FRESNO, Calif. - Commercial general liability insurers fail to assert any claims for breach of the cooperation clause of the insurance agreement or for equitable reimbursement, a California federal magistrate judge held Nov. 13, recommending dismissal of claims against additional insureds regarding a defense in an underlying construction defects case (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. 14-01388, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159953).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An insurer is entitled to void an insurance policy in a dispute seeking commercial crime coverage for a treasurer's embezzlement of close to $500,000 from a volunteer fire department, a Virginia federal judge ruled Nov. 12 (Middleburg Volunteer Fire Department Inc. v. McNeil & Company Inc., et al., No. 1:14-Cv-458, E.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159701).
FRESNO, Calif. - Commercial general liability insurers failed to assert declaratory judgment, breach of contract and equitable reimbursement claims against insureds based upon their alleged breach of a cooperation clause concerning appointment of counsel in an underlying construction defects case, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 10 (Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Co., et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. 14-826, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158649).
VICTORIA, Texas - A commercial general liability insurance policy's professional services exclusion precludes coverage for breach of contract claims against an additional insured arising out of well blowout, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 5 (Nicklos Drilling Co. v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. 14-021, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156585).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A pre-existing damage exclusion in a commercial general liability insurance policy precludes coverage for an insured in an underlying construction defects case, a California appeals panel affirmed Oct. 29 (Bann-Shiang Liza Yu v. American Safety Indemnity Co., No. G048617, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7770).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A commercial general liability insurer is required to continue to defend an additional insured for an underlying construction defects case under the terms of a defense agreement, a North Carolina federal judge ruled Oct. 28 (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. KB Home, et al., No. 13-831, E.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153327).
NEW ORLEANS - Under Texas law, a contractual liability exclusion under a commercial general liability policy does not preclude coverage for an arbitration award entered against an insured regarding property damages sustained by homeowners, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Oct. 29, reversing summary judgment for the insurer, rendering summary judgment for the homeowners and remanding for calculation of legal fees (Doug Crownover and Karen Crownover v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 11-10166, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A commercial image provider has not established that it will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction, a New York federal judge ruled Oct. 16, noting that the image search feature at the heart of a copyright infringement complaint has already been disabled by Microsoft Corp. (Getty Images [US] Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 1:14-cv-07114, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147532).
DOTHAN, Ala. - After finding a lack of federal jurisdiction and that the complete-preemption doctrine does not apply to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), an Alabama federal judge on Oct. 15 found no basis for removal of an action filed in relation to a foreclosure and granted a former property owner's motion to remand the case to state court (The Commercial Bank of Ozark, aka Commercial Bank of Ozark v. Clarissa A. Lampley Pearson, et al., No. 1:14-CV-715, M.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146775).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 14 dismissed commercial general liability insurers' claims for declaratory judgment, breach of contract and equitable reimbursement in their lawsuit over rights by them and their insured in handling an underlying construction defects case (Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. 14-1235, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146456).
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer is not equitably bound under Delaware law to arbitrate a coverage dispute with Chapter 11 debtor The Flintkote Co. because there is no evidence that the insurer "embraced" an arbitration agreement that it was not a signatory to and because the theory of detrimental reliance does not compel the insurer to arbitrate, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Oct. 9 in reversing a federal court ruling (The Flintkote Company v. Aviva PLC, f/k/a Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd., No. 13-4055, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19272).
ST. LOUIS - A disability plan insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to a truck driver who could not maintain a commercial driver's license because he had insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Oct. 7 (Christopher Hampton v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-2782, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19098).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Material misrepresentations in an insurance application absolve a commercial general liability insurer of any duty to defend or indemnify claims arising from an insured's faulty construction work, a Virginia federal judge ruled Oct. 6, also finding that a classification limitation exclusion and mold exclusion apply (Canopius US Insurance Inc. v. Cresco Inc., et al., No. 14-00172, E.D. Va.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A nonprofit group consisting of commercial fishermen and buyers in the San Francisco Bay on Sept. 30 filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PGEC), alleging that the utility company has contaminated soil, groundwater and the bay through its operation of manufactured gas plants (MGPs) (San Francisco Herring Association v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, No. 14-04393, N.D. Calif.).
VALDOSTA, Ga. - A commercial general liability insurer did not have a duty to defend or indemnify an insured for repairs made to alleged defective workmanship, a Georgia federal judge ruled Sept. 26, granting summary judgment to the insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims (Standard Contractors Inc. v. National Trust Insurance Co., No. 14-66, M.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135651).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Without a copy of the disputed commercial general liability insurance policy, a California federal judge on Sept. 19 dismissed additional insureds' counterclaims for breach of contract and bad faith based on an insurer's alleged refusal to cooperate in the defense of an underlying construction defects case (St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. v. Shapell Industries Inc., et al., No. 13-05115, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132934).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 certified questions to the Texas Supreme Court after finding that there is no controlling Texas Supreme Court precedent interpreting the policy terms "physical injury" or "replacement" within common business risk exclusions of commercial general liability insurance policies (U.S. Metals Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., No. 13-20433, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17966).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 18 rejected a commercial general liability insurer's appeal of a lower court's ruling that underlying complaints involving defectively designed or manufactured windows and doors alleged an occurrence under the policy (Indalex Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 126 WAL 2014, Pa. Sup.; 2014 Pa. LEXIS 2411).
BECKLEY, W.Va. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured against an underlying breach of contract claim regarding the insured's alleged failure to excavate a site for the construction of a school, a West Virginia federal judge ruled Sept. 18 (Westfield Insurance Co. v. Carpenter Reclamation Inc., No. 13-12818, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130752).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 19 refused to dismiss a commercial general liability insurer's breach of contract, equitable subrogation and contribution claims against a subcontractor regarding alleged faulty deck waterproofing that resulted in water damage to a residential construction project (Amerisure Insurance Co. v. Southern Waterproofing Inc., No. 14-154, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131765).
NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 17 found that a federal district court erred in concluding that a commercial general liability insurer was entitled to summary judgment based on the absence of evidence as to the bodily injury of a handicapped student, reversing the lower court in part in a coverage dispute arising from a lawsuit against a Mississippi school district (Acadia Insurance Co. v. Hinds County School District, No. 13-60286 consolidated with No. 13-60481, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17879).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An insured's faulty workmanship does not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, an Alabama federal judge ruled Sept. 15, finding that the insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying settlement (FCCI Insurance Co. v. Capstone Process Systems LLC, et al., No. 13-00372, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128589).