CHICAGO - A certificate of insurance did not confer any liability or alter an insurer's coverage, an Illinois federal judge held Dec. 30, dismissing the insurer from an insured's lawsuit that also alleges negligence and breach of contract claims against his insurance broker and agents (Nicholas Sweis, as co-trustee of the Sweis Living Trust v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 13-7175, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181051).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The terms of a settlement agreement in an earlier state court lawsuit for breach of contract and unjust enrichment prevented a realty company from bringing an action seeking remediation for contamination allegedly caused by the defendants' installation of underground storage tanks (USTs), a federal judge in New York ruled Dec. 18 in granting the defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment (Vornado Realty Trust, et al. v. Marubeni Sustainable Energy Inc., a/k/a DG Energy Solutions LLC, et al., No. 08-CV-4823, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177923).
CHICAGO - A full offer of settlement for the named plaintiffs for two claims in a complaint alleging various contract breaches and habitability issues at an Illinois apartment complex filed before a motion for class certification moots those claims, an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 16 (Adrian Alani, et al. v. FC Harris Pavilion Apartments Limited Partnership, et al., No. 13-5959, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 175851).
HONOLULU - An insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured against claims for breach of contract and negligence regarding alleged improper construction practices because the claims are not based on "occurrences" or an accident, a Hawaii federal judge ruled Dec. 13 (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Henry K. Kaaihue Jr. and Advanced Home Builder LLC, No. 13-00185, D. Hawaii; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175395).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Partly denying an insurer's motion to dismiss, a Tennessee federal judge on Dec. 13 held that an insured sufficiently alleged bad faith and breach of contract by claiming that her homeowners insurer falsely assessed a claim, which led to the improper raising of her insurance premiums (Joanna Hall v. Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 3:13-cv-000206, E.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174522).
HELENA, Mont. - A split Montana Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld a state court's order defining the class in a suit challenging the denial of a preauthorization request for a medical procedure but reversed and remanded with respect to the court's certification of the plaintiffs' claim as to "$(w$)hether the State of Montana breached its contract" and remanded to allow the court to consider whether a question could be presented where individual questions would not predominate (Steve Sangwin, et al. v. State of Montana, et al., No. 12-0712, Mont. Sup.; 2013 Mont. LEXIS 496).
LONDON - An English appeals court on Dec. 12 affirmed a justice's decision to uphold an arbitration award issued in favor of the purchasers of wheat and a determination that the Russian government did not trigger a prohibition clause in relation to the contract (Bunge S.A. v. Nidera B.V., No. $(2013$) EWHC 84 $(Comm$), England and Wales High, Comm.).
CHICAGO - The First District Illinois Appellate Court on Dec. 12 upheld a $75,383.67 award for the plaintiffs in a construction defects case, ruling that the plaintiffs' claims were not barred by the one-year warranty period of the construction contract (Sujith Sundararaj, et al. v. Yaroslav Kot, No. 1-13-0973, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4; 2013 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2798).
TEXARKANA, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on Dec. 11 ruled that the plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing The Standard Fire Insurance Co. of breach of contract due to Standard's alleged underpayment of claims for loss or damage to real property made pursuant to certain homeowners insurance policies was unlikely to prevail on a motion for class certification but denied the defendant's motion to strike or for judgment on pleadings (Greg Knowles, et al. v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, No. 11-4044, W.D. Ark.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173370).
NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Supreme Court on Dec. 10 overturned a judgment against a limited liability company (LLC) member, ruling that the man could not be held personally liable for defects in a home that was built pursuant to a construction contract between the LLC and the plaintiff (Mary P. Ogea v. Travis Merritt, et al., No. 2013-C-1085, La. Sup.; 2013 La. LEXIS 2774).
INDIANAPOLIS - A trial court did not err in refusing to grant final judgment on all claims alleged against an insurer because it is unclear as to whether the resolution of a breach of contract claim resolves the bad faith claim asserted against the insurer, the majority of the Indiana Court of Appeals said Dec. 5 (William Klepper v. ACE American Insurance Co., No. 15A05-1212-CC-645, Ind. App.; 2013 Ind. App. LEXIS 602).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Dec. 5 granted a preliminary injunction to keep a health insurance company group from terminating approximately 2,200 physicians from its Medicare Advantage program (Fairfield County Medical Association, et al. v. United Healthcare of New England, et al., No. 13-1621, D. Conn.).
TRENTON - An insurer's reformation of two of a condominium association insured's four Standard Flood Insurance Policies (SFIPs) was mandated by federal law, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Dec. 4, dismissing with prejudice the insured's breach of contract claim based on those two policies (The Residences at Bay Point Condominium Association Inc. v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-02380 (FLW)(LHG), D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170811).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Dec. 3 found that plaintiffs' breach of contract claims are not properly joined in a lawsuit seeking federal flood coverage for damage caused by Superstorm Sandy (Linda Salle, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13 CV 6020 (SJF)(GRB), E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171026).
HARRISBURG - A unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel issued an opinion Dec. 6 affirming summary judgment against the widow of a contractor employee who alleges that her late husband contracted cancer as a result of chemical exposure at a Rohm & Haas Co. facility in suburban Philadelphia; the testimony of her causation expert was properly excluded under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 702, according to the panel (Anne Snizavich v. Rohm & Haas Co., No. 1383 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.).
SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Court of Appeals on Dec. 4 remanded a construction defects dispute for a new trial on damages, concluding that the trial court gave incorrect instructions to the jury regarding a contractor's third-party breach of contract claims against a subcontractor (Montara Owners Association v. La Noue Development LLC, et al., No. A140771, Ore. App.; 2013 Ore. App. LEXIS 1432).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An insurer's mislabeling of a nonrenewal notice for a renters insurance policy as a homeowners policy creates a material fact dispute, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 27, leading him to deny the insurer's motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims against it (Edward Miller, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 2:13-cv-00581, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169485).
JACKSON, Miss. - A premium financing company failed to establish that an insurance policy was procured by an insurance agent, a Mississippi federal judge ruled Dec. 2, finding that breach of contract and negligence claims based on an alleged premium finance agreement with an insured fail against the agent (First Trinity Capital Corp. v. Catlin Specialty Insurance and Crump Insurance Services Inc., No. 13-9, S.D. Miss.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169669).
LONDON - An England and Wales appeals court on Nov. 29 allowed an asbestos survey company's appeal of an adjudicator's decision that ordered it to pay a refurbishment company damages for allegedly unreported asbestos, finding that the final rights of the parties can still be determined through legal proceedings (Aspect Contracts $(Asbestos Limited$) v. Higgins Construction Plc., No $(2013$) EWCA Civ 1541, England and Wales App.).
DETROIT - Syncora Guarantee Inc., which insures municipal bonds, on Nov. 26 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan arguing that the bankrupt City of Detroit lacks standing to expedite the Bankruptcy Court's consideration of Syncora's state law action against nondebtor defendant banks related to contracts referred to as swap agreements that were negotiated and executed seven years before the city's bankruptcy (Syncora Guarantee Inc. v. UBS AG, et al. $(In Re: City of Detroit$), No. 13-53846, Chapter 9, E.D. Mich. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK - A New York state court judge on Nov. 25 granted in part and denied in part a defendant's motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit accusing the defendant of misrepresenting the investment quality of certain mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it securitized and sold, ruling that an investment trust cannot seek reimbursement for loans that were compliant (ACE Securities Corp., Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2007-HE1, by HSBC Bank USA, National Association, as Trustee, v. DB Structured Products Inc., No. 650327/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Nov. 25 ruled on various motions pending in an action filed in relation to contracts for the construction of a townhouse development, including a decision to allow certain parties to file an amended complaint to add claims related to mold damage (White River Village LLP, et al., v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, et al., No. 08-cv-00248, D. Colo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167229).
DETROIT - Finding it "well-settled" that Michigan law does not provide for a separate claim for bad faith in addition to a breach of contract claim, a Michigan federal judge on Nov. 20 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in a dispute over claims from a home fire (Horace Lee v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2:11-cv-14998, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164897).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 19 conditionally certified a class of security guards working for the same company, some as employees and some as independent contractors, in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) suit seeking unpaid overtime (Ibrahim Abdur-Rahim, et al. v. Amerom, Inc., et al., No. 13-2105, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164221).
CINCINNATI - Under Kentucky law, a subcontractor's allegedly faulty preparation of a building pad that resulted in subsequent settling and structural damages to the building did not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 19 (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Kay and Kay Contracting LLC and MW Builders Inc., No. 12-5791, 6th Cir.).