BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Sept. 3 held that an insurer has a duty to provide employee dishonesty coverage for a law firm insured's loss arising from $157,268.75 that a paralegal allegedly embezzled from a trust account (Cumberland & Erly, LLC v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-2399, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117881).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held on Sept. 4 that a marine excess insurance policy's "platform exclusion" precludes coverage for an underlying injury dispute, reversing and remanding a lower federal court's ruling that ordered the insurer to reimburse the insured the $400,000 it paid toward a settlement (Michael Cash v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc., No. 14-31072, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15902).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 affirmed lower federal court's finding that an underlying complaint against manufacturer insureds fails to allege personal or advertising injury or property damage under commercial general liability insurance policies (Basalite Concrete Products LLC, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, et al., No. 13-16223. 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15826).
CHICAGO - A reinsurer told a federal court in Illinois on Sept. 3 that because of its reinsured's late notice, it is not obligated to pay more than $4.4 million in asbestos bodily injury related claims (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 15-cv-07784, N.D. Ill.).
PITTSBURGH - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 3 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer is entitled to summary judgment on the bad faith claim because a third-party beneficiary has failed to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying a defense or indemnification to an attorney in a malpractice case (Zhong Zhuang v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 15-0481, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118047).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appellate panel on Sept. 3 affirmed a lower court decision that a dispute between an insolvent insurer and a workers' compensation trust fund are the jurisdiction of an administrative board (Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company v. Workers' Compensation Trust Fund, No.13-P-1982, Mass. App.; Mass. App. LEXIS 131).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A partial default judgment entered against an insurer on an insured's bad faith claim in an environmental contamination coverage suit is an appropriate sanction because the insurer failed to produce requested documents until almost two years later, a Florida federal judge said Sept. 2 (First Coast Energy LLP v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 12-281, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117120).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 affirmed a finding that an insurer has a duty to defend an insured in an environmental contamination coverage dispute and said the district court applied the correct allocation method but that because the record does not support the insured's claim for unfair or deceptive business practices, that portion of the district court's ruling must be vacated (Peabody Essex Museum Inc. v. United States Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-1528, 13-1602, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15858).
TRENTON, N.J. - A homeowner failed to show that his expert has "good grounds" for his testimony of damages sustained to a home during Superstorm Sandy, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge ruled Sept. 3, excluding the expert's testimony to the extent that he opines on the cause of the damage to the property (Christopher Wehman v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-1416, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117445).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer responded in a federal court in New York Sept. 4 to an insurer's redacted petition to confirm an asbestos-injury-related arbitration award (Century Indemnity Company v. Global Reinsurance Corporation of America, et al., No. 15-cv-06426, S.D. N.Y.).
JACKSON, Miss. - The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi on Sept. 3 announced that a group of 13 hospices and their majority owner have agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) when submitting false claims for the delivery of hospice care services to patients who were not entitled to receive such treatment (United States of America, ex rel. Deedy Diamond, et al. v. St. Joseph Hospice, et al., No. 12-cv-393, S.D. Miss.).
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured or additional insureds in underlying construction defects lawsuits because the lawsuits allege property damage to a condominium building itself, which is not covered, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 2 (Acuity, a mutual insurance company v. Lenny Szarek, Inc., et al., No. 13-7505, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116778).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A commercial umbrella liability insurance policy does not clearly specify that a self-insured retention (SIR) applies to the umbrella provision only and that the $1.5 million SIR applies to the excess provision, a California federal judge ruled Sept. 1, denying partial summary judgment to the insurer (D.R. Horton, Inc. - Sacramento v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, and AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-2155, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117318).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appellate court panel on Sept. 3 affirmed an administrative board's ruling that an insurer in liquidation has no right to reimbursement of workers' compensation cost-of-living increase payments (The Home Insurance Company v. Workers' Compensation Trust Fund, No.14-P-1356, Mass. App.; Mass. App. LEXIS 129).
JACKSON, Miss. - A 7-2 Mississippi Supreme Court on Sept. 3 affirmed a ruling that an insurer properly voided a woman's automobile policy as a result of her failure to state on her policy application that her son resided with her, finding that the ruling in Lyons v. Direct Gen. Ins. Co. of Miss. (138 So. 3d 887 [Miss. Sup. 2014]) was inapposite (Katrice Jones-Smith, et al. v. Safeway Insurance Company, No. 2014-CA-00180-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2015 Miss. LEXIS 456).
DENVER - Because an energy company's counsel of record bore responsibility for disclosing any potentially applicable insurance policies, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 2 upheld a trial court's award of sanctions against the attorney for failing to submit a copy of a directors and officers (D&O) liability policy during discovery (Sun River Energy Inc. v. Erik S. Nelson, et al., No. 14-1321, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15645).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 2 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment seeking to reform the 2013 and 2014 professional liability insurance policies that it issued to a plastic surgeon in a dispute over coverage for an underlying professional malpractice lawsuit (Hallmark Specialty Insurance Co. v. Bradford C. Roberg, et al., No. 14-cv-3657, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116617).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Sept. 2 that a civil rights claim under 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 against a private prison operator insured is barred from coverage under a $1 million commercial general liability policy and a $2 million commercial umbrella liability (CUL) policy, reversing a lower federal court in part (LCS Corrections Services, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 14-40494 c/w No. 14-40587, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15643).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer told a federal court in New York on Aug. 31 that a foreign reinsured's arguments claiming the evident partiality of an arbitration umpire are groundless (National Indemnity Company v. IRB Brasil Resseguros S.A., No. 15-cv-03975, S.D. N.Y.).
WAYCROSS, Ga. - An insurer did not act in bad faith by denying coverage because its policy does not cover a conversion claim whether it was "willful and malicious" or "negligent," a Georgia federal judge ruled Sept. 1, finding that the claim is not an "accident" (Mary Jean Spivey and Douglas Asphalt Paving, Inc., as assignees of Dixie Roadbuilders, Inc. v. American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania, No. 15-004, S.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116407).
CHICAGO - A federal district court erred in granting summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether a company had properly pleaded its breach of contract and bad faith claims, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 31 (Life Plans Inc. v. Security Life of Denver Insurance Co., No. 14-1437, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15424).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Aug. 27 approved the liquidator of an insolvent insurer's entry into an agreement with certain states' insurance guaranty associations (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Centennial Insurance Company, No. 402424/10, N.Y. Super., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Aug. 27 issued an order to show cause why he should not authorize the disbursement of approximately $2 million of an insurer in liquidation's assets to its only creditor and close the liquidation proceeding (In the Matter of UHAB Mutual Insurance Company, No. 452618/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - A group of reinsurers told a federal court in New York on Aug. 28 that they are appealing the court's recent injunction against the continuance of an arbitration proceeding (Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. Equitas Insurance Limited, et al., No. 13-cv-07680, S.D. N.Y.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal magistrate judge on Aug. 31 granted various insurers' request to take judicial notice of a number of documents related to underlying environmental contamination claims (Century Indemnity Co. v. The Marine Group LLC, et al., No. 08-1375, D. Ore.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115324).