MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin high court on Dec. 30 affirmed that pollution exclusion clauses in commercial general liability insurance policies relieve the insurers of duties to defend and indemnify the operators of a septic service company for contaminating a water well with nitrates by applying septage as a fertilizer on farmland (Tina L. Preisler, et al v. Kuettel's Septic Service, et al., No. 2012AP2521 [consolidated], Wis. Sup.; 2014 Wisc. LEXIS 955).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to continue to defend or indemnify an insured against a $125,051 default judgment in a negligent construction action, an Alabama federal judge ruled Dec. 29, finding that the insured violated the policy by failing to cooperate with the insurer in the defense (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Premiere Restoration Remodeling Inc., et al., No. 13-01530, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177525).
NEW ORLEANS - The Lanham Act prohibits false commercial speech even when that speech makes scientific claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 22 (Eastman Chemical Company v. Plastipure Inc., et al., No.13-51087, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 24236).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend a construction defects lawsuit arising from an insured's alleged negligent work in a home, a Colorado federal judge ruled Dec. 17, finding that there was no "property damage" and, alternatively, that the "your work" exclusion applied (Cool Sunshine Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-1637, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174818).
ORANGEBURG, S.C. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify assignees for alleged water damage sustained to a science building caused by an insured's work, a South Carolina federal judge ruled Dec. 12, declining to alter or amend her judgment (Evanston Insurance Co. v. R&L Development Corporation LLC, et al., No. 12-02750, D. S.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172615).
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Dec. 11 denied motions for summary judgment between an insurer and an additional insured pending resolution of certified questions to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals regarding the liability a commercial general liability insurer has to its insured for alleged faulty workmanship that led to a road collapse (American Towers LLC v. BPI Inc., et al., No. 12-139, E.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172321).
MISSOULA, Mont. - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend negligence and breach of contract claims arising out of an insured's alleged deficient work, a Montana federal judge ruled Dec. 10 (RQR Development LLC v. Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-118, D. Mont.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171084).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in exercising jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment lawsuit, affirming the lower court's ruling that a hay wagon driver's injury is not covered under a commercial general liability insurance policy because the driver is an "employee" under the policy (Western World Insurance Co. v. Burt Hoey, et al., No. 13-2388, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 23036).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Finding that a commercial general liability insurance policy's employment-related practices exclusion does not bar coverage for an underlying defamation claim against four doctors, a Florida appeals panel on Dec. 5 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Yazan Khatib, et al. v. Old Dominion Insurance Co., et al., No. 1D13-4652, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 19843).
BOSTON - A commercial general liability insurer owed neither an individual nor her corporation a defense under Maine law against alleged defective construction claims from work on a yacht, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 2, affirming in part and reversing in part (Lyman Morse Boatbuilding Inc. and Cabot Lyman v. Northern Assurance Company of America, Nos. 14-1380 & 14-1438, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22649).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 26 denied a new trial and upheld a jury's finding that a judgment in an underlying construction defects lawsuit was not covered under a commercial general liability insurance policy (ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co. RRG v. Valley Corp., formerly known as R.J. Haas Corp., et al., No. 10-05533, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165926).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - Homeowners' allegations of an insured's faulty foundation work for their home do not constitute "property damage" caused by an "occurrence" within the meaning of the policy coverage under a commercial general liability insurance and a commercial liability umbrella policy, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed Nov. 26 (Design Concrete Foundations Inc. f/k/a Design Concrete of Madison County Inc. v. Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Co. a/k/a Erie Insurance Group, No. 5-13-0353, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2684).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - There is a genuine dispute of fact as to whether a self-insured retention (SIR) was satisfied for purposes of coverage for an additional insured in an underlying construction defects action, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 24, denying partial summary judgment to a commercial general liability insurer (Centex Homes v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 13-00998, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164472).
TACOMA, Wash. - Based upon the abstention doctrine, a Washington federal judge on Nov. 24 dismissed a coverage lawsuit filed by two commercial general liability insurers in favor of the underlying action involving the same issues concerning an insured's improper work on a rehabilitation project (The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al. v. Conway Construction Co., et al., No. 14-5646, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164301).
HOUSTON - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying default judgment against an insured because property damage in the form of cracks in a home occurred outside the policy period, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 24, applying the "injury-in-fact" approach (James Feaster, et al. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 13-3220, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164457).
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Nov. 20 denied opposing motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that questions of fact exist as to whether the insurer's claims administrator ever received the plaintiff's claim for underinsured motorist benefits under his employers' commercial insurance policy (Harold Buffington v. Arch Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-78, E.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163596).
LOS ANGELES - A commercial general liability insurance policy's "testing" exclusion does not preclude an insured's defense in an underlying lawsuit arising from water damage from the insured's allegedly failed fire sprinkler, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 19 (Century Surety Co. v. Gene Pira Inc., et al., No. 13-07289, C.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162866).
GREENBELT, Md. - A federal magistrate judge in Maryland recommended Nov. 13 that no default judgment be awarded to a multiemployer health fund in its action seeking to recover overpayments under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act under the equitable theories of unjust enrichment and restitution (Food Employers Labor Relations Association and United Food & Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Fund v. David Dove, No. 8:14-cv-01273, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159773).
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).