BOSTON - Vacating a lower court decision, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 18 found that a broken airplane window could have been caused by defective workmanship by an aviation repair company and, therefore, was an occurrence covered under a commercial general liability insurance policy (Oxford Aviation, Inc., et al. v. Global Aerospace, Inc., No. 11-2208, 1st Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10101).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals panel on May 17 affirmed a lower court's ruling that insurers for a subcontractor and an engineering entity have no duty to cover a dairy farm's alleged groundwater damages caused by a defective manure basin (W.D. Hoard & Sons Co. v. The Scharine Group Inc., et al., Nos. 2011AP819, 2011AP1965, No. 2011AP1965, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2012 Wisc. App. LEXIS 419).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 18 affirmed summary judgment to an insurance broker on claims for negligent misrepresentation and negligent failure to procure, finding that an insurer as an assignee to insureds cannot demonstrate reasonable reliance by the insureds from the broker (Navigators Insurance Co. v. Markel American Insurance Co. and Elton Porter Marine Insurance Agency, No. 11-12681, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10023).
RALEIGH, N.C. - In a case where a commercial general liability insurance company filed its lawsuit first and no exception to the first-filed rule applies, a North Carolina federal judge on May 18 found no cause to stay or dismiss the claim for declaratory judgment as to the rights and obligations of various insurers and their mutual insured with regard to underlying construction defect cases (Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 11-187, E.D. N.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69550).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals court on May 18 reversed a trial court's decision to dismiss a man's negligence claims in relation to mold damage on behalf of his mother's estate, finding that the claim was filed within the relevant statute of limitations, but upheld dismissal of the majority of his claims (Arthur Deskos v. Shagoury Insurance Agency Inc., et al., No. 11-P-274, Mass. App.; 2012 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 634).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana ruled May 16 that the court had personal jurisdiction over a French company because the company had sufficient minimum contacts with Louisiana through its actions as a disability insurance plan administrator and that the plan's arbitration clause, which required a claimant appealing an adverse benefit determination to arbitrate in France and pay costs, was unenforceable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq. (Otha Michael Williams v. Association de Prevoyance Interentreprises, et al., No. 11-1664, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68488).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on May 18 said that because the Texas Department of Insurance did not clearly err in its contention that stop-loss insurance is direct insurance and not reinsurance, it was reversing a lower court's ruling that stop-loss insurance is reinsurance (Texas Department of Insurance, et al. v. American National Insurance Company, et al., No. 10-0374, Texas Sup.; 2012 Tex. LEXIS 420).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Breach of contract and indemnification claims against insurance agents are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled May 17, also dismissing breach of fiduciary duty claims against the agents (Lincoln General Insurance Co. v. Kingsway America Agency Inc. f/k/a Avalon Risk Management Inc. and Mattoni Insurance Brokerage Inc., No. 11-1127, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69128).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Finding "no manifest error" in an earlier ruling in which he granted an insured's motion for summary judgment on whether an insurer had a duty to defend in a pollution liability coverage dispute, a Louisiana federal judge on May 16 denied the insurer's motion for a new trial (Louisiana Generating LLC, et al. v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 10-516 and 10-835, M.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68397).
NEW YORK - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by relying on four medical consultant record reviews in terminating benefits to a claimant suffering from depression and migraine headaches, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 16 in an unpublished order (Josephine Testa v. Hartford Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 11-974, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9806).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 17 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that an errors and omissions (E&O) insurer owes no coverage to an insured school board for underlying lawsuits initiated against it because the underlying claims arise out of a breach of contract, which is clearly excluded by the policy (North Plainfield Board of Education v. Zurich American Insurance Company, et al., Nos. 11-1961 and 11-2323, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9909).
SEATTLE - While a builders risk insurance policy excludes losses caused by faulty workmanship, the ensuing loss clause covers an insured's damages caused by a collapse, the Washington Supreme Court ruled May 17 (Vision One LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 85350-9, Wash. Sup.; 2012 Wash. LEXIS 374).
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.).
SEATTLE - Advanced decay of fin walls was not a separate, ensuing loss that was covered under a homeowners insurance policy, a majority of the Washington Supreme Court held May 17, also finding that the policy precludes coverage for the insureds' damages caused by rot and construction defects (Max B. Sprague and Krista Sprague v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 85794-6, Wash. Sup.; 2012 Wash. LEXIS 375).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal magistrate judge on May 16 concluded that recent Ohio case law does not require the plaintiffs in a breach of contract and bad faith suit against their insurer to join the insurer's adjuster to maintain their bad faith claim (Scott Elliot Smith LPA, et al. v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, No. 2:12-cv-00065, S.D. Ohio; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68181).
ST. LOUIS - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion by using a job description from the U.S. Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to determine that a plan participant was able to perform the duties of his "own occupation," even though the participant's employment was terminated because he was unable to complete a required physical evaluation, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 14 (Bobby Gene Hankins v. Standard Insurance Company, No. 11-3495, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9674).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on May 15 denied an errors and omissions insurer's motion to dismiss a law firm insured's counterclaims in a coverage dispute over legal malpractice allegations against the insured (Westport Insurance Corporation v. Preis & Roy P.L.C., No: 11-2741 SECTION: "A" , E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68494).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 16 upheld a district court's decision to dismiss a complaint filed by a tenant against an insurer and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), finding that she disposed of crucial property that was allegedly damaged by mold and that she lacked standing to assert claims against HUD (Eleanor Capogrosso v. 30 River Court East Urban Renewal Co., et al., Nos. 10-3741 and 10-3742, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9835).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A policyholder has sufficiently stated her breach of contract claim against her insurer related to an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, a Missouri federal judge ruled May 14, also finding that permitting her to amend the claim would not be futile (Carol Jameson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 2:11-cv-04272, W.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66829).
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A Missouri appeals panel on May 16 found that because an underlying claim against an insured was asserted before an errors and omissions policy's inception and the insured failed to timely report the claim, a claimant is unable to prove a condition precedent to coverage, reversing and remanding a lower court's award of $217,673.63 against the insurer in a garnishment proceeding (Lisa Grissom v. First National Insurance Agency, et al., No. SD31400, Mo. App., Southern Dist., Div. 2; 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 683).
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that loss means indemnity and expense regarding certain facultative reinsurance agreements, a Pennsylvania state judge granted summary judgment to an insurer on May 15 (Ace Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 2290, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.; 2012 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 128).
LONDON - An England and Wales appeals court on May 16 dismissed an appeal by a group of Brazilian companies against a justice's ruling that granted a request by various insurers to continue an anti-suit injunction that prohibits the insureds from pursuing litigation in Brazil (Sul America Cia Nacional de Seguros S.A., et al. v. Enesa Engenharia S.A., et al., No.  EWCA 638, England and Wales App.).
WINCHESTER, Tenn. - On May 14, a federal magistrate judge in Tennessee remanded lawsuits against an insurance agent and his agency because the case lacks federal question subject matter jurisdiction (Anthony Wanamaker, et al. v. Jeffrey A. Lawson d/b/a Jeffrey A. Lawson Insurance Agent, Nos. 11-60 & 11-61, E.D. Tenn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67170).
FRESNO, Calif. - A business liability insurance policy's professional services exclusion precludes coverage for an insured's liability for underlying wrongful death claims that resulted in a $29 million judgment, a California appeals panel ruled May 14, affirming a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to indemnify the portion of the judgment attributed to its insured (Golden Eagle Insurance Corporation v. Lemoore Real Estate and Property Management, Inc., et al., No. F061735, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3584).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend an additional insured against an underlying lawsuit arising from a worksite injury, a Minnesota appeals panel ruled May 14, reversing and remanding a lower court (Nor-Son Inc., et al v. Western National Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. A11-2016, Minn. App.; 2012 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 411).