LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies State Farm's Motion For New Trial, Orders Insurer To Pay $758,250

GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Feb. 21 denied State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s renewed motion for judgment and, alternatively, for a new trial challenging a jury finding that it defrauded the U.S. government out of $250,000 by submitting a fraudulent Hurricane Katrina flood insurance claim. In a separate order, the judge ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in trebled damages, plus a $8,250 civil penalty (United States of America ex rel. Cori Rigsby and Kerri Rigsby v. State Farm, et al., No. 06-433, S.D. Miss., Southern Div.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Federal Judge Denies Motion For New Trial; Finds No Error In Jury Verdict

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 7 determined that a jury did not err in finding that damages sustained as a result of an oil spill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were sudden and accidental as required by the policy at issue (Cox Operating LLC v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 07-2724, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15455).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Additional Discovery Will Cure Failure To Submit Proper Proof Of Loss

NEW ORLEANS - Finding that no additional discovery will change the fact that an insured failed to submit a complete, sworn proof of loss in support of a supplemental claim for Hurricane Isaac damage, a Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a motion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to dismiss the insured's breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit (Richard H. Clark, Sr., et al. v. FEMA, et al., No. 13-5232, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15871).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Suit Seeking Additional Coverage For Hurricane Damage Was Timely

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 5 found that an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking additional coverage for Hurricane Wilma damage was timely filed and not barred by a Florida five-year statute of limitations, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Angela M. Rizo v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 3D12-3088, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Set Aside Appraisal Award In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 30 denied insureds' motion to set aside an appraisal award in a dispute over coverage for Hurricane Ike damage (United Neurology, et al. v. Hartford Lloyd's Insurance Co., No. 10-4248. S.D. Texas, Houston Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11664).

Mealey's Insurance - Excess Policy Was Not Triggered, Panel Rules, Reverses $1.3M Ruling Against Insurer

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 24 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's $1.3 million judgment against an excess insurer in a Florida property manager's lawsuit seeking excess coverage for Hurricane Wilma damage, finding that Florida's insurable interest statute bars recovery beyond the property manager's revenue stream from the damaged property (Banta Properties Inc. v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co., No. 12-14186, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1419).

Plaintiffs Appeal Ruling In Favor Of United States In Floodwall Breach Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Contending that their claims of flood damage from the Army Corps of Engineers' alleged negligent dredging of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) are not foreclosed, plaintiffs on Jan. 14 appealed a federal district court's ruling in favor of the United States in a Hurricane Katrina dispute (In re: Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation, No. 05-4182, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180464).

Judge: Fact Issues Exist As To Whether Broker, Insured Had A 'Special Relationship'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge found Jan. 13 that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether a "special relationship" existed between an insurance broker and a condominium association insured, denying the broker's renewed motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit arising from damage caused by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne (Tiara Condominium Association Inc. v. Marsh USA Inc., No. 08-80254, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3677).

Federal Magistrate Judge Rules In Favor Of Insurer In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Jan. 9 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Ike damage, dismissing all claims against the insurer with prejudice (Christina Melinder v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., et al., No. G-10-516, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2596).

Magistrate Judge Enters Final Judgment In Favor Of Insurer In Hurricane Ike Suit

GALVESTON, Texas - A federal magistrate judge on Jan. 7 entered final judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer in a coverage dispute over Hurricane Ike damage, finding that the insured violated the policy by swearing to false statements in the proof of loss (Peter Charnock v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. G-10-cv-450, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1491).

Insurer's Reformation Of 2 Policies Was Mandated By Federal Law, Judge Rules

TRENTON - An insurer's reformation of two of a condominium association insured's four Standard Flood Insurance Policies (SFIPs) was mandated by federal law, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Dec. 4, dismissing with prejudice the insured's breach of contract claim based on those two policies (The Residences at Bay Point Condominium Association Inc. v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-02380 (FLW)(LHG), D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170811).

Federal Judge: Claims Not Properly Joined In Superstorm Sandy Coverage Dispute

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Dec. 3 found that plaintiffs' breach of contract claims are not properly joined in a lawsuit seeking federal flood coverage for damage caused by Superstorm Sandy (Linda Salle, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13 CV 6020 (SJF)(GRB), E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171026).

Panel: Excess Insurer Has Duty To Defend Against Inverse Condemnation Claims

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 6 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an excess public entity insurer has a duty to defend its state parish government insured against damages it allegedly caused in condemning and demolishing properties deemed unsafe after Hurricane Katrina (Lexington Insurance Co. v. St. Bernard Parish Government, No. 13-30300, 5th Cir.).

Panel: Policy Rescission Does Not Moot Negligence Claims Against Insurance Agents

TRENTON, N.J. - The rescission of an insurance policy does not render moot an insured's claims for indemnification and professional negligence against insurance agents regarding denied coverage for hurricane damage, a New Jersey appeals panel held Nov. 20 (Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London subscribing to policy number BUY1780 v. Cleopatra LLC d/b/a Eden ROC Motel and Affifa Michael v. KK Insurance Agency Inc. and Kiran M. Sondhi, No. A-1312-12T3, N.J. Super. App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2797).

Mississippi High Court Finds Burden Shifting Erroneous In Insurance Dispute

JACKSON, Miss. - A trial court correctly admitted expert testimony that wind from Hurricane Katrina damaged a couple's roof structure, but it wrongly shifted the burden of proof for other damage to the property owners, the Mississippi Supreme Court held Nov. 7 in reversing a directed verdict for the insurer on coverage (Jack and Margaret Ann Hoover v. United Services Automobile Association, No. 2011-CA-01486-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2013 Miss. LEXIS 578).

Louisiana Panel Finds Insurer Satisfied Judgment In Full In Hurricane Rita Suit

LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Nov. 6 reversed a lower court's ruling rejecting an insurer's request to have a judgment against it in a Hurricane Rita coverage dispute declared as satisfied, further reversing the lower court's judgment ordering the insurer to pay $36,853.86 to the insured or suffer an interest penalty (Clarence M. Leland, et al. v. Lafayette Insurance Co., No. 13-476, La. App., 3rd Cir.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 22892013 La. App. LEXIS 2289).

Judge: Fact Issues Preclude Summary Judgment In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Suit

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 7 found that fact issues preclude a summary judgment ruling in favor of an insured in a dispute over building coverage for flood damage caused by Hurricane Isaac (Lisa Hillard v. Bankers Specialty Insurance Co., No. 13-200, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159674).

Mississippi High Court: Church's Motion For New Trial Tolled Statute Of Limitations

JACKSON, Miss. - A church insured's July 8, 2009, motion to set aside judgment or, in the alternative, for a new trial in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute tolled the statute of limitations on the underlying breach of contract claim; therefore, the trial court erred in dismissing the insured's second complaint against its insurer, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Oct. 31 (Sweet Valley Missionary Baptist Church v. Alfa Insurance Corp., et al., No. 2010-CT-01807-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2013 Miss. LEXIS 574).

Sale Of Unrepaired Property Did Not Extinguish Insurance Claims, 7th Circuit Says

CHICAGO - The sale of a hurricane-damaged apartment complex "in its unrepaired state did not extinguish $(the policyholder's$) right to recover on $(its$) mature claim," a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 25, reviving the policyholder's breach of contract and bad faith claims against its excess insurer (Edgewood Manor Apartment Homes LLC, et al. v. RSUI Indemnity Co., No. 12-1480 and 12-1508, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21939).

Panel Remands For Court To Determine General Contractor Overhead Expense Issue

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 23 reversed and remanded a hurricane coverage dispute for a trial court to decide whether homeowners were reasonably likely to incur general contractor overhead and profit expenses as part of their damages (Ronald Juvonen, et al. v. United Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 4D12-230, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 16775).

Louisiana Federal Judge Remands Class Suit Over Hurricane Outages

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 21 remanded a class suit over power outages caused by a hurricane to state court and partially excluded evidence from the class's expert (Courtney Payton, et al. v. Entergy Corporation, et al., No. 12-2452, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150824).

Texas Panel Affirms Take-Nothing Judgment Against Insurer In Hurricane Ike Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 8 affirmed a lower court's take-nothing judgment against an insurer in an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from Hurricane Ike (Shafaii Children's Trust and Party and Reception Center Inc. v. West American Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-12-00447-CV, Texas App; 14th Dist.; 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 12461).

Magistrate: Damages Are Attributable To Reliance On Agent's Alleged Misconduct

GALVESTON, Texas - Insureds' damages are permanent and directly attributable to their reliance on the purported misconduct of the U.S. government's fiscal agent, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Oct. 8, denying a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute involving Hurricane Ike damage (Robert Spong, et al. v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Ins. Co., et al., No. G-10-228, S.D. Texas, Galveston Div.; 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87330; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145222).

Majority Of Louisiana High Court Refuses To Hear Appeal Of Katrina Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Fourth Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal's ruling in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute, according to a news release issued Oct. 2 (Orleans Parish School Board v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 2013-C-2205, La. Sup.).

Magistrate Judge: Proof Of Loss For Additional Hurricane Ike Damage Was Untimely

GALVESTON, Texas - An insured failed to timely submit a proof of loss for additional benefits over Hurricane Ike damage, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Sept. 27, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Paula Fiedler v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. G-11-025, S.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139113).