NEW YORK - Underlying antitrust lawsuits against concrete manufacturer insureds fail to allege an advertising injury under commercial general liability insurance policies, a New York federal judge ruled Aug. 3, granting the insurers' motions for summary judgment (Suwannee American Cement LLC, et al. Zurich Insurance Company, Ltd., et al., No. 11 Civ. 3899 (LLS), S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109316).
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).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer had a duty to defend a mutual insured against construction defect claims, a Colorado federal judge ruled Aug. 2, finding that a question remains on whether the insurer breached that duty entitling another CGL insurer to reimbursement for funds expended in defending the mutual insured (EMC Insurance Cos. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 10-03005, D. Colo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108236).
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).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's Workers' Compensation Act precludes an injured worker from filing common-law claims against his employer's compensation provider, a New Jersey Supreme Court majority ruled Aug. 1, affirming dismissal of the worker's claims (Wade Stancil v. ACE USA, No. 1-112 September Term 2010, 067640, N.J. Sup.; 2012 N.J. LEXIS 823).
ST. LOUIS - A panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 reversed and remanded a bankruptcy court's ruling that denied an insurer its right to recoupment and concluded that the bankruptcy court had improperly applied a "balancing of equities" test to make its decision (Joseph Warren Terry v. Standard Insurance Coumpany [In Re: Joseph Warren Terry], No. 11-2582, Chapter 7; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16095).
CINCINNATI - An issuer of a financial institution bond is not entitled to credit a commercial crime insurer's $50,000 payment against an insured's recovery of damages stemming from employee theft, a majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 1, reversing a lower federal court in part (First Defiance Financial Corporation, et al. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, Nos. 10-3943/3944, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15852).
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).
NEW ORLEANS - Excess insurers filed suit on July 31 in Louisiana federal court seeking a declaration regarding coverage obligations for the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Great American Insurance Company of New York, et al. v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 11-275, E.D. La.). Subscribers may view the complaint available within the full article.
PASADENA, Calif. - Because a negligence counterclaim in a life insurance dispute was unrelated to policy benefits, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 31 held that the insurer's interpleader action did not shield it from liability on that count and that the counterclaimants were improperly required by a trial court to show bad faith (Robert S. Lee, et al. v. West Coast Life Insurance Co., No. 11-55026, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15768).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 31 denied an additional insured's motion to dismiss and motion for judgment on the pleadings in a lawsuit demanding commercial general liability coverage for underlying lawsuits seeking an alleged $1 billion in damages arising from a large California forest fire (Sierra Pacific Industries v. American States Insurance Co., No. 2:11-cv-00346, E.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107761).
SEATTLE - An insurer did not misrepresent the terms of an insurance policy by referencing the policy's mold and construction defects exclusions in denial letters; however, triable issues of fact exist regarding the insurer's denial of coverage for the removal of drywall, a Washington federal judge said Aug. 1 (Sayad Ayar v. Liberty Northwest Insurance Corp. No. 10-1788, W.D. Wash.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107685).
LAFAYETTE, La. - Considering statutory amounts due for an auto insurance policyholder's bad faith claims, when combined with a likely attorney fees award and the contractual amount due, a Louisiana federal judge on July 30 held that the federal jurisdictional threshold amount was met and denied the policyholder's motion to remand (Barbara Washington v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 6:12-cv-00746, W.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106126).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Although a claimant seeks only compensatory damages of $38,549, an Alabama federal judge on July 30 found that when considering likely awards for his punitive damages and bad faith claims, the $75,000 minimum threshold for federal jurisdiction is easily met (Darrell Shepherd v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 7:12-cv-00580, N.D. Ala.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105665).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 30 granted an insured's motion to add breach of an oral contract, negligence and equitable indemnity claims against insurance agents and remanded the case for lack of diversity (Galerie Homeowners Association v. Chartis Property Casualty Co., et al., No. 12-00290, C.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107070).
PHILADELPHIA - A majority of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a professional liability insurer on an insured's bad faith claim but vacated a $921,862.38 judgment against the insurer on the breach of contract claim and remanded for recalculation of the amount of underlying defense costs that the insurer owes its insured (Benjamin A. Post v. St. Paul Travelers Insurance Co., Nos. 10-3088 & 10-3300, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15767).
TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact remain with regard to an alleged agency relationship between an insurance agent and an insurer, a Florida federal judge held July 30, denying summary judgment to insureds who allege that the insurance agent negligently procured their policy (Great American Assurance Co. v. Sanchuk LLC and Chuck Elliott v. Great American Assurance Co. and Wellington F. Roemer Insurance Agency Inc., No. 10-2568, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105477).
SAN FRANCISCO - An underlying action against an insured was one for product disparagement, triggering coverage under commercial general liability insurance policies, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30, reversing and remanding for adjudication of a bad faith claim and calculation of damages (Safety Dynamics Inc. v. General Star Indemnity Company, et al., Nos. 11-15798 and 11-15929, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15698).
LAS VEGAS - A debt collection company sufficiently alleged an implied contract with an insurer that provided it with services supporting its collections activities, a Nevada federal judge ruled July 30, denying a motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims against the insurer (Nevada Association Services Inc. v. First American Title Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:11-cv-02015, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105466).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that claimants are not entitled to any additional benefits under a policy's directors and officers' coverage provisions because the insurer's payment of $25,000 for their underlying defense costs in a property sale dispute fully satisfies its contractual obligations (Holy Ghost Carpatho-Russian Greek Catholic (Orthodox) Church, et al. v. Church Mutual Insurance Company, No. 11-4363, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15683).
LINCOLN, Neb. - An insurer is not required to produce information that arose out of an attorney's investigation of carbon monoxide poisoning claims because the attorney was not hired to prepare a defense for the insurer, a Nebraska federal judge said July 30 (Church Mutual Insurance Co. v. Clay Center Christian Church et al., No. 11-304, D. Neb.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105552).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on June 30 declined to stay an injunctive relief lawsuit between an insurance agency and its former employee based on the employee's breach of contract state court action (North American Insurance Agency Inc., et al. v. Robert C. Bates, et al., No. 12-544, W.D. Okla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105670).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 26 held that a Florida court would be better suited to determine contractual and bad faith claims related to an accident that occurred in that state, affirming a lower court's dismissal of an insurer's declaratory judgment action in Michigan federal court (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. A. Eric Bohms, et al., No 11-2083, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15599).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on July 27 denied motions to intervene by parties in an underlying toxic exposure case but will allow the parties to submit amicus curiae briefs in the insurance coverage suit (United Fire & Casualty Co. v. Titan Contractor Service Inc., No. 10-2076, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104908).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge entered final judgment in favor of a professional liability insurer on July 27, one day after ruling that the insurer has no duty to cover underlying claims that its lawyer insured failed to repay a debt (Jane C. Kelley v. Tina M. Dahle, Tina M. Dahle SC and Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, No. 11-C-600, E.D. Wis.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104111).