PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify faulty workmanship allegations against an insured subcontractor for problems experienced by a condominium development, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 6, because the faulty work is not covered as an "occurrence" (Lenick Construction Inc. v. Selective Way Insurance, 16-1891, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15197).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 6 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of a commercial property insurer, finding that a hotel owner insured did not satisfy its burden to establish what portion, if any, of its alleged hail damage occurred during the policy's coverage period (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London v. Lowen Valley View, L.L.C., et al., No. 17-10914, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15337).
PHOENIX - An Arizona appeals panel on May 31 found that a pole collapse is a single occurrence under a commercial general liability insurance policy, affirming a lower court's ruling that only $1 million in coverage applies to an underlying negligence suit arising from the collapse (Cincinnati Indemnity Company v. Southwestern Line Constructors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program, et al., No. 17-0238, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2018 Ariz. App. LEXIS 88).
SAN FRANCISCO - In answering a question of "exceptional importance" from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a majority of the California Supreme Court on June 4 found that third-party claims against an employer for negligent hiring, retention and supervision of its employee qualify as an "occurrence" under the employer's commercial general liability (CGL) policy (Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, et al. v. Ledesma and Meyer Construction Company, Inc., et al., No. S236765, Calif. Sup., 2018 Cal. LEXIS 4063).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 25 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a manufacturer insured's $14 million in unpaid mitigation costs were not "necessary expenses" under a commercial insurance policy's business income coverage, finding that "necessary expenses" are limited to expenses that reduce a covered business income loss (Welspun Pipes, Inc., et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. 17-1470, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 13926).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 15 denied a commercial general liability insurer's motion to reconsider his finding that an unexplained delay of at least 15 months between the date the insurer learned of the grounds to deny coverage of an underlying sexual assault suit and the date it actually denied coverage is unreasonable under New York Insurance Law Section 3420(d)(2) (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. v. Intrepid Group, LLC, et al., No. 16-7928, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82607).
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on May 14 dismissed without prejudice a commercial general liability insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit after the parties announced that they reached an amicable settlement (Acadia Insurance Co. v. SouthernPointe Group, Inc., et al., No. 17-01368, N.D. Ala.).
FLORENCE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on May 4 declined to dismiss a counterclaim against a commercial general liability insurer seeking a declaration on coverage for an underlying construction defect lawsuit (American Southern Insurance Co. v. Affordable Home Improvements, et al., No. 17-02366, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75524).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 20 affirmed a lower federal court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a commercial excess insurer in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking to recover $306,808.46 in post-judgment interest that was awarded against it in an underlying product liability dispute (Key Safety Systems Inc. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., 17-1934, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9951).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on April 20 denied a claimant's motion to dismiss or, alternatively, stay a commercial general liability insurer's lawsuit seeking a declaration as to coverage for an underlying gunshot injury that occurred at a bar that was owned by its insured, finding that the claimant's motion to dismiss for lack of proper service is "a ridiculous waste of time and resources" (Capitol Specialty Insurance Corp. v. Tayworsky LLC, et al., No. 16-11340, S. D. W.Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66915).
SAN FRANCISCO - Even though an employee was tricked into transferring funds to a criminal because of fraudulent, spoofed emails, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 17 found that the direct cause of a seafood company's loss was the authorized employee's action, thus precluding coverage for the loss under the computer fraud provision of a commercial crime insurance policy (Aqua Star [USA] Corp. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-35614, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9660).
ATLANTA - Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment to the insurers (Mid-Continent Casualty Co., et al. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 17-12660, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3538).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify an insured subcontractor against a contractor's claims of negligent installation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Feb. 9 (J.J.D. Urethane Co. v. Westfield Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 1440 EDA 2017 & 1554 EDA 2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 396).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Two expert witnesses for the U.S. government can testify about sex trafficking and the prostitution trade in a criminal case against a man and his female accomplice accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts, a New Mexico federal judge ruled Feb. 8 after finding that both experts meet all requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, Fed. R. Evid. 702 (United States of America v. Cordny Henry, No. 16-cr-1097, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20896).
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 affirmed a lower court's denial of a commercial general liability insurer's motion to compel arbitration of a coverage dispute over an underlying defamation counterclaim brought against an insured, finding that the policy's arbitration clause was invalid under Washington law (Technical Security Integration, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 15-35683, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2574).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a commercial general liability insurance policy's "particular part" exclusion bars coverage for the damage an insured allegedly caused to an electrical transformer while working on it (Electric Power Systems International, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 16-3927, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1953).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a commercial general liability insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the contamination of landscaping materials with plastic from defective storage bags that were manufactured by the insured (Decker Plastics v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., No.17-1319, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2085).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 24 ruled that the government adequately alleges that a man should face charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States as a result of his role in a scheme to illegally obtain insurance for buses that were part of a commercial transportation company (United States of America v. Yalin Liu, No. 16cr42, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11243).
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Jan. 24 found that if an insured has a valid fraud claim to assert against an underlying claimant, it should do so in the pending state court lawsuit rather than via a cross-claim brought in its commercial general liability insurer's ancillary declaratory judgment action (Acadia Insurance Co. v. SouthernPointe Group, Inc., et al., No. 17-01368, N.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11054).
DENVER - Ruling on dueling motions for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith dispute, a Colorado federal judge on Jan. 23 found that a list of stolen property satisfies a retail coin and collectible store owner's obligations under the plain language of a commercial property insurance policy (TBL Collectibles, Inc., d/b/a Colorado Coins, Cards & Comics v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-01788, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10538).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Jan. 22 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has no obligation to reimburse its insured for more than $16,000 in independent counsel fees incurred in an underlying copyright infringement dispute, rejecting the insured's contention that a conflict of interest entitled it to independent counsel (Bean Products, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 1-17-0421, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 89).
PITTSBURGH - Blank Rome on Jan. 18 announced that a new partner has joined its commercial litigation group in Pittsburgh.
LOS ANGELES - A judge erroneously required a company to prove that it had a federal defense, rather than just a colorable one, and improperly focused on the fact that asbestos-containing insulation was commercially available rather than the fact that it was applied to a military nuclear propulsion prototype, CBS Corp. told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Jan. 16 (Wayne Yocum, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-56344, 9th Cir.).