NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an insurer failed to provide sufficient notice that it was canceling a commercial property insurance policy, further affirming that the insurer had an arguable basis for its decision to deny coverage for the alleged $2.6 million tornado damage to a church building (GuideOne Elite Insurance Co., et al. v. Mount Carmel Ministries, et al., No. 15-60915, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1147).
PHILADELPHIA - Faulty workmanship claims do not constitute "accidents" or "occurrences" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Jan. 23, finding that an insurer has no duty to defend its insured (Quality Stone Veneer Inc. v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-6509, E.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9393).
ATLANTA - The "damage to your work" exclusion relieves a commercial general liability insurer from any duty to defend an insured in a construction defects lawsuit, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 23, because the allegations relate only to the structure of the property itself, which the insurer and insured agreed is excluded (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Elite Homes Inc., No. 16-10996-AA, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1132).
BALTIMORE - Finding similarities with a declaratory judgment action filed by subcontractors' commercial general liability insurers, a Maryland federal judge on Jan. 20 dismissed a case involving a contractor's insurers over the same duties to defend allegations of excessive radon asserted in two underlying putative class actions (Evanston Insurance Co., et al. v. Dan Ryan Builders Inc., No. 15-3419, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8320).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The majority of the South Carolina Supreme Court on Jan. 11 affirmed a special referee's finding that coverage under commercial general liability insurance policies was triggered and calculation of an insurer's pro rata portion of the progressive damages based on its time on the risk (Harleysville Group Insurance v. Heritage Communities Inc., et al., No. 2013-001281 & 2013-001291, S.C. Sup.; 2017 S.C. LEXIS 8).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 11 advertised in the Federal Register a proposed rule to prohibit the manufacture, import, processing and distribution of trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile organic compound used in industrial and commercial processes, due to "unreasonable risks" to health.
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurance policy does not cover a roofing subcontractor over faulty work claims that resulted in more than $6.6 million in damages to townhomes, an insurer says in its Jan. 4 complaint to an Illinois federal court (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Classic Roofing Inc. and Custom Roofing Contracting Ltd., No. 17-45, N.D. Ill.).
DENVER - A commercial property insurer's voluntary payment of an appraisal award and the insured's acceptance of the payment settled any dispute over the amount of storm loss to the insured's property, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 4, affirming a lower court's decision to vacate an order confirming the appraisal award and a judgment in favor of the insured (In re: Appointment of Umpire for Hayes Family Trust, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Clayton A. Hayes, cotrustee v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 15-6164, 10th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 81).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend or indemnify Target Corp. as an additional insured against an underlying lawsuit brought by a customer who was injured when a fitting room door fell on her (Selective Insurance Company Of South Carolina v. Target Corp., No. 16-1669, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23370).
HOUSTON - Fees awarded under Section 82.002(g) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code are not "damages" covered by a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Texas federal judge ruled Dec. 30, finding that the ruling in Hollybrook Cottonseed Processing, L.L.C. v. Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co. (772 F.3d 1031 [5th Cir. 2014]) does not affect that conclusion (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Petroleum Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 09-0422, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180539).
HONOLULU - Claims based in contract do not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Hawaii federal judge ruled Dec. 16, dismissing counterclaims for breach of contract and reformation against two insurers in a coverage dispute over defects in a construction project (American Automobile Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. v. Hawaii Nut & Bolt Inc. and Safeway Inc., No. 15-00245, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174243).
JONESBORO, Ark. - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions, an Arkansas federal judge concluded Nov. 28 that there is a genuine factual dispute concerning whether a professional services exclusion was included in a commercial general liability insurance policy when an underlying injury occurred at a day care (Penn-Star Insurance Co. v. New Edition Early Learning Academy, et al., No. 15-104, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163196).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Property owners' fraud claim is not a covered "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy because they allege intentional intent by an insured contractor, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Nov. 18, also upholding a previous decision that the insurer had a duty to defend a breach of contract claim (Columbia Insurance Group Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company Inc. v. Arkansas Infrastructure Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160151).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Damages for defective workmanship that resulted in damages only to an insured general contractor's work product itself does not constitute property damage caused by an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Nov. 18, granting summary judgment to the insurer on its duty to defend and indemnify two underlying construction defects cases (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Hambuchen Construction Inc., et al., No. 16-0005, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160364).
ATLANTA - A Georgia appeals panel on Nov. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to reform a commercial insurance policy to identify the proper insured in a wrongful death coverage dispute because of a mutual mistake made by the applicant and the insurer (Occidental Fire and Casualty of North Carolina v. Goodman, et al., Nos. A16A1372 and A16A1373, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2016 Ga. App. LEXIS 639).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Nov. 4 denied a man's motion to vacate a 120-month sentence for selling fraudulent commercial insurance policies to business and property owners, ruling that the defendant failed to show that his counsel acted ineffectively by not negotiating a plea agreement in response to a blind plea offer (United States of America v. Michael A. Ward, No. 15-cv-3910, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152989).
DENVER - Having defended a developer in arbitration proceedings related to construction defects claims, a commercial general liability insurer is obligated to pay its portion of an award for taxable costs issued against the developer and a contractor, a Colorado appeals panel ruled Nov. 3, affirming partial summary judgment to the contractor (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Casson Duncan Construction Inc., No. 2016COA164, Colo. App.; 2016 Colo. App. LEXIS 1545).
TULSA, Okla. - Insureds' negligence claim arising out of damages from a wall collapse are not barred because even if there is a contractual relationship between the insureds and a contractor, the insureds did not assume risk of loss for the collapse of a wall due to the wall's allegedly negligent construction, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled Nov. 2 (Lexington Insurance Co., et al. v. Newbern Fabricating Inc. and Baucom Concrete Construction Inc. v. Doveland Engineering Co. and Baucom Concrete Construction Inc. v. Commercial Metals Co., No. 14-0610, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151857).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Oct. 27 agreed with a plaintiff that counterclaims of antitrust violations and commercial disparagement by a trademark infringement defendant are ripe for dismissal (Dentsply International Inc. v. Dental Brands for Less d/b/a Dental Wholesale Direct, No. 15-8775, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149139).
HONOLULU - An insured has failed to show that insurers acted in bad faith in failing to pay the entire amount of a settlement in a patent infringement lawsuit pursuant to the terms of a commercial liability insurance policy, a federal judge in Hawaii ruled Oct. 21 in dismissing the insured's insurance bad faith counterclaim (The Hanover Insurance Co., et al v. Anova Food LLC, No. 14-0281, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146114).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 24 granted a motion for summary judgment finding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) did not apply to an underlying loan and remanded various causes of action to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Anthony Floyd v. PNC Mortgage, a division of PNC Bank, N.A., et al., No. 14-2190, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146679).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Oct. 17 denied a commercial property's insurer motion to intervene in a copyright infringement dispute, finding that the insurer lacks a substantial interest in the case and that the insurance action would not share questions of law or fact with the copyright lawsuit (Design Basics LLC v. A.J. Bokar Building Company Inc. d/b/a Willow Wood Homes, No. 16-669, N.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143464).