CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Existing case law governing the awarding of attorney fees in insurance cases do not provide for an award of attorney fees related to policyholders' bad faith claim after having already been awarded fees related to their underlying underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, a majority in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 29, affirming a lower court's finding (Wayne A. Lemasters, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 12-0774, W.Va. Sup.; 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 1178).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 1 found that a $10 million award in favor of an excess insurer must be increased to reflect both prejudgment and post-judgment interest, partly reversing a lower court's ruling in a coverage dispute arising from a gas explosion at the insured's facility (Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company of America, f/k/a Travel Indemnity Company of Illinois v. National Union Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, et al., Nos. 12-1070 and 12-1151, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22260).
NEW YORK - An insurance broker's former employee did not violate a preliminary injunction prohibiting future violations of an employee agreement with regard to the confidentiality and nonsolicitation provisions, a New York federal judge held Oct. 29, denying the insurance broker's motion for sanctions (Dewitt Stern Group Inc. v. Richard Eisenberg, No. 13-3060, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155134).
ST. LOUIS - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to settle an equitable garnishment claim and thus no exposure to liability, a Missouri federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 29, finding that an insured failed to assert an indemnification claim against an insurance agency (Sheri Chipman as assignee of Transportation Insurance Co. v. A.I.G. Agency Inc. d/b/a Associated Insurance Group, No. 11-117, E.D. Mo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154615).
LAS VEGAS - Despite a decision by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that coverage existed for an insured based on the ambiguity of his insurance policy's renewal statement, a Nevada federal judge on Oct. 30 held that this same ambiguity created a reasonable basis for the insurer's original denial of coverage and defeats a bad faith claim against the insurer (James Nalder, et al. v. United Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:09-cv-01348, D. Nev.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155643).
LOS ANGELES - A commercial general liability insurance policy excludes coverage for damages arising out of an insured's "performing operations" on property and for missing personal property, a California appeals panel affirmed Oct. 28 (Gerald V. Hollingsworth, et al. v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., No. B239118, Calif. App., Dist. 2, Div. 8; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7729).
MILWAUKEE - Excess insurers must simultaneously pay their indemnity obligations on behalf of an insured named in hundreds of thousands of underlying asbestos suits because a 2007 judgment pertaining to the coverage obligations and the insurance policies at issue clearly support paying the claims simultaneously, the First District Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Oct. 29 (Cleaver-Brooks Inc. v. AIU Insurance Co., et al., No. 2013-AP-203, Wis. App., Dist. 1; 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 899).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 29 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's ruling that primary and excess insurers have no duty to cover a $13.5 million jury award in a false advertising lawsuit against its insured but affirmed the lower court's finding that the primary insurer has no duty to defend a related underlying class action lawsuit (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA., et al. v. Mead Johnson & Company LLC, et al., Nos. 12-3478, 13-1526, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22056).
WICHITA, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Oct. 25 denied an insured's motion for summary judgment in an environmental contamination coverage suit after determining that a jury should decide whether the insured's settlements with third parties were reasonable (Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., et al., No. 08-1204, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153905).
MADISON, Wis. - Insureds failed to establish a basis against insurers for direct or derivative liability with regard to an insurance broker's alleged embezzlement, a Wisconsin federal judge ruled Oct. 25; however, the judge found that the insureds do state a viable cause of action with respect to the broker's acts of fraud accomplished under the guise of apparent agency authority (Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Company Inc., et al. v. Manson Insurance Agency Inc., et al., No. 12-00879, W.D. Wis.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153391).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 30 held that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured under a policy's "unsolicited communications exclusion," further finding that the insured had adequate notice of the exclusion (MDC Acquisition Co., n/k/a WBC Group LLC, et al. v. Traveler's Property Casualty Company of America, No. 12-4340, 6th Cir.).
WHEELING, W.Va. - Despite the existence of a parallel proceeding in state court, a West Virginia federal judge on Oct. 25 declined to abstain or remand a real estate firm's declaratory and contractual claims against its insurer, finding no indication of "exceptional circumstances" to warrant such an action (Paull Associates Realty LLC v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 5:13-cv-00080, N.D. W.Va.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153534).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 25 struck a putative class plaintiff's allegations of fraudulent concealment against insurance brokers but refused to strike breach of contract and tortious interference claims (Andrea Cannon, on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 12-465, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153447).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on Oct. 25 dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging that mortgage lenders and insurers fraudulently force-placed hazard insurance policies (Colleen Decambaliza v. QBE Holdings Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-286-bbc, W.D. Wis.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153392).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Oct. 25 ordered parties to seven reinsurance agreements to choose an arbitration umpire per the steps outlined in the agreements (National Casualty Company v. Arrowood Indemnity Company, No. 12-cv-08006; Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, et al. v. Arrowood Indemnity Co., No. 12-cv-8005; Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Arrowood Indemnity Company, No. 12-cv-08007, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on Oct. 28 found that the doctrine of equitable subrogation provides an insurer with a claim to a portion of interpleaded funds, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling against the insurer (American Equity Insurance Co. v. Browne George Ross, No. B243367, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Michigan-based insurer's failure to deliver an affidavit in Florida, which ultimately led to an excess judgment against its insured, constituted "a breach based on a fail$(ure$) to perform acts required by $(a$) contract to be performed in" Florida, a Florida appeals panel ruled Oct. 25, finding that the state's long-arm statute conferred jurisdiction over the out-of-state insurer (Linda Betzoldt v. Auto Club Group Insurance Co., No. 2D12-5368, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 17055).
SALT LAKE CITY - The "your work" and "your product" exclusions in a commercial general liability insurance policy preclude coverage for alleged damages from defective construction, the Utah Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 24 (America First Credit Union v. Kier Construction Corp., et al., No. 20101036-CA, Utah App.; 2013 Utah App. LEXIS 258).
CHARLESTON, W.Va.- The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Oct. 25 reversed and remanded a jury verdict entered in an insured's favor after determining that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the standard for misrepresentation (AIG Domestic Claims Inc., n/k/a Chartis Claims Inc., et al. v. Hess Oil Co., et al., Nos. 12-0705, 12-0719, W.Va. Sup.; 2013 W. Va. LEXIS 1154).
SAN FRANCISCO - A liquidator for an insolvent insurer properly denied as untimely a claim for additional payment for legal services provided to an insured, a California appeals panel affirmed Oct. 25 (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. Golden Eagle Insurance Co. and Ron Leaf, No. A136197, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7693).
NEWARK, N.J. - Health care providers seeking payment for services provided to plan participants failed to allege with specificity the assignments on which they asserted derivative standing under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Oct. 24 (NJSR Surgical Center, L.L.C., et al. v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inc., et al., No. 12-753, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153630).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge prematurely determined that a managing partner stood in the shoes of an insured with regard to underlying allegations of construction defects, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Oct. 25, reversing and remanding (Century Surety Co. v. Belmont Seattle LLC, et al., No. 13-35039, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21857).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 28 vacated the bankruptcy reorganization plan for a former asbestos insulator, finding that the plan failed to satisfy the requirements of Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code dealing with control by asbestos trusts (In Re: Plant Insulation Co., Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, et al. v. Plant Insulation Company, Nos. 12-17466 and 12-17467, 9th Cir.).
MADISON, Wis. - A trial court did not err in confirming the rehabilitation plan of the segregated account of Ambac Assurance Corp., a Wisconsin appeals panel held Oct. 24, also affirming the proposed hearing schedule, the establishment of a segregated account, the issuance of injunctive relief and the refusal to enjoin a settlement agreement between Ambac and a group of financial institutions (In the matter of the rehabilitation of: Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance Corp.; Ted Nickel and Office of the Commissioner of Insurance v. Wells Fargo Bank/trustee of bondholders, et al., Nos. 2010AP1291, 2010AP2022, 2010AP2835 & 2011AP561, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 895).
NEW YORK - A disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in classifying a participant's disability as a mental illness, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 23 (Robert Veryzer, Ph.D., v. American International Life Assurance Company of New York, No. 13-262, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21475).