WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 18 refused to reconsider its previous ruling that ordered a lower court to grant a homeowners insurer the right to attorney fees in a Hurricane Wilma dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Magdiel Perez, No. 4D12-1412, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 9196; See May 2014, Page 17).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on June 18 granted default judgment in favor of an insurer against defendants that failed to appear in a lawsuit where the judge previously found that allegations of negligence and breach of contract against insureds for failure to fix a water leak occurred outside the policy period (Westfield Insurance Co. v. David T. Mitchell III, et al., No. 12-00585, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82668).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 denied an excess insurer's motion to reconsider its finding that an employers liability exclusion in an excess commercial general liability insurance policy does not bar coverage for underlying negligence claims against an insured's employees (Evanston Insurance Co. v. Design Build InterAmerican, Inc., et al., No. 12-15466, 11th Cir.).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on June 16 granted an insured's motion to remand its lawsuit seeking several million dollars in potential sales caused by tornado damage to its manufacturing facility (LTD Material LLC v. Star Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-364, W.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82426).
LAKELAND, Fla. - There is a material issue of fact concerning whether insureds timely reported their claimed sinkhole loss under their homeowners policy, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 18, reversing the entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Anthony LoBello and Patricia LoBello v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 2D13-300, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 9192).
NEW YORK - Insufficient evidence exists as to whether a collapse was caused by an insured's alleged negligent construction, a New York majority appeals panel held June 17, affirming denial of summary judgment to an insurer on its duty to defend and indemnify an underlying personal injury action (Tower Insurance Company of New York v. BCS Construction Services Corp., et al., No. 12152, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 4349).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on June 16 granted an environmental contractor's motion for judgment as a matter of law in a case where an insurer had alleged that the contractor was liable for negligence in its environmental assessment of a parcel of land because a company that the carrier insured bought the property and later paid $1,050,103 for soil remediation (Chartis Specialty Insurance Company v. Aqua Sciences Engineers Inc., No. 11-03669, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81645).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Individuals who obtained insurance through the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace had, on average, access to 47 plans offered by five health insurers and paid just $69 per month for the most popular "silver plan" after tax credits, according to a June 18 Department of Health and Human Services report.
TULSA, Okla. - The settlement of an underlying state court lawsuit stemming from a fatal hydraulic lift accident has rendered an insurer's claim for declaratory relief moot, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled June 16, noting that, as a result, the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Superior Linen Service Inc., et al., No. 13-196, N.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82012).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on June 17 confirmed a $1.7 million appraisal award to insureds regarding damage sustained during storms that caused water leaks (David S. Gronik Jr., et al. v. Susan Balthasar, et al., No. 10-00954, E.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82207).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A contractual liability exclusion under a commercial general liability insurance policy precludes coverage for claims against an insured for breach of contract stemming from problems with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled June 17 (North Star Mutual Insurance Co. v. Roddy Rose, et al., No. 13-373, E.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82008).
BOSTON - A decision to terminate long-term disability benefits based on a claimant's refusal to cooperate during an examination was not arbitrary or capricious, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 16 (Rolando Ortega-Candelaria v. Johnson & Johnson et al., No. 13-1564, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11127).
DALLAS - An insured was not entitled to select independent counsel for an underlying construction defects case on the ground that an actual conflict of interest existed, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled June 16, also noting that the conclusion has no effect on the insured's breach of contract claims as the insured might still have been entitled to select independent counsel if it is found that the insurer breached its duties under the policies (Centex Homes v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 13-719, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81853).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 13 ordered a lower court to stay an insured's breach of contract lawsuit over sinkhole damage pending completion of a neutral evaluation pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 627.7074(10) (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Donna King, No. 2D13-5734, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 9109).
MILWAUKEE - In a case where a retired man is suing the company that assumed an insolvent insurer's annuity and insurance contracts, a federal judge in Wisconsin held June 12 that Wisconsin law does not recognize equitable estoppel as a cause of action, among other things (Leo R. Schuetta v. Aurora National Life Assurance Co., No. 13-1007, E.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80069).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate on June 13 granted a motion to certify classes in a lawsuit alleging that a mortgage lender and an insurer were involved in an improper scheme involving force-placed flood insurance (Stephen Ellsworth, et al. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., et al., No. C 12-02506 LB, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81646).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 found that the language in a general business liability insurance policy defeats an insured's argument that statements in its termination letter to a beer distributor formed the basis for potential disparagement liability, affirming a lower court's no coverage ruling (GK Skaggs, Inc., et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 12-56501, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11161).
ABINGDON, Va. - An excess insurer may intervene in a primary insurer's coverage action that seeks to determine whether there is a duty to indemnify an insured's alleged defective work that caused damage to other property, a Virginia federal judge held June 13 (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Strongwell Corp., No. 12-00038, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81294).
PHOENIX - A defendant doctor in a dispute over disability insurance was sanctioned by a federal judge in Arizona on June 12 after finding that the results of forensic examinations of two computers she turned over to Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. did not contain information matching deposition testimony the doctor gave regarding the amount of times she used the Internet or checked her Hotmail account (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Inna Ogandzhanova, M.D., No. CV-12-00372-PHX-GMS, D. Ariz.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81208).
NEW ORLEANS - The insurer of an accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to the beneficiaries of a policyholder who died while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 11 (Lindsey Green, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 13-60049, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10875).
CHICAGO - An engineering firm failed to establish that insureds' damages are ensuing losses under an "all-risk" insurance policy, an Illinois federal judge ruled June 12, denying partial summary judgment to the firm in a subrogated insurer's lawsuit (Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co. as subrogee of Gordon Siegel, M.D. and Clari Wechter v. 21 East Cedar LLC, et al., No. 10-7111, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79906).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Insureds' claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against their insurer for denial of a defective construction claim are barred by the insureds' unclean hands, a California appeals panel affirmed June 12 (Carvale Construction Inc., et al. v. Probuilders Specialty Insurance Company RRG, No. G048635, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4157).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on June 12 denied an insurer's motion to reconsider its March 11 ruling that an ATM operator suffered a covered loss under its insurance policy when an armored truck company stole $16 million (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London subscribing to policy number: FINFR0901509 v. Cardtronics Inc., No. 13-0165, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 6398).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Supreme Court of California on June 12 affirmed an appeals court's finding that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against a patent and trademark infringement lawsuit because the underlying claimant did not allege a claim for disparagement that would have triggered personal and advertising injury coverage (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. Swift Distribution Inc., et al., No. S207172, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 3765).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two doctors and the U.S. government on June 10 argued before a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on the constitutionality of a Medicare-price setting commission established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and whether the as-of-yet unstaffed group injured plaintiffs (Nick Coons, et al. v. Jacob Lew, et al., No. 13-15324, 9th Cir.).