ST. LOUIS - A disability insurer was not entitled to rescind its policy because the insurer did not prove that it was harmed by the insured's failure to cancel another disability policy, the majority of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 1 (The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Douglas G. Weiher, No. 14-3098, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20793).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Dec. 1 denied a disability claimant's motion for reconsideration on the basis that the claimant failed to present any new evidence as to why a prior ruling that a short-term disability plan is not governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act should not stand (Kelly Foster v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., et al., No. 14-1241, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160470).
CHICAGO - Entering judgment in a disability insurer's favor was a manifest error because a question of fact exists regarding whether a disability claimant lost income as a result of his inability to carry a harness-based computer, an Illinois federal judge said Dec, 1 in vacating a judgment entered in the insurer's favor (Stephen Dorf v. Standard Insurance Co., as successor to Minnesota Life Insurance Co., No. 13-6479, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161054).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 3 rejected an insured's motion for reconsideration of an earlier ruling granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in a bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the summary judgment standard was not misapplied in the previous ruling (Stephen Bodnar, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1337, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162169).
AUSTIN, Texas - In response to four questions certified from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court on Dec. 4 found that the terms "physical injury" and "replacement" are not ambiguous as incorporated into the "your product" or "impaired property" exclusions of a commercial general liability insurance policy and the installation of faulty flanges alone did not physically injure diesel units in a coverage dispute arising from the defective flanges (U.S. Metals, Incorporated v. Liberty Mutual Group, Incorporated, et al., No. 14-0753, Texas Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Texas did not err when delivering a divided jury with an instruction pursuant to Allen v. United States (164 U.S. 492 ) that allowed them to forgo their differences and come to a unanimous decision, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 3 in affirming a verdict finding the defendant guilty of one count of health care fraud (United States of America v. Ebolose Eghobor, R.N., No. 14-11354, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The State of Vermont and an insurer squared off before the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 2 in oral arguments over whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), preempts state level collection of health insurance data (Alfred Gobeille, in his official capacity as chair of the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-181, U.S. Sup.).
CONCORD, N.H. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer moved in a New Hampshire court on Dec. 4 for approval of a $450,000 settlement with an insured over certain environmental and asbestos-related claims (In the Matter of the Liquidation of The Home Insurance Company, No. 03-E-0106, N.H. Sup., Merrimack Co.).
MARSHALL, Texas - An umbrella insurer on Dec. 4 filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking review of a Texas federal judge's finding that it owes more than $2 million in attorney fees and costs to another insurer to cover defense costs incurred in defending an insured in underlying asbestos suits (LSG Technologies Inc., et al. v. U.S. Fire Insurance Co., No. 07-399, S.D. Texas).
PHILADELPHIA - Homeowners failed to assert claims for breach of contract and bad faith against their insurer for denied coverage of water damage, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Nov. 25, granting summary judgment to the insurer (Gregory Smith and Jennifer Smith v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-670, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159127).
CINCINNATI - Because a disability claimant exceeded the earnings threshold as defined in a disability policy, an insurer properly terminated the claimant's benefits, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 24 in affirming the dismissal of the claimant's suit (Alan Safdi, M.D. v. Covered Employer's Long Term Disability Plan under the Union Central Employee Security Benefit Trust, et al., No. 14-3598, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20611).
CHICAGO - Under Illinois law, there is an "occurrence" under standard-form comprehensive general liability policies when a named insured contractor's faulty workmanship causes damage to a building that is beyond the scope of its own work there, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 25 (Westfield Insurance Co. v. National Decorating Service, Inc., et al., No. 14-1572, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159140).
MADISON, Wis. - A trial court did not err in determining that an insurer did not act in bad faith in handling a water damage claim because the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny coverage under the policy's freezing exclusion, the Fourth District Wisconsin Court of Appeals said Nov. 25 (Lyle Hird, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2014AP2402, Wis. App., Dist. 4; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 834).
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Because issues of material fact exist regarding whether an insured was negligent when it installed a barrel heater, a Wisconsin federal judge on Nov. 24 denied the defendant insurer's motion for summary judgment (Regent Insurance Co., et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-1434, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158718).
HONOLULU - A Hawaii federal judge on Nov. 25 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to grant an insured's motion to remand his lawsuit seeking a declaration as to errors and omissions insurance coverage for underlying claims including breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud and unjust enrichment (Daniel T.M. Choy d/b/a Corinthians Financial Planners and Corinthians Realty v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-00281, D. Hawaii; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159538).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Nov. 24 held that primary and excess insurers have a duty to defend their insured against an underlying defamation lawsuit, rejecting the insurers' contention that business and knowledge-of-falsity exclusions bar coverage (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al. v. Jacob Assail Schur, et al., No. 15-60, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158998).
FRESNO, Calif. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 23, because an insurer's notice of removal was untimely (Todd Stone v. Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1411, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158119).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Nov. 25 refused to reconsider whether the definition of "pollutant" in a series of policies' pollution exclusions is ambiguous because it is clear that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the environmental contamination at issue occurred before or after the site at issue was operated as a landfill (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., et al. v. City of Kokomo, et al., No. 13-1573, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159176).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 27 affirmed the dismissal of an asbestos coverage suit after determining that excess insurers do not have a duty to "drop down" in place of an insolvent primary insurer and defend or indemnify the insured (Canal Insurance Co. v. Montello Inc., et al., No. 14-5039, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20625).
SHERMAN, Texas - An expert based upon his experience within the construction industry may testify with regard to the damage an insured's roof experienced following a wind and hail storm, a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 23, finding that the expert's testimony is reliable (Kim Gill v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 14-781, E.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158070).
MCALLEN, Texas - A federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on Nov. 24, ruling that insureds failed to show that the insurer did not act in line with the terms of the insurance policy (Armando Martinez, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-534, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158245).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on Nov. 20 said that insureds seeking coverage for damages to a beach house are barred from arguing that the home is a total loss because the cost of rebuilding the home was included in an appraisal award (David S. Gronik Jr., et al. v. Susan Balthasar, et al., No. 10-00954, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157266).
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - The Fifth District Illinois Appellate Court on Nov. 20 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured in an underlying lawsuit alleging that the insured's hog farm is a nuisance to neighboring property owners and affirmed the trial court's more than $2 million judgment in favor of the insured (Country Mutual Insurance Co. v. Bible Pork Inc., et al., No. 5-14-0211, Ill. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 870).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Nov. 20 refused to review an appeals court's ruling that an excess insurer owes coverage for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the excess insurer's attachment point of $8 million was reached after the insured settled with its other insurers (Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Highlands Insurance Co., in receivership, No. 14-0789, Texas Sup.).
ATLANTA - The majority of the Third Division Georgia Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 affirmed that an insured failed to timely provide notice of its claim for environmental remediation; however, the majority said that under the applicable excess policy, compliance with the timely notice provision was not a precedent to coverage (Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. Stonewall Insurance Co., No. A15A1359, Ga. App., 3rd Div.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 750).