LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Extracontractual Claims Not Authorized By National Flood Insurance Act

NEW ORLEANS - An insured has failed to submit a timely signed and sworn proof of loss of her Hurricane Isaac damage and the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) does not authorize her extracontractual claims against her insurer, a Louisiana federal judge ruled June 3, dismissing the coverage lawsuit (Janina Howell-Douglas v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 13-5578, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75469).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Hurricane Irene Fraud Suit To New York Court

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on May 29 denied an insured's motion to remand a fraud lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irene to state court, finding that federal jurisdiction is proper because federal funds are at stake (Edward Marzocchi v. Selective Insurance Company of New York, No. CV 14-1026, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74086).

Mealey's Insurance - Proof Of Loss Is Valid, Federal Judge Rules In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - The simple fact that insureds submitted a proof of loss that referenced their policy limits but did not provide a specific amount does not render the proof of loss invalid under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP), a Louisiana federal judge ruled May 22, noting that the proof of loss was further supplemented by a detailed, specific estimate (Ronnie Smith, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 13-5684 SECTION "L" $(4$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70371).

Mealey's Insurance - County's Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Damages Suit Dismissed As Duplicative

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Finding that a New York county's bad faith claim against its insurer was "inherently tied to [its] breach of contract claim" and based on the insurer's same alleged failure to perform contractual duties, a New York federal judge on May 14 dismissed the bad faith claim as duplicative (County of Orange v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 7:13-cv-06790, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66451).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Facts Issues Exist As To Extent Of Insureds' Compliance With Policy

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a question of fact remains regarding whether insureds sufficiently complied with a policy's cooperation provisions, a Florida appeals panel on May 14 reversed a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (Roberto Solano, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 4D12-1198, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 7105).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Denies Attorney Fees In Award Against Florida Insurance Guaranty Association

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) did not affirmatively deny homeowners' claim for hurricane damage, a Florida appeals panel held May 8, affirming the denial of attorney fees to the homeowners following a successful appraisal award for coverage under an insolvent insurance policy (Marcline Alexis, et al. v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 4D13-1080, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 6839).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fact Issue Exists As To Whether Actual Cash Value Of Damage Was Underpaid

NEW ORLEANS - Insureds have supplied testimony and evidence that establish that there is at least a fact issue regarding whether a federal flood insurer underpaid them for the actual cash value of the damaged part of their house in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, a Louisiana federal judge ruled May 5, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Diane P. Stevens, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-5102 SECTION "L" $(4$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61957).

Mealey's Insurance - N.J. Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Claims In Hurricane Floyd Coverage Dispute

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of breach of contract, third-party beneficiary insurance and negligence claims in a lawsuit arising from Hurricane Floyd damage (Thomas and Cheryl Koziol Inc. v. LaSalle National Bank $(as Trustee$); GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., et al., No. A-0849-12T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 949).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Grants Partial Dismissal In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 25 granted a motion by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking to dismiss an insured's claims for declaratory relief on extracontractual damages in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute (Pearl Gloston v. Department Of Homeland Security, et al., No. 13-6471 SECTION "F," E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57940).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Coverage For Removal Of Debris Deposited Outside Exterior Perimeter Walls

TRENTON, N.J. - There is no coverage under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for the removal of debris deposited outside the exterior perimeter walls of New Jersey insureds' building/structure, a federal judge ruled April 24, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Hurricane Sandy lawsuit (Michael S. Torre, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-6665, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57133).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Sandy Case As Redundant

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Because the plaintiffs in a Hurricane Sandy coverage dispute failed to "present an independent factual predicate" for their bad faith claim, a New York federal judge on April 22 dismissed the claim as redundant of their breach of contract claim against their insurer (433 Main Street Realty LLC, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Co., No. 1:14-cv-00587, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55940).

Mealey's Insurance - Inconclusive Evidence Prevents Summary Judgment On Bad Faith Claim, Judge Says

NEW ORLEANS - Although an insurer's compliance with an appraisal award defeated a breach of contract claim against it in a dispute over hurricane damages, a Louisiana federal judge on April 16 declined to grant the insurer summary judgment on an accompanying bad faith claim, holding that further discovery on the insurer's pre-lawsuit actions was necessary to make such a determination (Martin Radosta v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 2:13-cv-04441, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52644).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Lets Building Damages Claim Proceed In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - Insureds' proof-of-loss forms coupled with a public adjuster's estimate of their building damage caused by Hurricane Isaac constitute a complete proof of loss that complies with their federal flood insurance policy, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 15, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment in part (Alice Young, et al. v. Imperial Fire & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 13-5246 SECTION: "S" $(5$), E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51863).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Fact Issue As To 4th Proof Of Loss Precludes Summary Judgment Ruling

NEW ORLEANS - There are factual disputes as to the existence, transmission, receipt and sufficiency of a fourth proof of loss seeking additional coverage for Hurricane Isaac damage, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14, denying a motion for summary judgment filed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit (Ivory Burks v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 13-6490 SECTION "E", E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51220).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Fails To File 3rd Proof Of Loss; Hurricane Isaac Suit Barred, Judge Rules

NEW ORLEANS - An insured's failure to submit a third proof of loss claiming any additional amounts owed for Hurricane Isaac damage prevents her from bringing a lawsuit against Federal Emergency Management Agency, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14 (Edna Barnes v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5490 SECTION "E", E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51218).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Negligent Procurement Of Insurance Claim Against Agent

NEW ORLEANS - An insurance agent did not have a duty to properly advise homeowners of the correct amount of insurance coverage needed, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 14, dismissing the claim for negligent procurement of insurance against the agent in a hurricane coverage dispute (Gale Hernandez, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5783, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51221).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses In Hurricane Wilma Suit, Orders Court To Award Insurer Attorney Fees

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a lower court applied the wrong standard for determining whether a homeowners insurer was owed attorney fees in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on April 9 reversed and remanded for the lower court to grant the insurer the right to attorney fees and decide the amount to be awarded (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Magdiel Perez, No. 4D12-1412, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 5153).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Bad Faith Claim In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 7 granted in part and denied in part a homeowners insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Hurricane Isaac coverage suit, finding that the insureds failed to point to specific evidence establishing the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact regarding their bad faith claim (Gary J. Muth, Sr., et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-5070, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47765).

Mealey's Insurance - N.Y. Justice Lets Declaratory Judgment Claim Proceed In Hurricane Sandy Dispute

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York justice on April 3 denied insurers' motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment claim brought by car dealership insureds in a Hurricane Sandy coverage dispute but granted the insurers' motion to dismiss the insureds' claims for bad faith, unfair claim settlement practices, punitive damages and attorney fees (Kings Infiniti Inc., et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., et al., No. 501914/2013, N.Y. Sup., Kings Co.; 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1480).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Orders Appraisal For Hurricane Coverage From An Insolvent Insurance Company

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 2 affirmed a trial judge's order that an appraisal panel should determine the amount of loss under an insolvent insurance company's policy sustained by an insured for ordinance or law coverage regarding reconstruction following Hurricane Wilma (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Coral Palms Village Homeowner's Association Inc., No. 4D13-856, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 4737).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - General Rule Regarding Federal Jurisdiction Controls, 5th Circuit Rules, Reverses

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 found that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) continues to provide jurisdiction over 58 subrogation lawsuits arising from hurricanes Katrina and Rita notwithstanding their severance from the class, reversing a federal court's ruling that remanded the lawsuits to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (State of Louisiana v. American National Property & Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 14- 30071 consolidated with No. 14-30072, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5577).

Mealey's Insurance - Nominal Offers 'Not Necessarily Indicative Of Bad Faith,' Panel Says, Reverses

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 26 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling refusing to award reasonable attorney fees and costs to an insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith (State Farm Insurance Co. v. Hermina and Oscar Reyes, No. 3D12-2838, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 4410).

Mealey's Insurance - General Rule Regarding Federal Jurisdiction Controls, 5th Circuit Rules, Reverses

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 found that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) continues to provide jurisdiction over 58 subrogation lawsuits arising from hurricanes Katrina and Rita notwithstanding their severance from the class, reversing a federal court's ruling that remanded the lawsuits to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (State of Louisiana v. American National Property & Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 14- 30071 consolidated with No. 14-30072, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5577).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Claims Against Insurer In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Finding that insureds failed to submit the required sworn proof of loss (POL) for their Hurricane Isaac claim, a Louisiana federal judge granted the federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment on March 10 and dismissed bad faith and negligence claims against the insurer (Karon Morin, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, et al., No. 13-5972, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31341).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Failed To Submit Timely Proof Of Loss For Supplemental Claim

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Insureds have failed to provide a timely proof of loss for their $204,000 additional claim for damage to the foundation and floor system of their premises that sustained flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene, a New York federal judge ruled March 6, granting a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment (Christine Zuk, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 12-CV-4186 $(SJF$)$(AKT$), E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30005).