ORLANDO, Fla. - Having earlier found that a commercial general liability insurer had no duty to indemnify an insured for a $1.8 million settlement for building code violations, a Florida federal judge on July 16 awarded attorney fees of $32,813.64 to the insurer (Trovillion Construction & Development Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co. and Casa Jardin Condominium Association Inc., No. 12-914, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96561).
NEW ORLEANS - A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 16 affirmed a lower court's decision that the company that owned a tug boat and barge that were responsible for an oil spill in the Mississippi River could not seek indemnification from the companies it contracted with to clean up the spill. Rather, the tug and barge owner was liable to the U.S. government for the payments made from a national oil spill trust fund that were used to cover remediation costs (United States of America v American Commercial Lines LLC v. Environmental Safety & Health Consulting Services Inc., No. 13-30358, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13592).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 found that an excess commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against underlying claims arising from a failed real estate project in Orlando, Fla., after the primary insurer wrongfully denied coverage, reversing and remanding a lower federal court's ruling in part (IMG Worldwide Inc., et al. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., Nos. 13-3832/13-3837, 6th Cir.).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer had a duty to defend an insured in an underlying construction defect lawsuit litigation and, thus, the insurer breached that duty by failing to provide any semblance of a defense, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 11; however, the panel found that the insurer did not have a duty to indemnify the insured for the value of a settlement (J.B.D. Construction Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 13-10138, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13358).
PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurance policy precludes coverage to an insured for damage to installed glass because one of the insured's subcontractors caused the property damage to the glass through improper performance of its work, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 11 (Allegheny Design Management Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Company of America, No. 13-4263, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13190).
ST. LOUIS - Because a supervisory level employee was not a member of an insured's board of directors, he is not an insured under a commercial general liability insurance policy, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 11, affirming a lower federal court's ruling that there is no coverage for an $850,000 default judgment entered against the supervisor (United Fire & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Dennis Thompson, et al., No. 13-2352, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13174).
FRESNO, Calif. - A commercial general liability insurance policy requires that a contractor accused of faulty construction in homes pay a $10,000 self-insured retention (SIR) on a "per-home" basis rather than for each lawsuit, a California federal judge ruled July 8 (Evanston Insurance Co. v. North American Capacity Insurance Co., No. 13-01365, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92682).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on July 7 found that there is no commercial crime coverage for a shipping company's loss of $183,000 caused by the theft of an independent contractor, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Network F.O.B. Inc. v. Great American Insurance Company of New York, No. 13-00500, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91498).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A commercial general liability insurance policy's violation of statutes exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying class action lawsuit alleging that pizza franchise insureds unlawfully sent unsolicited text messages to cellular telephones in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Washington State Consumer Protection Act (WSCPA), a Kentucky federal senior judge ruled July 3, granting the insurers' motion for summary judgment (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, et al. v. Papa John's International, Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-00677-CRS, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90792).
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 27 denied a commercial general liability insurer's motion to vacate two summary judgment orders in a coverage dispute arising from negligence claims against its cemetery insured (QBE Insurance Corporation v. Whispering Pines Cemetery, et al., No. 12-0054-KD-C, S.D. Ala., Southern Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87482).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A commercial general liability insurer did not have a duty to defend its insured in an underlying negligence lawsuit regarding an insured's mechanical services, a New Jersey federal judge ruled June 27; however, the judge found that a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether insurer has a duty to reimburse (Surety Mechanical Services Inc. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-3242, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87665).
NEW ORLEANS - The contractual liability exclusion under a commercial general liability insurance policy precludes coverage for an arbitration award entered against an insured regarding property damages sustained by homeowners, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 27, relying on Texas case law (Doug Crownover and Karen Crownover v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 11-10166, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12158).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - Although a Virgin Islands federal judge on June 26 held that the timing of an expert witness' supplemental reports on damages prejudiced the defendants in an employment discrimination lawsuit, she found that the defendants had "sufficient ability and opportunity to cure the prejudice," leading her to deny in part their motion to exclude the testimony (Jimmy Bethea v. Merchants Commercial Bank, et al., No. 3:11-cv-00051, D. Virgin Islands; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87049).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge on June 23 dismissed a California consumer's class action claims that Wal-Mart Inc. violates the state unfair competition law (UCL) by misrepresenting the benefits of a dietary supplement product after finding that the consumer failed to allege facts establishing a minimum regulatory standard for the supplement (Thamar Santisteban Cortina v. Wal-Mart, Inc., No. 13-2054, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85941).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 25 found that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured's former vice president against allegations that he poached the insured's customers and spread false and damaging information about the insured's products, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Mark A. Hansen v. Sentry Insurance Co., No. 13-1940, 1st Cir.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 24 affirmed a lower court's finding that claims against a dietary supplement manufacturer are subject to a commercial general liability insurance policy's absolute auto exclusion and that the policy's products-completed operations hazard (PCOH) provision does not operate to create an ambiguity considering such a clear exclusion (James River Insurance Co. v. Fortress Systems LLC, et al., No. 13-10564, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11885).
LOS ANGELES - Alleged property damage from an insured's negligent construction occurred during a commercial general liability insurance policy, a California federal judge ruled June 23, denying an insurer's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by homeowners assigned the rights of the insured (Craig McCracken and Lauren Faust v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-03088, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85285).
BOSTON - A commercial general liability insurer's potential liability exposure in a junk fax dispute does not meet the jurisdictional threshold amount of $75,000, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held June 19, vacating and remanding for a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (CE Design Ltd. v. American Economy Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1080, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11577).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 denied an excess insurer's motion to reconsider its finding that an employers liability exclusion in an excess commercial general liability insurance policy does not bar coverage for underlying negligence claims against an insured's employees (Evanston Insurance Co. v. Design Build InterAmerican, Inc., et al., No. 12-15466, 11th Cir.).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A contractual liability exclusion under a commercial general liability insurance policy precludes coverage for claims against an insured for breach of contract stemming from problems with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled June 17 (North Star Mutual Insurance Co. v. Roddy Rose, et al., No. 13-373, E.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82008).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Supreme Court of California on June 12 affirmed an appeals court's finding that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against a patent and trademark infringement lawsuit because the underlying claimant did not allege a claim for disparagement that would have triggered personal and advertising injury coverage (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. Swift Distribution Inc., et al., No. S207172, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 3765).