RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Fourth District California Court of Appeal on Sept. 18 overturned a judgment against a construction contractor in a construction contract dispute, ruling that the trial court erred by awarding damages for construction defects that were not alleged in the plaintiffs' complaint (Chibueze Dallah, et al. v. Edward Konopacki, No. E053286, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6672).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Sept. 18 remanded a breach of health care contract suit to state court, saying that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the claims (Port Medical Wellness Inc. v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-3604, C. D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134612).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 16 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage under a staffing-services liability insurance policy (Beacon Industrial Staffing Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, P.A., No: 8:13-cv-1715-T-30, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132067).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An insured breached the terms of a workers' compensation insurance contract by not paying the stated reserve amounts, an Indiana federal judge found Sept. 9, while holding that the insurer did not act in bad faith in its handling and investigation of the claim covered by the reserve fund (The American Insurance Co., et al. v. Liberty Homes Inc., No. 3:12-cv-00122, N.D. Ind.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128032).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 10 denied a motion to dismiss a health care insurance suit alleging breach of contract and violation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) but granted the plaintiff's motion to strike an affidavit the defendants filed in support of their dismissal motion (Victoria Weiland v. AssureCare Inc., et al., No. 12-1947, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128750).
NEW YORK - Apple Inc. must modify its existing agreements with publishers and submit to an external monitor pursuant to the final order entered Sept. 5 by the federal judge in New York who ruled against Apple on claims by the United States and 33 states that Apple conspired with five publishers to fix prices of electronic books (United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 2826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas, et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 12 Civ. 3394, S.D. N.Y.).
OMAHA, Neb. - An additional insured sufficiently asserts breach of contract claims against insurers regarding coverage for remediation of a highway construction project, a Nebraska federal judge ruled Sept. 4, denying motions to dismiss (Hawkins Construction Co. v. Peterson Contractors Inc., et al., No. 13-46, D. Neb.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126820).
BOSTON - The federal judge in Massachusetts overseeing the multidistrict litigation for lawsuits stemming from Bank of America N.A.'s alleged mishandling of loan modification requests pursuant to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) on Sept. 4 refused to certify 26 classes for borrowers, finding that individual issues pertaining to each class member's performance required by a trial period plan (TPP) predominated over classwide issues (In re: Bank of America Home Affordable Modification Program $(HAMP$) Contract Litigation, MDL No. 2193, Case No. 10-md-2193, D. Mass.).
ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals panel on Aug. 30 found that an insured's lawsuit seeking professional liability coverage for underlying claims arising from its role as administrator of an insolvent trust fund is not moot, vacating and remanding a lower court's dismissal of the insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer (American Professional Risk Services, Inc., et al. v. Gotham Insurance Co., No. A13A1033, Ga. App., 2nd Div.; 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 742).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A subrogated insurer can proceed with its negligence and breach of contract claims against a developer because the Right to Repair Act, Civil Code Section 895, et seq., does not eliminate a property owner's common-law rights and remedies, a California appeals panel held Aug. 28, reversing a trial judge's ruling (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC, No. G046731, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 687).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Supreme Court on Aug. 29 overturned a Court of Appeals decision in a construction contract dispute, ruling that an arbitration agreement signed by the purchaser of a mobile home was enforceable (Energy Homes v. Brian Peay, et al., No. 2011-SC-000462-DG, Ky. App.; 2013 Ky. LEXIS 370).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 27 granted in part and dismissed in part a suit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for a failed bank, brought alleging breach of contract and other claims arising from loan appraisals (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Boris Masarsky, et al., No. 12-6353, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122806).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate court majority on Aug. 28 found that there is a material question of fact regarding insureds' notice of their alleged property damage loss stemming from Hurricane Wilma, reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of the homeowners insurer in a breach of contract dispute (Paul and Fely Siguenza v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D12-1337, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 13686).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 26 remanded a breach of health care contract suit to state court, finding that the defendant did not show that the amount in controversy for removal to federal court had been met (Omega Hospital LLC v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, No. 13-4891, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12195).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 27 granted a Mexican corporation's request to confirm an approximately $400 million arbitration award that was issued in its favor in a dispute over contracts for the construction of offshore platforms, finding that a Mexican court that nullified the award improperly applied a law that was not in existence at the time the parties entered the underlying agreements (Corporacion Mexicana De Mantenimiento Intergral, S. De R.L. De C.V. v. Pemex-Exploracion Y Produccion, No. 1:10-cv-00206, S.D. N.Y.).
RENO, Nev. - Finding it undisputed that an insurer fulfilled its obligations under a mortgage protection life insurance policy, a Nevada federal judge on Aug. 22 granted the insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract, bad faith and other claims against it related to the foreclosure of the insured's property (Linda Downs v. River City Group LLC, No. 3:11-cv-00885, D. Nev.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119508).
PLAQUEMINE, La. - A Louisiana jury awarded $5.95 million to a man who contracted mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, sources told Mealey Publications on Aug. 22 (Sidney Mabile v. Dow Chemical Co., No. N/A., La. Dist., Iberville Parish).
INDIANAPOLIS - Information on similar hail damage claims made by other insureds is relevant to a property owner's bad faith and breach of contract claims against its insurer, an Indiana Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 15, upholding a lower court's order to compel, while stating that the information might ultimately not be admissible (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. C & J Real Estate Inc., No. 49A04-1209-PL-477, Ind. App.; 2013 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1060).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 upheld a trial court's determination that a nurse had no constitutionally protected property interest in an independent contractor position (Christine Blantz v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, et al., No. 11-56525, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16940).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Supreme Court on Aug. 14 ruled that construction contract claims involving alleged defects at a marina should be arbitrated, concluding that "the trial court erred in finding the parties' transaction had an insufficient nexus to interstate commerce" (Cape Romain Contractors Inc. v. Wando E. LLC, et al., No. 27298, S.C. Sup.; 2013 S.C. LEXIS 203).
DETROIT - Finding a claim for bad faith and unfair trade practices to be duplicative of an airport operator's breach of contract claim, a Michigan federal judge on Aug. 14 held that the claim must be dismissed under New York law, which governs the claim (Wayne County Airport Authority v. Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:11-cv-15472, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114437).
NEW YORK - After finding that claims related to an underlying financing contract and for fraudulent inducement are arbitrable, a New York federal judge on Aug. 15 stayed an action filed by a New Jersey corporation that seeks $25 million in damages and compelled arbitration of the dispute (MidOil USA LLC v. Astra Project Finance Pty Ltd., No. 12-8484, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115678).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 14affirmed summary judgment to an insurer on a breach of contract claim against an insurance agent because the agent is blocked by the doctrine of quasi-estoppel from assertingthat he transferred all liabilities and responsibilities under anagency agreement to another company (American General Life Insurance Co. v. Sheldon Carter Bryan, No. 12-20435, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16829).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Aug. 13 found a policyholder's breach of contract and bad faith claims against its insurer regarding claims related to the closure of its restaurant because of sewage odor to be plausible on their face, denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Maddin Inc. v. Allied Insurance Company of America, No. 2:13-cv-00827, D. Nev.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114206).
CLEVELAND - Finding that allowing discovery to proceed on a bifurcated, stayed bad faith claim would prejudice an insurer in defending against an underlying breach of contract claim, an Ohio appeals panel on Aug. 8 ruled that a lower court erred in not staying discovery on the bad faith claim (Kathleen R. Devito v. Grange Mutual Casualty Co., et al., No. 99393, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2013 Ohio 3435; 2013 Ohio App. LEXIS 3523).