Louisiana Majority Reverses Ruling In Favor Of Insurer In Katrina Coverage Dispute

BATON ROUGE, La. - A majority of a Louisiana appeals court on Sept. 5 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute, finding that the insurer violated Louisiana Statutes Annotated Revised Statutes (LSA-R.S) Section 22:1973B(2) by not making settlement payments within 30 days (Instant Replay Sports Inc., et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 2011 CA 1414, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 1103).

Florida Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Prematurely Filed Bad Faith Complaint

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 15 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of an insured's complaint that an insurer acted in bad faith in handling its Hurricane Wilma claim, finding that it was prematurely filed (Lime Bay Condominium Inc. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co.,  No. 4D11-3421, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 13563).

Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Motion To Sever Insureds' Hurricane Katrina Claims

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 14 denied a homeowners insurer's motion to sever insureds' Hurricane Katrina claims, finding that the stay of the case is still unsettled because federal district courts have applied Taranto v. Louisiana Citizens Property Ins. "in disparate ways" (Salvatore Caserta, et al. v. Hanover Insurance Company-Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company,  No. 10-3027 SECTION "K"(2), E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114060).

Stay Of Hurricane Katrina Coverage Suit 'Unsettled,' Federal Judge Rules

NEW ORLEANS - The stay of a Hurricane Katrina coverage lawsuit is still "unsettled" because federal courts have applied a Louisiana Supreme Court's key ruling on the issue of interruption of prescription "in disparate ways," a Louisiana federal judge ruled Aug. 14, denying the insurer's motion to sever the insureds' claims and proceed separately (Dewitt Lewis, et al. Hanover Insurance Company, No. 10-3026, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114059).

5th Circuit Affirms Woman's Conviction For Medicare Fraud

NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in an unpublished opinion on Aug. 9 affirmed the conviction of a woman for health care fraud related to the false billing of Medicare claims following Hurricane Katrina (United States of America v. Paula Whitfield, No. 10-20505, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16618).

Magistrate Allows Insured To Replead Fraud Claim In Hurricane Omar Coverage Suit

ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands - A magistrate federal judge on Aug. 7 granted an insured's motion to amend its second amended complaint to replead a claim for fraud in a dispute over coverage for lost business and property damage resulting from Hurricane Omar (Kiskidee LLC v. Certain Interested Underwriters at Lloyd's of London subscribing to policy No. NB043060B, No. 2009-077, D. Virgin Islands). View related prior history, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40891.

Judge: Insured Failed To Show He Submitted Proof Of Loss Of Katrina Flood Damage

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 3 found that an insured has not presented evidence that he submitted a proof of loss of his flood damage, granting a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute (Lionel Norton Hunter versus State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, No: 09-2102 SECTION: R(2), E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108818).

Panel Affirms Decision To Reinstate Professional Negligence Claim Against Agent

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in granting a real estate developer relief under Federal Rule 60(b) of Civil Procedure, affirming the lower court's decision to reinstate the developer's professional negligence claim against its insurance agent in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute (Lowry Development LLC v. Groves & Associates Insurance Inc.,  No. 11-60670, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16136).

Panel: Fact Issue Exists As To Whether Insurer Was Prejudiced By Untimely Notice

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 1 found that there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether an insurer was prejudiced by any failure of its insureds to comply with the policy's notice provisions, reversing and remanding a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (Jack Leben, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company, No. 4D10-3833, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 12522).

Florida Panel Grants Motion To Quash Discovery Order In Hurricane Charley Suit

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on July 25 granted a commercial property insurer's request for a writ of certiorari quashing a discovery order in a Hurricane Charley coverage dispute, finding that the order compels the production of materials regarding the insurer's business policies and practices before there has been a determination of coverage and the extent of the insured's loss (General Star Indemnity Company v. Atlantic Hospitality of Florida LLC,  No. 3D11-3199, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 11967).

Insureds Barred From Recovery For Hurricane Wilma Damage, Florida Panel Affirms

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Florida insureds' untimely presuit notice of their loss allegedly caused by Hurricane Wilma and their untimely presuit submission of a sworn proof of loss created a presumption of prejudice to their insurer, which they failed to rebut, a Florida appeals panel ruled July 25, affirming a lower court's ruling that there is no coverage for their purported loss (Justin and Selma Soronson v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company,  No. 4D10-3234, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 12100).

Insureds Failed To Rebut Insurer's Presumption Of Prejudice, Florida Panel Affirms

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Insureds' untimely notice of their purported loss and their untimely submission of a sworn proof of loss created a presumption of prejudice to their insurer that they failed to rebut, a Florida appeals panel found July 18, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a lawsuit seeking coverage for roof damage allegedly caused by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne (William Kramer, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company,  No. 4D10-3978, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 11678).

Louisiana Panel Affirms Ruling Sustaining Insurer's Exception Of Prescription

BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on July 2 affirmed a lower court's ruling sustaining a homeowners insurer's exception of prescription, dismissing a Hurricane Katrina coverage lawsuit against the insurer (Rafael And Dioigna Acevedo v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, No. 2011 CA 2176, La. App., 1st Cir.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Insurer's Appeal Of Reinstated $92.9M Judgment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 25 denied an insurer's petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the Louisiana Supreme Court's finding that every member of a class of more than 18,000 insureds was entitled to recover the maximum $5,000 civil penalty based on the insurer's purported failure to comply with its statutory duty to timely initiate loss adjustment of the class members' Hurricanes Katrina and Rita claims (Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Geraldine Oubre, et al., No. 11-1252, U.S. Sup.).

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No Evidence That Roof, Interior Damages Were Caused By Wind, 5th Circuit Affirms

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 found that an insured failed to present evidence that the damages to his roof and home's interior were caused by wind, affirming a lower federal court's finding that there was no coverage for the insured's claims purportedly arising from Hurricane Ike (Chuck Styron v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, No. 12-30031, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12831).

Church's Katrina Coverage Suit Is Time-Barred, Mississippi Appeals Court Affirms

JACKSON, Miss. - A church insured's coverage lawsuit arising from Hurricane Katrina damage is time-barred, the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled June 19, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Sweet Valley Missionary Baptist Church v. Alfa Insurance Corporation, et al., No. 2010-CA-01807-COA, Miss. App.; 2012 Miss. App. LEXIS 374).

Florida Panel Reverses Ruling In Favor Of Insurer In Hurricane Wilma Dispute

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - There are disputed issues of material fact regarding whether a homeowners insurer was prejudiced by Florida insureds' late notice of their roof damage claim, a Florida appeals panel held June 20, reversing and remanding a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (David P. Stark, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company, No. 4D10-4945, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 9941).

Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Renewed Motion To Dismiss False Claims Act Lawsuit

GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on June 15 denied an insurer's renewed motion to dismiss relators' False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit arising from Hurricane Katrina, rejecting the insurer's argument that the District Court should apply a per se rule that failure to follow the FCA seal requirements should result in dismissal (United States of America ex rel. Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby v. State Farm, et al., No. 06-433, S.D. Miss., Southern Div.). Subscribers may view the memorandum opinion available within the full article.

Excess Policies Exclude Coverage For School Board's Flood Damage, Panel Affirms

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on June 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling that two excess insurance policies unambiguously exclude coverage for a school board insured's flood losses and damage arising from Hurricane Katrina (Orleans Parish School Board v. Lexington Insurance Company, et al., No. 2011-CA-1753, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 855).

Panel: 3 'Occurrences' Exist With Regard To Damage From Hurricane Repair Work

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 rejected an insurer's appeal arguing that the damages resulting from the roof repair work performed by its insured constituted a single occurrence under the policy, affirming a lower court's ruling that there was one occurrence in connection with the tarping and two occurrences in relation to the contracted roof repairs (Mid-Continent Casualty Company v. Guitree Basdeo, et al., No. 11-12938, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11864).

Insured's Claims Against Insurers, Agent Are Time- Barred, Louisiana Panel Affirms

NEW ORLEANS - An insured's claims against his homeowners insurer, his agent and the agent's errors and omissions insurer stemming from Hurricane Katrina damage and a fire are perempted under Louisiana Revised Statute 9:5606, a Louisiana appeals panel found June 8, affirming a lower court's ruling against the insured (Stephen J. Halmekangas v. ANPAC Louisiana Insurance Company, et al., No. 2011-CA-1293, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2012 La. App. LEXIS 830).

Panel: Construction Contract Ambiguous On Who Had Duty To Purchase Insurance

NEW ORLEANS - A construction contract is ambiguous as to whether a building owner or its contractor was responsible for purchasing property insurance to cover Hurricane Katrina damage to renovation work, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 6, vacating and remanding a lower court's ruling that the building owner bore the duty (WH Holdings, L.L.C., et al. v. ACE American Insurance Company, No. 10-31091, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11410).

Florida High Court Answers 'No' To Certified Questions In Hurricane Wilma Dispute

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Answering five certified questions from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court on May 31 determined that, under Florida law, first-party claims are actually statutory bad faith claims that must be brought under Florida Statutes Section 624.155, and an insured cannot bring a claim against its insurer for failure to comply with the language and type-size requirements established by Florida Statutes Section 627.701(4)(a) (QBE Insurance Corporation, v. Chalfonte Condominium Apartment Association Inc., No. SC09-441, Fla. Sup.; 2012 Fla. LEXIS 1063).

Insured's Claim Is Perempted; Fraud Exception Does Not Apply, Federal Judge Rules

NEW ORLEANS - An insured had constructive knowledge that its insurance agent did not procure the requested business interruption and extra expense (BI/EE) coverage upon receipt of a letter denying the insured's Hurricane Katrina claims under the nonexistent coverage, a Louisiana federal judge held May 22, finding that the insured's claim is perempted and the fraud exception does not relieve the insured from the effect of that peremptive period (Gulf South Medical & Surgical Institute Inc. v. Eagan Insurance Agency, Inc., et al, No. 11-1666 SECTION "L" (1), E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71188).

Florida Panel Reverses Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hurricane Charley Suit

DAYTONA Beach, Fla. - An insured's failure to submit to an examination under oath (EUO) did not prejudice an insurer, a Florida appeals panel held May 18, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a dispute over Hurricane Charley property damage (Whistler's Park Inc. v. The Florida Insurance Guaranty, etc., No. 5D10-2410, Fla. App., 5th Dist.).