MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 5 found that an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking additional coverage for Hurricane Wilma damage was timely filed and not barred by a Florida five-year statute of limitations, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Angela M. Rizo v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 3D12-3088, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 4 refused to dismiss an insurer's breach of contract lawsuit against an insurance agent regarding the agent's alleged duty to repay compensation received on premium payments that were returned (PHL Variable Insurance Co. v. Haynes Brokerage Group Inc., No. 13-1271, D. Conn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13804).
PORTLAND, Maine - Under Maine law, a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured against an underlying lawsuit for breach of contract arising from the insured's alleged faulty workmanship, a Maine federal judge ruled Feb. 4 (Ted Berry Company Inc. v. Excelsior Insurance Co., No. 13-342, D. Maine; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13585).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 4 found no error in a trial court's decision to not give preclusive effect to a state court's finding that a decedent was not an employee of a business that was sued for wrongful death, affirming a judgment that the business's insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying coverage in the underlying suit (Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Housan Sharif, et al., No. 13-11151, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2114).
SAN FRANCISCO - The existence of five contracts handling fee disclosures differently, contested store signage and oral representations creates individualized issues and required denying class certification of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed Feb. 3 (Benjamin Berger, et al. v. Home Depot USA Inc., DBA The Home Depot, No. 11-55592, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2059).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a hotel on claims asserted by a former employee who alleged that his contract was terminated after he made complaints about mold (Guy DeFazio v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., No. 13-1197, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2030).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 affirmed dismissal of a construction company's breach of contract action based on judicial estoppel, agreeing that the plaintiff "affirmatively misrepresented its procedural position" (Haines & Kibblehouse Inc. v. Balfour Beatty Construction Inc., No. 11-2826, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2031).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 ruled that a lower federal court erred when it denied an insured's former executive director the opportunity to prove consequential damages in the form of aggravation and inconvenience attributable to an insurer's breach of contract, vacating and remanding the case in part (Robert E. Graham v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 13-1517, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2041).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer told a federal court in Connecticut on Jan. 29 that a dispute regarding alleged obligations under a reinsurance assumption agreement should be put before an arbitration panel (Trenwick America Reinsurance Corporation v. CX Reinsurance Company Limited, No. 13-cv-01264, D. Conn.).
NEWARK, N.J. - With allegations including breach of contract, negligence and consumer fraud, a husband and wife on Jan. 28 filed suit against their health care provider in New Jersey federal court related to the theft of two of the companies' laptops that may have contained sensitive customer information (Karen Pekelney, et al. v. Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., No. 2:14-cv-00584, D. N.J.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A divided Alabama Supreme Court on Jan. 24 held that a trial court erred in submitting a claim for intentional interference with business relationship to a jury in a health care network dispute, saying the defendants had no obligation to do business with the plaintiff health care provider (Alabama Psychiatric Services, et al. v. A Center for Eating Disorders, No. 1110703, Ala. Sup.; 2014 Ala. LEXIS 9).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Jan. 22 granted five builders risk insurers' motion for summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking $6,409,029 in additional insurance benefits for loss of income and $140,568 in extra expenditures stemming from water leaks that occurred at its Manhattan luxury condominium complex (W2001Z/15 CPW Realty LLC v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 650593/2010, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Jan. 22 denied a health insurance company's motion for summary judgment on a plaintiff's breach of contract claim in a dispute over denial of benefits but granted the motion as to the plaintiff's remaining claims (Larry R. Mixon v. The Golden Rule Insurance Co., No. 12-234, S.D. Miss.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7760).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on Jan. 24 dismissed for lack of standing the portion of a receiver's lawsuit on behalf of two insolvent insurers seeking to recover money owed by a professional employer organization to any of the various state guaranty associations (State of Oklahoma, ex rel. John Doak, insurance commissioner as receiver for Park Avenue Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and Imperial Casualty and Indemnity Co. v. Staffing Concepts International Inc., No. 12-409, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8767).
WHEELING, W.Va. - Even though a state organization has ultimate settlement authority over a couple's insurance claim based on mine subsidence, a West Virginia federal judge on Jan. 22 held that the insureds were still entitled to bring a breach of contract claim against their insurer, denying a motion to dismiss (Mark Bettinazzi, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 5:13-cv-00166, N.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7835).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fourth Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal on Jan. 22 overturned summary judgment for a pair of defendants in a construction contract dispute, concluding that the trial court erred in ruling that the defendants were entitled to dismissal from the action in their individual capacities (Martha Hohensee v. Sean C. Turner, et al., No. 2013-CA-0615, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 157).
CINCINNATI - Concluding that a jeweler's businessowners policy did not provide coverage for fraud counterclaims against it related to the loss of a diamond, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 21 affirmed dismissal of the jeweler's breach of contract and bad faith claims against its insurer (John Stafford, et al. v. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-3385, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1214).
ABERDEEN, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Jan. 21 dismissed Kmart Corp.'s breach of contract and negligence claims against its landlord in a dispute over coverage for flood damage (Kmart Corporation v. The Kroger Co., et al., No. 1:11-CV-00103-GHD-DAS, N.D. Miss.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7055).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Homeowners fraudulently joined an insurance agent to their breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against their insurer regarding coverage for tornado damage, an Oklahoma federal judge held Jan. 21 (Nathaniel Neill and Alicia Neill v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. and Jack Stout, No. 13-627, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7064).
NEW YORK - A potential stalking horse bidder in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Lightsquared Inc. on Jan. 21 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to the Ad Hoc Secured Group of Lightsquared LP Lenders' (Ad Hoc Group) contention that the bidder was prevented from canceling its bid (In re: Lightsquared Inc., No. 12-12080, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island judge on Jan. 15 denied summary judgment to two hospitals, saying the potential impact of evidence from a pending discovery motion seeking contracts between the hospitals and contractors working with asbestos-containing products makes such relief premature (Leonard L. Lepore and Carol A. Lepore v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 12-1469, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation).