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).
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).
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).
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).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Insured contractors breached their insurance contract with their commercial general liability insurer when they declined the insurer's selection of counsel to represent them in an underlying strict product liability lawsuit against an additional insured subcontractor, a California federal jury found July 2 (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Kaufman & Broad Monterey Bay Inc., et al., No. 13-04745, N.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX - An Arizona appeals panel held June 30 that a jury's final verdict that awarded $1,134,442 in damages to a commercial diving services company on its breach of contract and negligence claims against its insurance broker was excessive and not justified by the evidence on record, vacating the award and remanding for a new trial on the issue of damages (Deepwater Divers Inc. v. Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc., No. 1 CA-CV 13-0518, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2015 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 862).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to indemnify an underlying breach of contract jury verdict entered against an insured regarding roof replacement work that allegedly caused leaking because the conduct was accidental, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 10, finding that a "contractual liability" exclusion does not apply (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. St. Catherine of Siena Parish and Kiker Corp., No. 14-12151, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9659).
RICHMOND, Va. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured against a breach of contract claim regarding the insured's alleged failure to excavate a site for the construction of a school, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 9 (Westfield Insurance Co. v. Carpenter Reclamation Inc. and The Board of Education of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, No. 14-2027, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9600).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured against a $700,000 judgment awarded to homeowners for the insured's alleged breach of contract and breach of implied warranty with regard to the construction of their home, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 7 (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Howard Snider, et al., No. 14-10906, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5550).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - Allegations of an insured's defective workmanship do not constitute an "occurrence" triggering a commercial general liability insurer's duty to defend or indemnify, a Delaware judge ruled March 30 (Westfield Insurance Company Inc. v. Miranda & Hardt Contracting and Building Services LLC, No. N14C-06-214 ALR, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 160).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on March 2 held that an insured's claim for $106,000 in Halloween merchandise is not "covered property" under a commercial insurance policy, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment on the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Crazy Willy's Inc. v. Valley Forge Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-cv-03154, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25494).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge applied Alabama law on Feb. 20 to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims 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 20544).
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 17 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had "reasonable justification" for denying coverage and canceling the insured's commercial homeowners insurance policy after a fire (Dion Ross v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 13-401, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18707).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Claims for breach of contract, breach of warranty and negligence against an insured encompass some acts that are not excluded from coverage under the professional services exclusion in a commercial general liability insurance policy, a South Dakota federal judge ruled Feb. 13, finding that material issues of fact remain with regard to resolution of the insurer's duty to indemnify (General Casualty Company of Wisconsin v. Nelson Engineering Consulting LLC, No. 13-4075, D. S.D.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17705).
ELGIN, Ill. - An indemnity agreement in a bill of lading was not an insured contract under a commercial general liability insurance policy, an Illinois appeals panel held Feb. 9, reversing a judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insured (Bituminous Casualty Corp. v. Plano Molding Co., No. 12-MR-175, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 214).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer failed to assert third-party claims breach of contract and negligence against insureds in a subrogation action regarding settlement of an underlying construction defects case, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 29 (AIG Commercial Insurance Company of Canada v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-02610, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11386).
BALTIMORE - A commercial general liability insurer has a partial duty to reimburse repair costs for cracking damage to two buildings, a Maryland federal judge ruled Jan. 13, also dismissing counterclaims for breach of contract, negligence and bad faith (American Home Assurance Co. v. KBE Building Corp., No. 13-1941, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4076).
NEW ORLEANS - A competitor's underlying claims against an insured for fraud, unfair trade practices, antitrust violations and intentional interference with a contract fail to trigger personal and advertising injury coverage under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Jan. 8, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. Audiology LLC, No. 13-5216, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2170).
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).
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).
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).
VICTORIA, Texas - A commercial general liability insurance policy's professional services exclusion precludes coverage for breach of contract claims against an additional insured arising out of well blowout, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 5 (Nicklos Drilling Co. v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. 14-021, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156585).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 14 dismissed commercial general liability insurers' claims for declaratory judgment, breach of contract and equitable reimbursement in their lawsuit over rights by them and their insured in handling an underlying construction defects case (Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. 14-1235, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146456).
VALDOSTA, Ga. - A commercial general liability insurer did not have a duty to defend or indemnify an insured for repairs made to alleged defective workmanship, a Georgia federal judge ruled Sept. 26, granting summary judgment to the insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims (Standard Contractors Inc. v. National Trust Insurance Co., No. 14-66, M.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135651).