Mealey's Insurance - Inconclusive Evidence Prevents Summary Judgment On Bad Faith Claim, Judge Says

NEW ORLEANS - Although an insurer's compliance with an appraisal award defeated a breach of contract claim against it in a dispute over hurricane damages, a Louisiana federal judge on April 16 declined to grant the insurer summary judgment on an accompanying bad faith claim, holding that further discovery on the insurer's pre-lawsuit actions was necessary to make such a determination (Martin Radosta v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-04441, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52644).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Lets Building Damages Claim Proceed In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - Insureds' proof-of-loss forms coupled with a public adjuster's estimate of their building damage caused by Hurricane Isaac constitute a complete proof of loss that complies with their federal flood insurance policy, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 15, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment in part (Alice Young, et al. v. Imperial Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 13-5246 SECTION: "S" $(5$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51863).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Fact Issue As To 4th Proof Of Loss Precludes Summary Judgment Ruling

NEW ORLEANS - There are factual disputes as to the existence, transmission, receipt and sufficiency of a fourth proof of loss seeking additional coverage for Hurricane Isaac damage, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14, denying a motion for summary judgment filed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit (Ivory Burks v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 13-6490 SECTION "E", E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51220).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Fails To File 3rd Proof Of Loss; Hurricane Isaac Suit Barred, Judge Rules

NEW ORLEANS - An insured's failure to submit a third proof of loss claiming any additional amounts owed for Hurricane Isaac damage prevents her from bringing a lawsuit against Federal Emergency Management Agency, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14 (Edna Barnes v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5490 SECTION "E", E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51218).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Negligent Procurement Of Insurance Claim Against Agent

NEW ORLEANS - An insurance agent did not have a duty to properly advise homeowners of the correct amount of insurance coverage needed, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14, dismissing the claim for negligent procurement of insurance against the agent in a hurricane coverage dispute (Gale Hernandez, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5783, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51221).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses In Hurricane Wilma Suit, Orders Court To Award Insurer Attorney Fees

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a lower court applied the wrong standard for determining whether a homeowners insurer was owed attorney fees in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on April 9 reversed and remanded for the lower court to grant the insurer the right to attorney fees and decide the amount to be awarded (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Magdiel Perez, No. 4D12-1412, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 5153).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 7 granted in part and denied in part a homeowners insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Hurricane Isaac coverage suit, finding that the insureds failed to point to specific evidence establishing the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact regarding their bad faith claim (Gary J. Muth, Sr., et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-5070, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47765).

Mealey's Insurance - N.Y. Justice Lets Declaratory Judgment Claim Proceed In Hurricane Sandy Dispute

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York justice on April 3 denied insurers' motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment claim brought by car dealership insureds in a Hurricane Sandy coverage dispute but granted the insurers' motion to dismiss the insureds' claims for bad faith, unfair claim settlement practices, punitive damages and attorney fees (Kings Infiniti Inc., et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., et al., No. 501914/2013, N.Y. Sup., Kings Co.; 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1480).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Orders Appraisal For Hurricane Coverage From An Insolvent Insurance Company

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 2 affirmed a trial judge's order that an appraisal panel should determine the amount of loss under an insolvent insurance company's policy sustained by an insured for ordinance or law coverage regarding reconstruction following Hurricane Wilma (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Coral Palms Village Homeowner's Association Inc., No. 4D13-856, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 4737).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - General Rule Regarding Federal Jurisdiction Controls, 5th Circuit Rules, Reverses

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 found that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) continues to provide jurisdiction over 58 subrogation lawsuits arising from hurricanes Katrina and Rita notwithstanding their severance from the class, reversing a federal court's ruling that remanded the lawsuits to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (State of Louisiana v. American National Property & Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 14- 30071 consolidated with No. 14-30072, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5577).

Mealey's Insurance - Nominal Offers 'Not Necessarily Indicative Of Bad Faith,' Panel Says, Reverses

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 26 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling refusing to award reasonable attorney fees and costs to an insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith (State Farm Insurance Co. v. Hermina and Oscar Reyes, No. 3D12-2838, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 4410).

Mealey's Insurance - General Rule Regarding Federal Jurisdiction Controls, 5th Circuit Rules, Reverses

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 found that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) continues to provide jurisdiction over 58 subrogation lawsuits arising from hurricanes Katrina and Rita notwithstanding their severance from the class, reversing a federal court's ruling that remanded the lawsuits to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (State of Louisiana v. American National Property & Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 14- 30071 consolidated with No. 14-30072, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5577).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Claims Against Insurer In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Finding that insureds failed to submit the required sworn proof of loss (POL) for their Hurricane Isaac claim, a Louisiana federal judge granted the federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment on March 10 and dismissed bad faith and negligence claims against the insurer (Karon Morin, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, et al., No. 13-5972, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31341).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Failed To Submit Timely Proof Of Loss For Supplemental Claim

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Insureds have failed to provide a timely proof of loss for their $204,000 additional claim for damage to the foundation and floor system of their premises that sustained flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene, a New York federal judge ruled March 6, granting a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment (Christine Zuk, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 12-CV-4186 $(SJF$)$(AKT$), E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30005).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Says Denial Of Hurricane Claims May Have Been Arbitrary And Capricious

NEW ORLEANS - Genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether an insurer acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by attributing a building's roof damage to tarps installed after it was damaged by a hurricane, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 7, denying summary judgment on a bad faith claim against the building's insurers (Cedar Ridge LLC v. Landmark American Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-672, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29602).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Post-Hurricane Repairs Potentially Fall Under Insurance Policy's Faulty Work Exclusion

NEW ORLEANS - The installation of tarps and the use of adhesives following water damage caused by a hurricane constitute repairs and workmanship for purposes of interpreting an insurance policy's faulty workmanship exclusion, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 5, granting partial summary judgment to insurers (Cedar Ridge LLC v. Landmark American Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-672, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28183).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: 'Plausible Claim' Alleged In Dispute Over Hurricane Sandy Coverage

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 26 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment and breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, finding that the insured has offered evidence that could potentially establish that the insurer's application of the policy's Named Storm deductible was improper (AFP 104 Corp. v. Columbia Casualty Co., No.: 13-4077 [PGS][LHG], D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24215).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Texas Insureds' Suit Seeking Coverage For Foundation Damage

GALVESTON, Texas - Texas insureds' foundation damages are not covered under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP), a Texas federal judge ruled Feb. 25, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute arising from Hurricane Ike damage (Mike Armstrong, et al. v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. G-10-202, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23508).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms: Hurricane Control System Patent Not Enabled

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board properly rejected two inventors' application for a patent covering a "tropical hurricane control system," the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 25 (In re: Eugene Hoffmann et al., No. 13-1657, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies State Farm's Motion For New Trial, Orders Insurer To Pay $758,250

GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Feb. 21 denied State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s renewed motion for judgment and, alternatively, for a new trial challenging a jury finding that it defrauded the U.S. government out of $250,000 by submitting a fraudulent Hurricane Katrina flood insurance claim. In a separate order, the judge ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in trebled damages, plus a $8,250 civil penalty (United States of America ex rel. Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby v. State Farm, et al., No. 06-433, S.D. Miss., Southern Div.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Federal Judge Denies Motion For New Trial; Finds No Error In Jury Verdict

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 7 determined that a jury did not err in finding that damages sustained as a result of an oil spill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were sudden and accidental as required by the policy at issue (Cox Operating LLC v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 07-2724, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15455).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Additional Discovery Will Cure Failure To Submit Proper Proof Of Loss

NEW ORLEANS - Finding that no additional discovery will change the fact that an insured failed to submit a complete, sworn proof of loss in support of a supplemental claim for Hurricane Isaac damage, a Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a motion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to dismiss the insured's breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit (Richard H. Clark, Sr., et al. v. FEMA, et al., No. 13-5232, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15871).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Suit Seeking Additional Coverage For Hurricane Damage Was Timely

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Set Aside Appraisal Award In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 30 denied insureds' motion to set aside an appraisal award in a dispute over coverage for Hurricane Ike damage (United Neurology, et al. v. Hartford Lloyd's Insurance Co., No. 10-4248. S.D. Texas, Houston Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11664).

Mealey's Insurance - Excess Policy Was Not Triggered, Panel Rules, Reverses $1.3M Ruling Against Insurer

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 24 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's $1.3 million judgment against an excess insurer in a Florida property manager's lawsuit seeking excess coverage for Hurricane Wilma damage, finding that Florida's insurable interest statute bars recovery beyond the property manager's revenue stream from the damaged property (Banta Properties Inc. v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co., No. 12-14186, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1419).