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Mealey's Insurance - In Remanded False Claims Act Suit, Discovery Limited To Identified Properties

GULFPORT, Miss. - In a case concerning an insurer's False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties' motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - In Remanded False Claims Act Suit, Discovery Limited To Identified Properties

GULFPORT, Miss. - In a case concerning an insurer's False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties' motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Remands Coverage Dispute Over Hurricane Ike Wind Damage

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on April 7 held that a lower court erred when it disregarded a jury's answer to a question in a Hurricane Ike wind coverage dispute and the appeals court erred when it affirmed the trial court's judgment, reversing the court of appeals' judgment and remanding the case for a new trial (USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Gail Menchaca, No. 14-0721, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 361).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rules On Insurer's Duty To Hurricane Sandy Claims Based On Expert Testimony

TRENTON, N.J. - After finding expert testimony on the scope and value of damages incurred by two supermarkets during Hurricane Sandy to be admissible, a New Jersey federal judge on March 28 granted in part and denied in part summary judgment to an insurer (MD Retail Corp. d/b/a Monmouth Beach Supermarket and MS Retail Corp. d/b/a Sea Bright Supermarket v. AmGuard Insurance Group, No. 14-6589, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44996).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rules On Insurer's Duty To Hurricane Sandy Claims Based On Expert Testimony

TRENTON, N.J. - After finding expert testimony on the scope and value of damages incurred by two supermarkets during Hurricane Sandy to be admissible, a New Jersey federal judge on March 28 granted in part and denied in part summary judgment to an insurer (MD Retail Corp. d/b/a Monmouth Beach Supermarket and MS Retail Corp. d/b/a Sea Bright Supermarket v. AmGuard Insurance Group, No. 14-6589, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44996).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Decision-Making Authority Does Not 'Arise Out Of' Tangible Property Damage

HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 23 found that an insurance policy's property damage exclusion does not bar directors and officers and entity liability coverage for at least two underlying claims against a homeowners association insured stemming from Hurricane Ike damage (The Landing Council of Co-Owners v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-1902, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42087).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Affirms Court's Refusal To Conduct New Appraisal In Wilma Suit

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 22 held that an insured's post-appraisal submission of increased costs in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute is not a legally sufficient basis to reopen the existing appraisal or conduct a new appraisal (Orlando Noa v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 3D16-1367, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3787).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds Failed To Comply With Post-Loss Obligations, Florida Panel Says, Reverses

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 15 reversed a lower court's ruling compelling appraisal against an insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, finding that the insureds failed to comply with their post-loss duties under their insurance policy (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Jose R. Fernandez and Sandra Fernandez, No. 3D16-1441, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2004).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas Panel Finds Take- Nothing Judgment In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit Was Proper

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Louisiana Panel Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hurricane Isaac Dispute

GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Feb. 8 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac damage to a three-story building owned by the insured (Advanced Sleep Center, Inc., et al. v. Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's, London, No. 16-CA-525, La. App., 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Evidence Of Insured's Health Should Have Never Been Introduced

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 8 held that there is a reasonable possibility that the introduction of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence as to an insured's health condition contributed to a jury verdict against an insurer in a dispute over coverage for roof damage caused by Hurricane Wilma, reversing for a new trial (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Dina Figueroa, No. 4D15-2698, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 1548).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Vs. Insured Exclusion Bars Directors, Officers Liability Coverage

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 30 found that a directors and officers liability insurance policy's insured vs. insured exclusion precludes coverage for underlying claims against a condominium association insured and one of its board of directors arising from the installation of hurricane impact windows and doors, granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings (The Marbella Condominium Association, et al. v. RSUI Indemnity Co., No. 16-80987, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12363).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Denies Motion To Rehear Coverage Suit Arising From Hurricane Ike

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court has refused to revisit a judgment in favor of an insured in a coverage dispute over damage caused by Hurricane Ike, according to its orders pronounced list issued Oct. 21 (National Lloyds Insurance Co. v. Latosha A. Lewis, No. 15-0261, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Fraud Suit Against Insurer In Hurricane Charley Dispute

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 4 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss insureds' fraud claims in a dispute arising from roof damage caused by Hurricane Charley (Ida L. Cruz, et al. v. American Security Insurance Co., No. 16-1317, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137548).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds $115,279 Judgment Against Flood Insurer In Hurricane Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 upheld a federal district court's $115,279.33 judgment in favor of a mortgage lender and against a force-placed flood insurer in a dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac damage (Alfred Cotton, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, No. 15-31005, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13962).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Stay Enforcement Of $700,194 Judgment In Hurricane Irene Suit

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on July 7 denied an insurer's motion to stay enforcement of a $700,194 total judgment against it in a Hurricane Irene coverage dispute (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-21, E.D. N.C., Northern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87971).

Mealey's Insurance - 5th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hurricane Ike Coverage Dispute

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - 3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Claims In Hurricane Irene Flood Coverage Dispute

PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that dismissed an insured's breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation claims against its federal flood insurer over its alleged personal property damage caused by Hurricane Irene (Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No. 15-2923, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10894).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Allows Counterclaims To Proceed In Suit Over False Hurricane Katrina Claims

GULFPORT, Miss - A Mississippi federal judge on May 27 denied relators' motion to dismiss an insurer's counterclaims in their qui tam action alleging that the insurer submitted false Hurricane Katrina flood claims to the U.S. government (U.S., ex rel. Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 06-433, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69924).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Denial Of Hurricane Irene Claim Was 'Flagrant Act Of Bad Faith'

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on May 3 held that an insurer committed breach of contract and acted in bad faith when it denied its insureds' Hurricane Irene claim, awarding the insureds $233,398 for their breach of contract claim and treble damages for their unfair and deceptive trade practices claim for a $700,194 total judgment against the insurer (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-21, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59461).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Dismisses Claims In Policy Cancellation Dispute Arising From Hurricane Ike

GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on April 28 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from the insurer's cancellation of a federal flood insurance policy following Hurricane Ike, dismissing with prejudice all claims against the insurer (Robert Spong and Kerry Spong v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 10-228, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56474).

Mealey's Insurance - Loss Of Power Constitutes Single Occurrence, Louisiana Panel Says In Reversal

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel found April 20 that the loss of power to a hospital's cooling system following Hurricane Katrina is a single occurrence under a commercial general liability insurance policy and that an insured is responsible for only one retained limit of $50,000, reversing a lower court's ruling that the insured owed a separate retained limit for each claim related to the power outage (David Thebault v. American Home Assurance Company, et al., No. 2015-CA-0800, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 764).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Faulty Work Triggered Duty To Defend, Federal Judge Concludes

NEW ORLEANS - Allegations of a subcontractor's defective work in the reconstruction of a high school after Hurricane Katrina raise the possibility of an insurer's duty to defend, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 15, denying an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims (Gootee Construction, Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 15-3185, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50911).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Grants Rehearing, Modifies Opinion In Hurricane Wilma Dispute

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on March 23 granted an insurer's motion to rehear an appraisal dispute over Hurricane Wilma damage, modifying its ruling to hold that the notice requirement in Florida Statutes Subsection 627.7015(2) does not ripen until the insurer is on notice that there is a dispute relating to a material fact issue (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4529).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Interpretation Of Deductible Provision Is 'Unreasonable,' Panel Affirms

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 22 upheld an insurer's calculation of an insurance policy deductible by taking 5 percent of the total insurable values of seven oil-and-gas properties damaged by Hurricane Isaac, concluding that the lower court properly relied upon the "ordinary meaning" of the policy term "total insurable values" (Saratoga Resources, Incorporated v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 15-20343, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5237).