PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge found that a lower court erred in finding that a commercial umbrella liability insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured against $2.6 million in punitive damages that it paid to settle an underlying wrongful death and survival action, vacating and remanding for an entry of summary judgment in favor of the insured on the breach of contract claim and for reinstatement and further proceedings on the bad faith claim (Bensalem Racing Association, Inc., et al. v. Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 530 EDA 2017, Pa. Super.).
CONCORD, N.H. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured in an underlying breach of contract lawsuit seeking damages only for uncovered defective workmanship, a New Hampshire federal judge ruled Oct. 24 (Patriot Insurance Co. v. Holmes Carpet Center LLC, et al., No. 17-73, D. N.H., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175643).
PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurer did not breach its insurance contract nor did it act in bad faith in denying a claim, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 29 because "deleterious substances" exclusion precluded coverage for grout dust from construction work that led to property damage (Collin R. Ginther v. Preferred Contractors Insurance Company Risk Retention Group LLC, No. 16-686, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161720).
WICHITA, Kan. - An insured seeking coverage for hailstorm damage to two commercial buildings is permitted to amend its complaint to add claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the addition of the claims would not be futile and the insurers will not be prejudiced as a result of the amendment, a Kansas federal judge said Sept. 8 (Flex Financial Holding Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC et al., No. 15-7205, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145349).
PHILADELPHIA - Granting commercial general liability insurers' motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Aug. 31 that underlying construction defects claims against insureds fail to amount to an "occurrence" under the policies and that the "real estate development activities-completed operations" exclusion further bars coverage (Northridge Village LP, et al. v. Travelers Indemnity Co. of Connecticut, et al., No. 15-1947, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140541).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Aug. 3 granted an insured's motion for partial summary judgment by declaring that it is entitled to independent counsel in an underlying trademark infringement lawsuit insofar as the underlying action involves claims for punitive damages, denying a commercial general liability insurer's motion to dismiss the insured's breach of contract suit (Med-Plus, Inc. v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, No. 16-2985, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123553).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on July 20 granted a commercial excess insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking to recover $306,808.46 in post-judgment interest that was awarded against the insured in an underlying product liability dispute (Key Safety Systems, Inc. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-11974, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112837).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal magistrate on June 2 granted a commercial general liability insurer's motion to dismiss Yahoo! Inc.'s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for underlying class action allegations that it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by transmitting unsolicited text messages (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 17-00447, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85200).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on May 10 ruled that remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is warranted because an insured has shown that it may recover against the adjuster for failing to offer a fair settlement on a commercial property insurance claim (Arlington Heights Memorial Post No. 8234 Veterans Of Foreign Wars of the United States, Fort Worth, Texas, v. Covington Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3112, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71125).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify a home inspector against allegations that an insufficient inspection failed to discover defective conditions prior to a home sale, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 17, finding that the inspector's negligence did not cause any covered "property damage" (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Ralph Gage Contracting Inc., et al., No. 16-15442, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6528).
CHICAGO - In an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its commercial general liability insurer, an Illinois federal judge ruled April 11 that the parties failed to provide evidence to clear up genuine issues of material fact regarding whether independent counsel should be appointed for an insured in an underlying construction defects case (DePasquale Steel Erectors Inc. v. Gemini Insurance Co., No. 16-10892, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54917).
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).
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).
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).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
SEATTLE - The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 27 affirmed a district court's award of damages to the owner of a commercial property that was sold to a bank, with the exception of a portion that was granted to a bank in a bankruptcy settlement, finding that a retailer breached the underlying agreement by building another store within a restricted area (Cabela's Wholesale Inc. v. Hawks Prairie Investment LLC, No. 14-35157, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13683).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on July 18 granted three motions in limine filed by an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, precluding an insured from presenting evidence, damages testimony and other testimony to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in conducting an investigation into a claim for coverage under a commercial property insurance policy (JCKP LLC v. Berkley Regional Specialty Insurance Co, et al., No. 14-0117, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93049).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of a commercial property insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith dispute arising from Hurricane Ike damage to the insured's daycare center and warehouse (Steve Quibodeaux and the Kids Safari Inc., d/b/a Wee Care Childcare and Preschool v. Nautilus Insurance Co., No. 15-40567, 5th Cir.).
PITTSBURGH - Under Pennsylvania law, commercial general liability insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify insureds for a negligent performance of contract claim arising out of alleged faulty workmanship, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled June 30 (Peerless Insurance Co. and Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. Manown Builders, et al., No. 15-281, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85261).