PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy's prior publication exclusion precludes coverage for the Navajo Nation's trademark infringement claims against retailer Urban Outfitters (The Hanover Insurance Company v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., et al., No. 14-3705, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18459).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 14 ruled that the current owner of an industrial and commercial property's statute of limitations defense against a counterclaimant's cost recovery claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act is meritless because the current owner was unable to show that the lawsuit is time-barred under the three-year statute for removal actions or the six-year statute for remedial actions (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corp., et al., No. 10-cv-05105, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140047).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 declined review of a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in a securities class action lawsuit challenging the materiality pleading standard for stating claims under federal securities law (United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 880 Pension Fund v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., et al., No. 14-1233, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend an additional insured in an underlying construction defects lawsuit, a Colorado federal judge ruled Sept. 29; however, the judge held that genuine issues of material fact preclude a finding that the insurer had a duty to defend its insured (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co. v. Acadia Insurance Co., No. 14-01273, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132836).
BOSTON - A commercial general liability insurance policy's residential construction work exclusion precludes coverage to an additional insured for underlying lawsuits alleging property damage sustained from negligent supervision that resulted in flooding, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled Sept. 28 (CWC Builders, Inc. v. United Specialty Insurance Co., No. 13-11576, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130335).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An insurer has a duty to defend insureds against breach of contract and fraud claims, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Sept. 23, also certifying questions to the state's high court on whether faulty workmanship resulting in property damage constitutes an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy (Columbia Insurance Group, Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company, Inc. v. Cenark Project Management Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127573).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 23 rejected a "conflicted defense" claim against a commercial general liability insurer, further finding that the policy's Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) exclusion bars coverage for an underlying dispute over the alleged unsolicited transmission of junk fax advertisements (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Steve Stergo, et al., No. 13-5015, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127268).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge held Sept. 17 that an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured's snack trays failed to conform to a contractually specified and required performance standards sounds in breach of contract and fails to allege an "occurrence" pursuant to primary and excess commercial general liability insurance policies, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington, D.C., Plaintiff, v. Tray-Pak Corporation, No. 13-3711, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124192).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Sept. 4 affirmed a lower court's ruling that coverage for insureds' internal water damage caused by heavy rainfall is barred by the commercial insurance policy's water damage exclusion (Chicago Title Land Trust No. 800234943, et al. v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co., No. 1-14-3576, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1996).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 affirmed lower federal court's finding that an underlying complaint against manufacturer insureds fails to allege personal or advertising injury or property damage under commercial general liability insurance policies (Basalite Concrete Products LLC, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, et al., No. 13-16223. 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15826).
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured or additional insureds in underlying construction defects lawsuits because the lawsuits allege property damage to a condominium building itself, which is not covered, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 2 (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Lenny Szarek, Inc., et al., No. 13-7505, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116778).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A commercial umbrella liability insurance policy does not clearly specify that a self-insured retention (SIR) applies to the umbrella provision only and that the $1.5 million SIR applies to the excess provision, a California federal judge ruled Sept. 1, denying partial summary judgment to the insurer (D.R. Horton, Inc. - Sacramento v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, and AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-2155, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117318).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Sept. 2 that a civil rights claim under 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 against a private prison operator insured is barred from coverage under a $1 million commercial general liability policy and a $2 million commercial umbrella liability (CUL) policy, reversing a lower federal court in part (LCS Corrections Services, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 14-40494 c/w No. 14-40587, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15643).
NEW ORLEANS - A commercial general insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying award because the "your work" exclusion bars coverage for damages arising out of the insured's preparation of the soil, the foundation and the house itself, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 27, affirming summary judgment to the insurer on claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (James Feaster, et al. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 15-20074, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15310).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on Aug. 24 denied an insurance company's motion for summary judgment in a suit in which it seeks an order declaring a general commercial policy void ab initio, after finding that an insurance agent's completion of an application containing alleged misrepresentations creates a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant intended to deceive the company (Century Surety Company v. Bassam Nafel, No. 14-101-JWD-RLB, M.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111575).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A commercial general liability insurer violated the terms of a defense agreement in failing to defend an additional insured in a construction defects case, a North Carolina federal judge ruled Aug. 14, finding that the insurer breached its contract (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. KB Home, et al., No. 13-831, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107232).
CINCINNATI - An insured's alleged faulty workmanship is not an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed on Aug. 13, finding that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify (Steel Supply & Engineering Co. v. Illinois National Insurance Co., No. 14-2216, 6th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A commercial general liability insurer had at least a partial duty to defend an insured and an additional insured against allegations arising from breach of quiet enjoyment and demolition in an underlying lawsuit filed by tenants seeking damages for asbestos damages in a construction project, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 12 (Parklyn Bay Company LLC v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp., No. 13-3124, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106231).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 12 declined to dismiss an insured's bad faith for failure to settle and bad faith refusal to indemnify against a commercial liability insurer regarding its duty to indemnify a settlement of an underlying construction defects case (MI Windows & Doors LLC f/k/a MI Windows & Doors Inc. and MI Home Products Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-3139, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106108).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to indemnify its insured for damages caused by its defectively produced shotcrete in the construction of swimming pools, a Connecticut federal judge ruled Aug. 7, finding that the expected or intended injury exclusion injury does not bar coverage (Harleysville Worcester Insurance Co. v. Paramount Concrete, et al., No. 11-578, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104869).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Minimum royalty rates of $500 for commercial and noncommercial webcasting set by the Copyright Royalty Board will stand, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 11, rejecting challenges to the merits of the determination, as well as the makeup of the board (Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Inc. v. Copyright Royalty Board and Librarian of Congress, No. 14-1068, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14015).
SAN FRANCISCO - A majority of the California Supreme Court on Aug. 10 found that a commercial general liability insurer can maintain a direct suit against its insureds' independent counsel for reimbursement of allegedly unreasonable or unnecessary underlying defense costs, reversing an appeals court in part (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. J.R. Marketing, L.L.C., et al., No. S211645, Calif. Sup.; 2015 Cal. LEXIS 5405).