ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 11 found that insureds' claim for additional damage was made well beyond the Federal Emergency Management Agency deadline for Hurricane Irene-related claims, further concluding that the subrogation provision in a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) provides no basis for the relief that the insureds' seek (Robert Shearer, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, et al., No. 17-31, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6298).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 12 determined that exercising federal jurisdiction over an insurer's suit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying carbon monoxide poisoning suit filed against an insured is appropriate because the insurer's suit and the underlying suit are not parallel proceedings (Foremost Insurance Co. v. Nosam LLC, et al., No. 17-2843, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6645).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A reinsurer breached its contract by refusing to pay its share of losses arising out of the settlement of asbestos claims, an insurer says in a Jan. 16 complaint filed in the Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-00087, D. Conn.).
BILLINGS, Mont. - A federal judge in Montana on Jan. 16 denied a motion to dismiss a 14-count indictment filed by a transportation company and its owner accused of concealing from their insurer that they were transporting explosives, finding that the allegations in the indictment sufficiently support conviction (United States of America v. Woody's Trucking LLC, et al., No. CR 17-138, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6816).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Citing overlapping issues with an underlying state court declaratory judgment action, a North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 12 dismissed a coverage dispute between commercial general liability insurers with regard to a duty to defend a mutual insured and additional insureds in construction defects cases (Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Employers Mutual Casualty Co., et al., No. 17-253, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5655).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Health insurer Blue Shield of California and a class of people who claim that the company improperly denied coverage for mental health services reached a $7 million agreement resolving the case on Jan. 15 (Charles Des Roches, et al. v. California Physicians' Service, et al., No. 16-2848, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92573).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on Jan. 11 granted a construction company's motion to reconsider a ruling denying its motion to dismiss, finding that the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC) should determine if an insurance policy issued to the company was in place at the time a man's claim was filed (Owners Insurance Company v. Warren Mechanical LLC, No. 16-cv-0668-DCN, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5187).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a liquor liability insurance policy's assault and battery exclusion relieves the insurer of its duty to defend against an underlying lawsuit that resulted in a $3.5 million consent judgment against its bar owner insured (Jane Doe v. Hudson Specialty Insurance Company, No. 17-11642, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 784).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Jan. 10 denied the University of Chicago's motion to dismiss a breach of fiduciary duty claim that was brought by a retirement plan participant who was added as a plaintiff in a first amended complaint alleging excessive fees (Winifred J. Daugherty, et al. v. The University of Chicago, No. 17-3736, N.D. Ill.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on Jan. 11 held that a professional liability insurer was entitled to rescind an insurance policy due to two material misrepresentations made on the application, further finding that because the policy is void ab initio it cannot be the basis of liability and, therefore, the insurer cannot recover from the insured the underlying defense costs it has incurred (ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Michael A. Turkaly, et al., No. 16-10064, S.D. W.Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5026).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In two putative class actions, a California federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 12 that insurers are not entitled to a protective order regarding submission of a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) (Shasta Linen Supply Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., Nos. 16-00158 & 16-01211, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6079).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court panel on Jan. 11 found that a man found guilty of workers' compensation fraud should serve three years because the sentence is allowed by the California Insurance Code and because the defendant did not object to the sentence to the trial court judge (People v. Luis Hernandez, No. B279922, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 5th Div., 2018 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 265).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 rejected appellants' argument that whether the injuries they suffered were the result of an "assault and battery" under a commercial general liability insurance policy is a question of fact for a jury, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (The Burlington Insurance Company v. Rosa De La Puente, et al., Nos. 16-16899 and 16-16986, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 891).
RICHMOND, Va. - After determining that an arbitrator applied the wrong burden in determining whether a principle purpose of a company's sale of stock was to avoid the withdrawal liability, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 vacated a court's order to enforce the award (Penske Logistics LLC, et al. v. Freight Drivers and Helpers Local Union No. 557 Pension Fund, et al., No. 16-2115, 4th Cir.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A court can adequately manage its docket without staying proceedings while considering a motion for remand, a motion it should deny and then grant summary judgment, because an insurer's actions complied with the terms of the insured's Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida told a federal judge on Jan. 11 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 9 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of Blue Shield of California in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit challenging the denial of a claim for medical benefits, finding the court did not err in applying ERISA's "unique" abuse of discretion standard (Krysten C. v. Blue Shield of California, No. 16-16958, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 584).
TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Jan. 9 denied a motion to strike a deposition in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insurers and the insureds agreed to extend the discovery deadline for the deposition to a time outside of the discovery deadline set by the court (Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co. et al., v. FFP Holdings LLC et al., No. 15-377, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3810).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurance executive accused of engaging in a $2.5 million fraudulent scheme settled claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 11 after the SEC filed a complaint in Connecticut federal court (Securities and Exchange Commission v. David S. Haddad, et al., No. 18-00055, D. Conn.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions in an insurer's lawsuit seeking equitable contribution from a second insurer, a California federal judge on Jan. 9 found that two underlying lawsuits against Narconon International and its affiliates triggered commercial general liability and improper sexual conduct coverage and, therefore, the second insurer also has a duty to defend (Western World Insurance Company v. Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California, No. 14-04466, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4720).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 11 refused to dismiss for failure to join indispensable parties an insurer's lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured in a breach of contract case (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co. v. Dover Roofing & General Remodeling Exteriors Unlimited Inc., No. 17-228, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4814).
SAN FRANCISCO - Insureds' claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit over coverage under a homeowners insurance and a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) are preempted by federal law, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 10 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Alicia Martin, et al. v. CSAA Insurance Exchange, No. 17-4066, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4675).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Women helped by crisis pregnancy centers and 23 such centers based in Illinois sang the praises of the volunteer organizations in amicus curiae briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 in an effort to bolster a Jan. 8 opening brief challenging a California law requiring the centers to disclose the availability of abortions (NIFLA, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al., No. 16-1140, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 10 reversed a federal judge in New Jersey's ruling that allowed the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) to withhold payment on $2.1 million in pending personal injury protection (PIP) claims submitted by a neurology and rehabilitation facility, holding that under the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act, the dispute is subject to arbitration (Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Tri County Neurology & Rehab LLC, No. 17-2113, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 617).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After finding that an insurer did not violate California's unfair competition law (UCL) when it denied coverage for injuries suffered by an insured in a vehicle accident that had already been paid under a medical plan, a California federal judge on Jan. 8 granted the insurer's motion to dismiss the claim against it without leave to amend (Deborah Quattrocchi v. Allstate Indemnity Company, No. 2:17-cv-01578, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3922).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurance policy excludes coverage for an insured's underlying construction defects lawsuits arising out of stucco damage, the insurer says in a Jan. 10 complaint filed in a Florida federal court (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Kis Construction LLC, et al., No. 18-00086, M.D. Fla.).