LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's Insurance - Pollution Exclusion Does Not Bar Coverage; Ambiguity Exists, Wisconsin Panel Says

    MADISON, Wis. - Because a policy's pollution exclusion is ambiguous as to whether a certain bacteria is a pollutant, a reasonable insured could expect coverage under the policy, the District Four Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Oct. 15 in reversing a ruling in favor of an insurer (Patrick J. Connors v. Zurich American Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014AP2990, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 755).

    Mealey's Insurance - Wisconsin Panel: Exclusion Not Clear As To Whether Certain Bacteria Are Pollutants

    MADISON, Wis. - The District Four Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 reversed a ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that a policy's pollution exclusion is ambiguous as to whether a certain bacteria constitute pollutants (Carmen Ramos, et al. v. The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014AP2039, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 753).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Failed To Cure Pleading Deficiencies In Bad Faith Lawsuit

    SAN FRANCISCO - Dismissal of an insured's first amended complaint in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because the insured failed to cure a number of discrepancies that led to the dismissal of the original complaint, a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 16 (Arryanne Moss v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3456, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141311).

    Mealey's Insurance - California Federal Judge Dismisses Portions Of Insurer's Counterclaims

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 16 dismissed an insurer's breach of contract counterclaim on the basis that the insureds did not breach their contract by filing environmental contamination claims they knew would not be covered under the policy because the insurer reserved the right to deny coverage for any noncovered claims (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141305).

    Mealey's Insurance - Sublimit Provision Caps Liability At $1M, 2nd Circuit Determines

    NEW YORK - Because there is no ambiguity in an insurance policy regarding the terms "underground storage tank" and "associated piping," an insurer is required to pay only the policy's $1 million sublimit of liability for underground storage tanks and associated piping, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 16 (Two Farms Inc. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 12-50, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17940).

    Mealey's Insurance - 3rd Circuit Panel Vacates Ruling In Favor Of Insurer On Issue Of Renewal Policy

    PHILADELPHIA - An insurer was not entitled to summary judgment in its favor on the issue of whether it renewed an insurance policy because the insurer breached its promised by not offering the same terms in the original policy as in the renewal policy, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 15 in vacating a district court's opinion (Indian Harbor Insurance Co. v. F&M Equipment LTD., f/k/a Furnival Machinery Co., No. 14-1897, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17901).

    Mealey's Insurance - Wrongful Conduct Underlying 2 Claims Is 'Identical,' Federal Judge Says

    WORCESTER, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on Oct. 15 found that there is no professional liability coverage for two underlying claims stemming from an attorney's alleged malpractice in handling his client's appeal of a zoning decision, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Samer Gandor v. Torus National Insurance Co., No. 13-40132, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140542).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Sparse Record Devoid Of Any Documentation Of Expert Cardiologist's Fees

    SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Oct. 14 affirmed a lower court's refusal to order the unsuccessful plaintiffs in a medical malpractice dispute to pay the defendants' expert cardiologist's $34,064.41 witness fee (William McDougald, et al. v. St. Francis North Hospital, Inc., et al., No. 50,079-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 2020).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Reconsider Ruling In Dispute Over $1.2M Employee Theft

    ALBANY, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Oct. 15 rejected an insurer's motion to reconsider its summary judgment ruling in a coverage dispute over a $1.2 million theft by the insured's former manager of accounting (Dataflow Inc., et al. Peerless Insurance Co., No. 11-1127, N.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140181).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel Rejects Reargument In Directors, Officers Liability Coverage Dispute

    NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Oct. 15 rejected a directors and officers liability insurer's reargument that a merger litigation and an adversary proceeding constitute one continuous claim, reaffirming that coverage for the adversary proceeding is not subject to a 2006-07 policy's insured versus insured (IVI) exclusion (American Casualty Company of Reading, P.A., et al. v. Morris Gelb, et al., No. 15335 653280/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7590).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Failure To Timely Notify Insurer Of Potential Malpractice Bars Coverage

    INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appeals panel held Oct. 15 that an attorney insured knew or reasonably should have known of his client's potential legal malpractice claim at the time he renewed his professional liability insurance policy and, therefore, his failure to notify the insurer of the potential claim precludes coverage, reversing a lower court (The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co. v. Likes Law Office, et al., No. 02A03-1502-CT-65, Ind. App.; 2015 Ind. App. LEXIS 680).

    Mealey's Insurance - Appeals Court Affirms Couple's Attorney Fees Award For Defending Counterclaim

    MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Oct. 14 affirmed a trial court judge's decision to award attorney fees to a couple for successfully defending against their insurer's counterclaim that they were unjustly enriched when receiving a $28,000 payout for a water damages loss claim even though a jury also found in favor of the insurer on its argument that the couple made misrepresentations when submitting the claim (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Ernesto Bascuas, et al., No. 3D14-2434, 3D14-1549, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 15138).

    Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Says Choice Of Law Ruling Will Not Be Changed

    HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 13 denied an insurer's motion for reconsideration, determining that the addition to the record of a portion of the insurer's affidavit does not change the conclusion that Pennsylvania law, not New York law, governs the insured's lawsuit seeking coverage for underlying asbestos liabilities (York International Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 10-0692, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138927).

    Mealey's Insurance - Louisiana High Court Reverses Ruling Against Insurer In Hurricane Katrina Dispute

    NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Supreme Court on Oct. 14 found that the doctrine of lis pendens applies to plaintiffs' individual lawsuits even though they were not named parties or joined in first-filed Hurricane Katrina class actions, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling that denied the insurer's exception of lis pendens (Thelma Aisola v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., 2014-CC-1708, La. Sup.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Texas Panel Affirms Take-Nothing Judgment In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

    HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling that entered a take-nothing judgment against an insurer in a coverage dispute over the insured's roof and other damage allegedly caused by Hurricane Ike (John Davis d/b/a J.D. House Of Style v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 14-00278, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 10506).

    Mealey's Insurance - California Federal Judge Says Insured Owed Coverage Under Contamination Policy

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An insured seeking coverage for more than $12 million in expenses that it incurred as a result of the suspension of its poultry operations because of salmonella contamination is owed coverage under a policy's accidental contamination coverage provision and the policy's government recall provision, a California federal judge said Oct. 9 (Foster Poultry Farms Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, No. 14-953, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138609).

    Mealey's Insurance - Abstention Is Improper, Judge Says In Coverage Suit Over Alleged Fraud Scheme

    GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Oct. 7 denied a hospital's motion to dismiss a directors, officers and private company liability insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit, finding that abstention is improper (AmTrust International Underwriters Ltd. v. Kingsbridge Holdings LLC, et al., No. 15-184, S.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136852).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Coverage Dispute Over Defective Flooring Claims

    SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 7 denied an insured's motion to dismiss its insurer's lawsuit disputing coverage from an underlying defective wood flooring products claim, finding that jurisdictional discovery relating to the insured's contacts within Texas is appropriate and dismissal in favor of a parallel action is unwarranted (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. BRW Floors Inc., et al., No. 15-00167, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137356).

    Mealey's Insurance - Denial Of Short-Term Benefits Was Not Reasonable, Alabama Federal Magistrate Says

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A disability insurer's denial of short-term disability (STD) benefits was not reasonable based on the evidence submitted by the claimant and his treating physicians, an Alabama federal magistrate judge said Oct. 6 in partially granting the claimant's motion for summary judgment (Antonio Campbell v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-623, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136024).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Denies Remand Of Bad Faith Lawsuit To State Court

    RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Oct. 6 denied a motion to remand filed by plaintiffs in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had a "proper basis for removal" of the action to the federal court (Troy and Paul Burley and Paul Ackerman and Judy Ackerman as trustees of the Ackerman Family Trust, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA, No. 15-0272, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136305).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Rules In Insured's Favor On Its $25,093,533 Time Element Loss Claim

    DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 8 held that an insurer failed to meet its burden of showing that a policy's high hazard sublimit applies to an insured's $25,093,533 time element loss in a 2011 Thai flood coverage dispute, entering judgment in favor of the insured (Federal-Mogul Corp. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-12005, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137394).

    Mealey's Insurance - Evidence Does Not Support Insurer's Denial Of Long-Term Claim, Federal Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 8 entered judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the claimant is entitled to the reinstatement of her long-term disability benefits because the evidence does not support the insurer's conclusion that the claimant's statements or her physicians' conclusions lack credibility (Lizabeth Healy v. Fortis Benefits Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-832, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122330).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Sues Reinsurer For Nearly $10 Million In Asbestos-Related Claims

    PHILADELPHIA - An insurer told a federal court in Pennsylvania on Oct. 7 that its alleged reinsurer owes it nearly $10 million in asbestos-related reinsurance obligations (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-5528, E.D. Pa.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Fact Issues As To Attorneys' Prior Knowledge Preclude Summary Judgment, Judge Says

    TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 5 rejected an insurer's argument that a professional liability insurance policy's prior knowledge exclusion bars coverage for an underlying malpractice lawsuit against attorney insureds, finding that fact issues preclude summary judgment (Mitchell Feldman, et al. v. Imperium Insurance Co., No. 14-1637, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135478).

    Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Removes $180,000 Breach Of Contract Suit To Illinois Federal Court

    CHICAGO - A reinsurer on Oct. 7 removed to Illinois federal court a suit in which the holder of the rights to certain accounts receivables due to an insolvent insurer is suing the reinsurer, alleging that it owes more than $180,000 stemming from 1980s reinsurance agreements (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Transfercom, Ltd., No. 15-cv-8908, N.D. Ill.).