COLUMBUS, OHIO - An Ohio federal judge on March 2 found that underlying product liability lawsuits against Big Lots Stores Inc. constitute separate occurrences under a commercial liability umbrella insurance policy, partly granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Big Lots Stores, Inc. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., No. 14-02635, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29675).
SAN FRANCISCO - Two business risk exclusions found in a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy bar coverage for a construction defects lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 2, affirming summary judgment to an insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims (Archer Western Contractors Ltd. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 15-55648, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3796).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Feb 28 held that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the Order of St. Benedict Inc. against underlying sexual abuse claims against the order's members, finding that primary and excess coverage was barred by the policies' exclusions for injury that was "expected or intended by any protected person" (St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. v. Order of St. Benedict, Inc., No. 15-2617, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28103).
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. - Boston Scientific Corp. on Feb. 23 announced that it has voluntarily recalled all of its Lotus Valve devices, including the Lotus with Depth Guard, from global commercial and clinical sites due to reports of premature release of a pin connecting the valve to its delivery system.
DENVER - A two-year statute of limitations precludes an insured's breach of contract claim against its insurer for denied coverage for property damage to commercial properties, a Colorado federal judge ruled Feb. 13 (The Pinewood Townhome Association Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 15-01604, D. Colo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19999).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel held Feb. 9 that a take-nothing judgment against insureds is proper because a commercial insurer overpaid the actual cash value of Hurricane Ike property damage by more than $1.5 million based on the jury's findings as to actual cash value (Triyar Companies, LLC, et al. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 14-14-00160, Texas. App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1126).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 10 vacated a district court's award of partial judgment on the pleadings entered in favor of an insured seeking coverage for an oil spill after determining that the policy language regarding the insurer's liability to the insured is ambiguous (American Commercial Lines LLC v. Water Quality Insurance Syndicate, Nos. 16-91, 16-119, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2460).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A genuine issue of material fact exists as to the suitability of a roof covering on a homeowner's roof in order to trigger a roofing limitation endorsement in a commercial general liability insurance policy that would preclude coverage for damages, a South Carolina federal judge held Feb. 6 (Williford Roofing Inc. v. Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-01830, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16033).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - On Jan. 31, Yahoo! Inc. sued its commercial general liability (CGL) provider in California federal court, alleging breach of contract and bad faith related to the insurer's decision not to defend or indemnify the internet firm in four class actions alleging privacy violations in certain email-scanning practices (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 5:17-cv-00489, N.D. Calif.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Allegations of an insured's failure to perform do not constitute an "occurrence" triggering coverage under a commercial general liability insurance policy, an Illinois federal judge ruled Jan. 31, agreeing with the insurer that they "are nothing more than claims of disappointed expectations in the performance of a construction contract" (Owners Insurance Co. v. James C. Warren d/b/a Warren Exterior and Remodeling, et al., No. 15-00349, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13171).
FLORENCE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on Jan. 25 ruled that a hazing exclusion precludes commercial general liability insurance coverage for an underlying $1.6 million judgment against the vice president of the local alumni chapter of a fraternity (State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al. v. Admiral Insurance Co., No. 15-2745, D. S.C.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1007).
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).