroactivity provision of a federal rule that extended the maximum age for piloting commercial flights by five years (George Emory, et al. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 13-826, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 1870).
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).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Bankrupt USEC Inc., a global energy company that provides low-enriched uranium (LEU) for commercial nuclear power plants, on March 5 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware for approval of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan (In Re: USEC Inc., No. 14-10475, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).
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).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on Feb. 28 granted a Bermuda insurer's motion to compel arbitration of a coverage dispute in England, finding that two apartment complex owners failed to show that the arbitration provision was unconscionable (S. Development Company, dba Bell Tower Apartments, et al. v. Commercial Industrial Building Owners Alliance, et al., No. 13-00911, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26028).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on Feb. 28 found that underlying claims against a light designer and manufacturer insured triggered the "advertising injury" coverage under two of its commercial general liability insurance policies, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurers (Blackstone International LTD., et al. v. Maryland Casualty Co., et al., No. 2302, September Term, 2012, Md. App.; 2014 Md. App. LEXIS 17).
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).