COLUMBIA, S.C. - Because an insured failed to first preserve her claims against an underinsured motorist (UIM) before filing her insurance breach of contract and bad faith claims, those claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled Sept. 27 (Jodi A. Whitehead v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of America, No. 15-4200, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131957).
DES MOINES, Iowa - A one-year contractual limitations period does not bar insureds' bad faith claim against their insurer, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 28, because the insureds were entitled to file a separate action after an arbitration hearing and had no knowledge that the denial of their claim was premised upon an alleged "secret" policy until the arbitration hearing (Thomas Schlapkohl and Lana Schlapkohl v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1612, Iowa App.; 2016 Iowa App. LEXIS 1007).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 27 denied a disability plan participant's petition for writ of mandamus directing a Missouri federal judge to disregard the plan's forum-selection clause and transfer her case to Arizona, where she has lived and worked for more than a decade (In re Lorna Clause, No. 16-2607, 8th Cir.).
SEATTLE - Because it is not clear if a dishwasher leak was the efficient proximate cause of more than $5,000 in mold damage, a Washington federal judge on Sept. 26 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by insureds seeking coverage for mold damage within their home (R.W. and R.J.T., v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-465, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131586).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Concluding that the owner of a Brooklyn shopping center failed to file a timely proof of Superstorm Sandy loss, a New York federal magistrate judge on Sept. 28 recommended that the insurer's motion for summary judgment be granted in a coverage dispute arising from the storm (2027, LLC v. Aspen American Insurance Co., No. 14-6751, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181604).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 27 held that an underlying cross-complaint against an insured does not give rise to a potential claim for slander, libel or disparagement and, therefore, fails to trigger an insurer's duty to defend under an insurance policy's "personal and advertising injury" provision (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Access Medical, LLC, et al., No. 15-00321, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132300).
DULUTH, Minn. - Finding that the complexity and the preliminary nature of underlying defective product lawsuits weigh in favor of temporarily staying an insurance coverage dispute, a Minnesota federal judge on Sept. 26 granted the insured's motion to stay the insurer's declaratory judgment suit (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh v. Viracon, Inc., No. 16-482, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131732).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 27 approved the recommendation of a liquidator of an insolvent insurer regarding $8,159,577.46 in directors and officers, professional and general liability claims (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge on Sept. 26 signed off on a coverage dispute stemming from underlying sexual abuse claims against now-convicted former Penn State coach Gerald Sandusky after Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and its insurer announced that they reached a settlement (The Pennsylvania State University, et al. v. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., Nos. 04126, 03195 and 03197, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
OWENSBORO, Ky. - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in terminating a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the evidence shows that the claimant was not totally disabled and was able to perform other occupations, a Kentucky federal judge said Sept. 26 (Sabrina Austin-Conrad v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 14-127, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131047).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 26 granted an insured's motion for summary judgment in an asbestos liability coverage suit after determining that an excess insurer cannot use its policy's prior insurance and noncumulation of liability clause to reduce any amount of any payments made to the insured for the underlying liabilities (New England Reinsurance Corp. v. Ferguson Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 12-948, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132863).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 26 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had no duty to defend its insureds in an underlying lawsuit because the claims were barred by a policy exclusion (Sunrise Specialty Co. Inc., et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 16-1461, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131664).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Sept. 26 granted a motion in limine filed by the government seeking to preclude defendants accused of health care fraud from introducing evidence related to good acts, holding that under Fifth Circuit case law, the evidence is irrelevant (United States of America .v Lisa Crinel, et al., No 15-61 Section "E," E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131263).
MOBILE, Ala. - An insurer has no duty to pay a state court default judgment against insureds because the insureds failed to provide timely notice of the underlying defective construction lawsuit, an Alabama federal judge ruled Sept. 26 (Landmark American Insurance Co. v. White-Spunner Construction Inc., et al., No. 16-00032, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131013).
CHICAGO - A disability insurer is not entitled to recoup $40,000 in attorney fees because the disability claimant's arguments were reasonable and not so lacking in merit as to justify an award of attorney fees, an Illinois federal judge said Sept. 27 (Donna Geiger v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-3791, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131807).
INDIANAPOLIS - Relying on a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision, an Indiana federal judge on Sept. 26 denied a disability claimant's motion to apply a de novo standard of review after determining that the plan proved that its failure to comply with the claims-procedure regulation was harmless to the claimant (Donald Fessenden v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-370, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131226).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 27 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a directors and officers liability insurer has no duty to defend executives against an underlying lawsuit alleging that they misrepresented their company's financial status to secure $48.5 million in bank loans (Markel American Insurance Co. v. Huibert Verbeek, et al., No. 15-51099, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17563).
CHICAGO - Illinois law permits an insurer seeking declaratory judgment as to its coverage obligations to conduct discovery for evidence outside the underlying complaints as to whether a claimant qualifies as an insured, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 22, reversing a trial court's judgment in favor of the claimant (Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Peter Hilger, No. 15-2566, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17343).
NEW YORK - The assignee of certain reinsurance recoverables of an insolvent insurer told a federal court in Illinois on Sept. 22 that it is appealing to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals the court's holding that the assignee had not shown that leave to amend its complaint should be granted after a motion for summary judgment had been decided (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Banco De Seguros Del Estado, No. 12-cv-06357, N.D. Ill.).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge held Sept. 23 that all claims in an underlying class action complaint alleging that an insured violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) fall under a TCPA policy exclusion, granting two insurers' motions for summary judgment (Regent Insurance Co., et al. v. Integrated Pain Management, S.C., et al., No. 14-1759, E.D. Mo., Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130291).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Because sewage is not considered a pollutant under Alabama law, a pollution exclusion cannot be asserted as a bar to coverage for two underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from sewage exposure, an Alabama federal judge said Sept. 22 (Evanston Insurance Co. v. J&J Cable Construction LLC, et al., No. 15-506, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129371).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 22 denied an insurer's motion for interlocutory appeal on the issue of allocation in an asbestos coverage case after determining that an appeal would serve only to delay and not advance the case (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Fairbanks Co., Nos. 13-3755, 15-1141, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - No coverage is afforded for water and mold damages that occurred within a vacation home because the insureds did not have a water shut-off valve to turn off the home's main water supply while the home was unoccupied, a District of Columbia federal judge said Sept. 26, noting that the policy required the home's main water supply to be shut off while the home was unoccupied (Vasilli Katopothis, et al. v. Windsor-Mount Joy Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-380, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130907).
TYLER, Texas - A doctor who was recently resentenced to 135 months in prison for submitting false claims to Medicare and Medicaid was ordered by a federal judge in Texas on Sept. 26 to pay $1.3 million to the government for violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) (United States of America v. Tariq Mahmood, No. 15-cv-948, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141158).
TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Sept. 22 denied an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment after determining that issues of fact exist regarding whether a collapse caused the damages at issue to its insureds' kitchen (Dr. Thomas C. Welton et al., v. AMCO Insurance Co., No. 14-4066, D. Kan.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130466).