Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Finds For Insurer In Hurricane Isaac Flood Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - One day after finding that an insured failed to submit a timely proof of loss for his supplemental claim in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute, a Louisiana federal judge on July 31 entered judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer (Robert J. Lusco Jr. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-6634, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103993).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurance Bad Faith Claim Preempted By Federal Law, Judge Rules

TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 22 issued an order dismissing an insured's bad faith claim against an insurer for failure to pay on a flood insurance policy after Hurricane Sandy, ruling that the claim is preempted by federal law (Mark Damiano v. Harleysville Insurance Co. of New Jersey, No. 13-7239, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97988).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Breach Of Contract Claim Against Insurer In Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana insureds have failed to state a facially plausible claim against an insurer, a federal judge ruled July 8, granting the insurer's motion to dismiss a breach of contract claim in a coverage dispute over Hurricane Isaac flood damage (Benjamin B. Saunders, et al. v. National Flood Insurance Program, et al., No. 13-5613 SECTION "N" [2], E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92524).

Mealey's Insurance - Suit Was Not Time-Barred, Florida Panels Says, Reverses Ruling In Insurer's Favor

MIAMI - A trial court erred in finding that a breach of contract lawsuit over Hurricane Wilma damage was barred by Florida's five-year statute of limitations, an appeals panel ruled July 2, reversing and remanding (Nieve and Marisol Linares v. Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 3D13-3175, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 10168).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Forum Selection Clause Does Not Violate Public Policy, Louisiana Majority Rules

NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled July 1 that forum selection clauses are not violative of Louisiana public policy, reversing a lower court's finding that overruled a consulting firm's exception of improper venue in a dispute over the firm's evaluation of underlying hurricane damage (Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. of Louisiana, et al., No. 2013-CC-1977, La. Sup.; 2014 La. LEXIS 1568).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses All But Breach Of Contract Claim In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on July 1 granted a federal flood insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's claims for declaratory judgment, state law and extracontractual tort claims for pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and penalties in a dispute over Hurricane Isaac coverage (Cynthia W. Bowie v. American Security Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5698 SECTION: "S" [5], E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89405).

Mealey's Insurance - Forum Selection Clause Does Not Violate Public Policy, Louisiana Majority Rules

NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled July 1 that forum selection clauses are not violative of Louisiana public policy, reversing a lower court's finding that overruled a consulting firm's exception of improper venue in a dispute over the firm's evaluation of underlying hurricane damage (Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. of Louisiana, et al., No. 2013-CC-1977, La. Sup.; 2014 La. LEXIS 1568).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Hotelier Fails To Show Contract Ambiguity Should Be Resolved In Its Favor

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 found that a hotel owner has failed to present extrinsic evidence sufficient to demonstrate that there is a genuine issue of material fact to resolve a construction contract's ambiguity in its favor, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the construction contractor's insurer in a coverage dispute stemming from hotel damages caused by Hurricane Katrina (WH Holdings L.L.C., et al. v. ACE American Insurance Co., No. 13-30676, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1208).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses Ruling Against Insured In Suit Over Hurricane Damage To Oil Rig

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 23 found that umbrella insurers are liable for an energy exploration and development company's removal of wreck and debris expenses caused by Hurricane Ike damage to its oil rig operations, reversing a lower federal court and rendering judgment in favor of the insured (Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, et al. v. W&T Offshore Inc., No. 13-20512, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Refuses To Rehear Attorney Fee Dispute In Hurricane Wilma Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 18 refused to reconsider its previous ruling that ordered a lower court to grant a homeowners insurer the right to attorney fees in a Hurricane Wilma dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Magdiel Perez, No. 4D12-1412, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 9196; See May 2014, Page 17).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 6 found that it is premature to determine whether an insurer acted in bad faith under Louisiana Revised Statutes, denying an insurer's motion for summary judgment as to bad faith damages in a coverage dispute arising from wind and flood damage caused by Hurricane Isaac (The Estate of Amelia Marquez v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-5692, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77274).

Mealey's Insurance - Invocation Of Appraisal Clause Is Improper, Judge Rules In Hurricane Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Because there is a dispute over the scope of coverage under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP), the insured's invocation of the appraisal clause is improper, a Louisiana federal judge ruled June 3 (Michael Vernon Sharpe v. American National Property and Casualty Co., No. 13-161, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76088).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrates Recommend Dismissing Bad Faith Claims In N.Y. Hurricane Sandy Cases

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Citing a failure of plaintiffs in certain Hurricane Sandy damage cases to respond to a previous directive to voluntarily dismiss or explain the basis for continuing state law bad faith and related claims against their respective insurers, a committee of New York federal magistrate judges on June 5 recommended dismissal of all such state law claims in those cases (In re: Hurricane Sandy Cases, No. 14 MC 41, E.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida High Court Denies Review In Insolvent Insurer's Hurricane Charley Lawsuit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on June 5 overturned its previous decision and denied review of an appeals court's ruling that an insured's failure to submit to an examination under oath (EUO) did not prejudice an insolvent insurance company in a dispute over Hurricane Charley property damage (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc. v. Whistler's Park Inc., No. SC12-1661, Fla. Sup.; 2014 Fla. LEXIS 1810).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Extracontractual Claims Not Authorized By National Flood Insurance Act

NEW ORLEANS - An insured has failed to submit a timely signed and sworn proof of loss of her Hurricane Isaac damage and the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) does not authorize her extracontractual claims against her insurer, a Louisiana federal judge ruled June 3, dismissing the coverage lawsuit (Janina Howell-Douglas v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 13-5578, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75469).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Hurricane Irene Fraud Suit To New York Court

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on May 29 denied an insured's motion to remand a fraud lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irene to state court, finding that federal jurisdiction is proper because federal funds are at stake (Edward Marzocchi v. Selective Insurance Company of New York, No. CV 14-1026, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74086).

Mealey's Insurance - Proof Of Loss Is Valid, Federal Judge Rules In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - The simple fact that insureds submitted a proof of loss that referenced their policy limits but did not provide a specific amount does not render the proof of loss invalid under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP), a Louisiana federal judge ruled May 22, noting that the proof of loss was further supplemented by a detailed, specific estimate (Ronnie Smith, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 13-5684 SECTION "L" $(4$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70371).

Mealey's Insurance - County's Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Damages Suit Dismissed As Duplicative

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Finding that a New York county's bad faith claim against its insurer was "inherently tied to [its] breach of contract claim" and based on the insurer's same alleged failure to perform contractual duties, a New York federal judge on May 14 dismissed the bad faith claim as duplicative (County of Orange v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 7:13-cv-06790, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66451).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Facts Issues Exist As To Extent Of Insureds' Compliance With Policy

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a question of fact remains regarding whether insureds sufficiently complied with a policy's cooperation provisions, a Florida appeals panel on May 14 reversed a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (Roberto Solano, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 4D12-1198, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 7105).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Denies Attorney Fees In Award Against Florida Insurance Guaranty Association

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) did not affirmatively deny homeowners' claim for hurricane damage, a Florida appeals panel held May 8, affirming the denial of attorney fees to the homeowners following a successful appraisal award for coverage under an insolvent insurance policy (Marcline Alexis, et al. v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 4D13-1080, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 6839).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fact Issue Exists As To Whether Actual Cash Value Of Damage Was Underpaid

NEW ORLEANS - Insureds have supplied testimony and evidence that establish that there is at least a fact issue regarding whether a federal flood insurer underpaid them for the actual cash value of the damaged part of their house in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, a Louisiana federal judge ruled May 5, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Diane P. Stevens, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-5102 SECTION "L" $(4$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61957).

Mealey's Insurance - N.J. Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Claims In Hurricane Floyd Coverage Dispute

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of breach of contract, third-party beneficiary insurance and negligence claims in a lawsuit arising from Hurricane Floyd damage (Thomas and Cheryl Koziol Inc. v. LaSalle National Bank $(as Trustee$); GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., et al., No. A-0849-12T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 949).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Grants Partial Dismissal In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 25 granted a motion by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking to dismiss an insured's claims for declaratory relief on extracontractual damages in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute (Pearl Gloston v. Department Of Homeland Security, et al., No. 13-6471 SECTION "F," E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57940).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Coverage For Removal Of Debris Deposited Outside Exterior Perimeter Walls

TRENTON, N.J. - There is no coverage under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for the removal of debris deposited outside the exterior perimeter walls of New Jersey insureds' building/structure, a federal judge ruled April 24, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Hurricane Sandy lawsuit (Michael S. Torre, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-6665, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57133).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Sandy Case As Redundant

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Because the plaintiffs in a Hurricane Sandy coverage dispute failed to "present an independent factual predicate" for their bad faith claim, a New York federal judge on April 22 dismissed the claim as redundant of their breach of contract claim against their insurer (433 Main Street Realty LLC, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Co., No. 1:14-cv-00587, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55940).