Judge Denies Temporary Restraining Order Against Insurance Agency, Agents

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on April 30 denied an application by insurance companies for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against an insurance agency and agents regarding usage of policyholder information (Farmers Insurance Exchange, et al. v. Steele Insurance Agency Inc., et al., No. 13-00784, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62507).

    Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Summary Judgment Motion Regarding Defense, Indemnity

    ORLANDO, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurer's summary judgment motion regarding its duty to defend and indemnify an underlying construction case is premature, a Florida federal judge ruled May 1 (North Pointe Insurance Co. v. Global Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., et al., No. 12-476, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62196).

    No Coverage For Underlying Negligence Suit, Missouri Panel Says

    ST. LOUIS - An insurer has no duty to defend its insureds against an underlying suit because the underlying suit's allegations of negligence are based on intentional conduct, which is not covered by the policy, the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals, Third Division, said April 30 (Ken and Janet Allen, et al. v. Continental Western Insurance Co., No. ED99111, Mo. App., Eastern Dist., Div. 3; 2013 Mo. App. LEXIS 506).

    Showing Of Insurer's Bad Faith Can Support Equitable Subrogation, Mo. Panel Finds

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If an excess insurer can establish that a nurse's primary insurer breached its duties to her in an underlying wrongful death case, it may be able to succeed in its equitable subrogation claim, a Missouri appeals panel found April 30, reversing an entry of summary judgment in the primary insurer's favor (Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund v. American Casualty Company of Reading, Pa., No. WD75446, Mo. App., West. Div.; 2013 Mo. App. LEXIS 527).

    Policy Termination Negates ERISA Claims In Life Insurance Dispute, Judge Rules

    PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Because a decedent's life insurance policy had been canceled prior to her death, a Kentucky federal judge on April 30 held that the policy beneficiaries' claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) failed (Sandra Morris, et al. v. Appalachian Regional Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 7:12-cv-00101, E.D. Ky.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61196).

    Residential Exclusion Bars Insurance Coverage For Defect Case, Judge Holds

    SAN FRANCISCO - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured or an additional insured for an underlying construction defect case, a California federal judge ruled April 30, finding that the total residential exclusion precludes coverage for residential projects (Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. North Bay Waterproofing Inc., et al., No. 12-03339, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62493).

    Panel: Exclusion For Coverage Of Errors Arising Out Of Contractual Breach Applies

    CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 30 affirmed a lower court's finding that an insurance policy's exclusion for coverage of "Public Officials' Errors and Omissions arising out of . . . breach of a contractual obligation" applies to preclude coverage for defense costs related to an underlying $5,975,000 settlement reached between the insured and a maintenance company (City of Warren, et al. v. International Insurance Company of Hannover Ltd., No. 12-2201, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8942).

    Panel: California Insurance Code Section 533.5 Does Not Preclude Defense Duty

    LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel found May 1 that an insurer cannot avoid its contractual duty to defend a medical director insured against federal criminal charges by relying on California Insurance Code Section 533.5, subdivision (b), reversing a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Richard R. Lopez Jr., No. B234082, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; Div. 7.; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 346).

    Dewey & LeBoeuf Executives: $19.5M Deal With Insurer Lacks 'Supportable Basis'

    NEW YORK - Two former executives with bankrupt law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf on May 2 filed a brief objecting to the more than $19.5 million settlement reached among the Dewey & LeBoeuf Liquidation Trust, XL Specialty Insurance Co. and Steven H. Davis, on grounds that the liquidating trustee has failed to provide any evidence in supporting the deal other than his own "self-serving, conclusory statements" that the agreement is favorable to the liquidation trust (In Re: Dewey & LeBoeuf, No. 12-12321, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

    Judge Finds Insured's Common Law Bad Faith Claim Duplicative Of Breach Claim

    PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 30 found an insured's common law bad faith claim against her insurer could not stand as an independent cause of action and was subsumed by an existing breach of contract claim, granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Kelly E. Tubman v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 2:12-cv-07121, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61022).

    Magistrate: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend School Board's Suit Against Insured

    ST. LOUIS - A general liability insurer has no duty to defend its city insured against a school board's claims that the insured wrongfully withheld tax revenues, an Illinois federal magistrate judge ruled April 30, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (City of Marion, Ill. v. U.S. Specialty Ins. Co., No. 12-cv-0999-SCW, S.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61900).

    Appeals Panel Reverses Ruling Denying Workers' Compensation Insurance Benefits To Employee

    TRENTON, N.J. - A limitation extends to the obligations for an insolvent member of the New Jersey Self-Insurers Guaranty Association and not for the occurrence of compensable accidents, a New Jersey appeals panel held April 30, reversing and remanding a ruling denying the payment of workers' compensation benefits by the association (Michael Collins v. P.I.E. Nationwide/New Jersey Self-Insurers Guaranty Association, No. A-0571-11T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 985).

    Agency, Insurer Negligently Misrepresented Coverage, Louisiana Panel Affirms

    LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on May 1 affirmed a lower court's $50,000 judgment in favor of insureds in their lawsuit alleging that negligent misrepresentations by their insurance agency and federal flood insurer led them to believe that they had a valid federal flood insurance policy in place at the time of Hurricane Ike (Kay Barnett, et ux. v. Fidelity National Property & Casualty Co., et al., No. 12-1415, La. App., 3rd Cir.).

    Judge: Benefits Provider's Coverage Claim Wrongly Cast As Wrongful Acts Claims

    DALLAS - An insured "is attempting to transform its D&O $(directors and officers$) liability policy into a first-party policy to provide coverage for its own loss," a Texas federal judge ruled April 29, granting an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims against it (American Construction Benefits Group LLC v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 3:12-cv-02726, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60308).

    Bankruptcy Judge Proposes Dismissal Of Insolvent Insurer's Breach Of Duty Claim

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida bankruptcy judge on April 30 proposed that an insolvent insurer's breach of fiduciary duty claim against its former director be dismissed based on a lack of personal jurisdiction (British American Insurance Company Ltd. v. Robert Fullerton, et al., No. 11-03118, S.D. Fla. Bkcy.; 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 1755).

    Court Finds Policy Excluded Property Damage Claims Related To Window Work

    MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin appeals court on April 30 affirmed a circuit court's decision in favor of an insurer, finding that coverage claims related to a glass company's allegedly negligent caulking work were excluded under its policy (Randal Strauss v. Milwaukee Plate Glass Co., et al., No. 2012AP1778, Wis. App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 369).

    Insurer Not Justified In Denying Fire Claim, Texas Appeals Panel Says

    HOUSTON - A trial court erred in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on the basis that the insured did not submit to an examination under oath because the insurance policy at issue provides that the case must be abated until the insured complies, the 14th District Texas Court of Appeals said April 30 (Arman A. Shafighi v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 14-12-00082-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 5303).

    Insurer Had No Independent Duty To Investigate Unfair Trade Claims, Judge Finds

    BILLINGS, Mont. - A Montana federal judge on April 26 ruled that a professional liability insurer did not neglect to attempt settlement of an underlying debt collection dispute in good faith in violation of Montana's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act (UTPA), granting in part the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Timothy McCollough v. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 1:09-cv-00095, D. Mont.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60183).

    Termination Of Benefits Was Not Arbitrary, Capricious, 11th Circuit Holds

    ATLANTA - A disability plan insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by terminating long-term disability benefits because the insurer reasonably relied on the opinions of an independent medical examiner and a vocational rehabilitation consultant, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 29 in an unpublished opinion (Patricia Herring v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, No. 12-15864, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8667).

    Additional Insured's Claims For Denied Coverage Are Time-Barred, Judge Finds

    OAKLAND, Calif. - An additional insured's claims arising from an insurer's denial of coverage for alleged water damage due to negligent construction are time-barred by a one-year suit limitation provision in a policy, a California federal judge ruled April 29 (Ranger Pipelines Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 12-5387, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60967).

    Panel Vacates Exemplary Damages, Finds No Bad Faith In Uninsured Motorist Case

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Determining that an insured's umbrella policy did not provide for exemplary damages for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits based on the limitations of an underlying auto insurance policy, a Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal panel on April 26 reversed a lower court's granting of such damages while affirming its awards for lost wages, medical expenses and general damages (Byard Edwards Jr. v. Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2012 CA 1495, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2013 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 266).

    Insured's Notification Of Antitrust Violation Claim Was Timely, 6th Circuit Says

    CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 30 held that a "claim" did not arise until January 2011 when the Federal Trade Commission initiated administrative and civil actions against an insured for allegedly violating Section 7 of the Clayton Act and, therefore, the insured's notification of the claim was timely, vacating a lower federal court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer and remanding for further proceedings (Employers' Fire Insurance Co. v. ProMedica Health Systems Inc., No. 12-3104, 6th Cir.).

    8th Circuit Finds Reasonable Expectations Doctrine Applies, Reverses In Part

    ST. LOUIS - A majority of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 30 found that because the reasonable expectations doctrine applies, an insured is entitled to coverage under a 1977-78 special excess liability insurance policy for underlying malicious prosecution claims, reversing and remanding a lower federal court in part (Chicago Insurance Co. v. The City of Council Bluffs, et al., Nos. 12-1918 and 12-1922, 8th Cir.;Top of Form 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8817).

    Magistrate Declines To Phase, Limit Discovery In Underinsured Motorist Case

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Noting the existence of a standing scheduling discovery deadline order and an insurer's failure to previously file an objection to it, a California federal magistrate judge on April 25 denied the insurer's motion for a protective order related to materials sought by policyholders related to breach of contract and bad faith claims against it (Scott Dunton, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 2:12-cv-00303, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59625).

    Bond Issuer Says Argentina Is The Place To Hear A Reinsurance Dispute

    NEW YORK - An Argentine performance bond issuer argued in a New York federal court on April 26 that the court has no jurisdiction over a dispute between the issuer and its reinsurer (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Aseguradora De Creditos Y Garantias, S.A., No. 12-cv-4627, S.D. N.Y.).