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).
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).
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.).
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).
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.).
ATLANTA - During oral arguments on Oct. 5, an insurer urged the Georgia Supreme Court to find that its policy's pollution exclusion bars coverage for underlying personal injury claims related to the ingestion of lead-based paint and that it's not necessary for a pollution exclusion to list every "pollutant" that is excluded under the policy (Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. v. Amy Smith, et al., No. S15C1177, Ga. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied certiorari in a disability benefits suit, refusing to consider the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that an abuse-of-discretion standard of review was the correct standard of review in the suit (R. Jeffrey Evans v. Sun Life & Health Insurance Co., No. n/a, U.S. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A claimant who was prevented by her disability from filing a claim for disability benefits is entitled to prove that her failure to meet the plan's notification requirements was caused by her disability, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 2 in reversing a district court's ruling (Laura Waskiewicz v. Unicare Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 14-1479, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17309).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Oct. 2 issued an order to show cause asking why the liquidation of a health maintenance organization should not be terminated (In the Matter of Cigna Healthcare of New York, Inc., No. 452836/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Oct. 2 ruled that the claim files and the deposition of a nonparty subcontractor's insurance adjuster are discoverable for the purpose of determining if a conflict of interests existed that required the appointment of independent counsel, granting a home builder's motions to compel in a construction defects declaratory judgment action (Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Co., et al. v. Centex Homes, No. 1:14-cv-00826, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134923).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 excluded testimony and reports to be offered in support of homeowners' breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against their insurer for coverage of damages caused in an electrical fire (Wayne Moore and Kimberly Moore v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-3113, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132211).
NEW YORK - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Oct. 2 that it was amending its asbestos-bodily-injury-related reinsurance breach of contract complaint to update the name of the defendant (TIG Insurance Company v. Randall & Quilter Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-07024, S.D. N.Y.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Sept. 30 granted an insurer's request to appoint an umpire to resolve a coverage dispute over the alleged hailstorm damage to the siding of an 68-unit apartment complex, rejecting the insured's contention that the chosen candidate is biased (The Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. v. C.F.L.P. 1, LLC, No. 14-40, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132523).
PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A subcontractor's insurer had a duty to defend an additional insured contractor in an underlying construction defect case, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 30, finding that the alleged defects in the subcontractor's stucco work constituted an "occurrence" (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Amerisure Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-10, N.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132817).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel held Sept. 30 that there is no primary or excess fiduciary liability or directors and officers liability insurance coverage for an underlying lawsuit spawned by a federal investigation of insureds' Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) (Woody D. Bilyeu, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa, et al., No. 50,049-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1868).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on Oct. 2 granted an insurer's motion to transfer an insurance breach of contract and bad faith action to another federal district court because the action could have been brought in the target district court and because transferring the action will be in the best interest for all involved from a convenience and fairness standpoint (Nicholas Thanos, M.D. v. Unum Life Insurance Co., No. 15-3616, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134947).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 1 dismissed counterclaims for violations of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) and claims for fraud, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation brought by a defendant claiming that an insurance company refused to accept certain forms of premium payments, finding that they were barred by the economic loss doctrine (Assurity Life Insurance Company v. John Nicholas, Executor of the Estate of Sally Nicholas, No. 14-6522, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133701).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied certiorari in a disability claimant's suit alleging that the disability insurer wrongfully terminated her benefits under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (Rachael Cook v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-1449, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 declined review of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling overturning the conviction of two portfolio managers alleged to have engaged in an insider trading scheme (United States of America v, Todd Newman, et al., No. 15-137, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend an additional insured in an underlying construction defects lawsuit, a Colorado federal judge ruled Sept. 29; however, the judge held that genuine issues of material fact preclude a finding that the insurer had a duty to defend its insured (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co. v. Acadia Insurance Co., No. 14-01273, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132836).
SALT LAKE CITY - Because water and resulting mold damage occurred over an extensive period of time and were not caused by a sudden and accidental escape of water, an insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying a homeowner's claim, a Utah federal judge said Sept. 29 (Thomas Wheeler v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-193, D. Utah; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131736).
CONCORD, N.H. - A federal judge in New Hampshire on Sept. 29 denied a reinsurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that England's six-year statute of limitations applies and that the reinsured's breach of contract claim is therefore timely (TIG Insurance Company v. EIFlow Insurance Limited, No. 14-cv-00459, D. N.H.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - An insurer has a duty to defend an insured in underlying actions alleging property damage from the insured's demolition and excavation work, a New York federal judge ruled Sept. 29; however, the judge found that the duty-to-indemnify issue is premature (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. United Industries & Construction Corp., No. 12-5732, E.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133392).
MIAMI - Quoting an African proverb in a professional liability coverage dispute, a federal magistrate held Sept. 30 that pursuant to the policy's broad definition of "related claims," prepolicy personal injury protection (PIP) demands are related to within-policy claims for which an insured seeks coverage and, therefore, all of the claims are deemed one claim made before the policy's inception (Direct General Insurance Co. v. Houston Casualty Co., et al., No. 14-2005014-20050, S.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO - Subsidence damage to a home caused by subcontractors' work is not an "occurrence," an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 30, finding that an insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured contractor in a breach of warranty lawsuit (Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Northridge Builders, Inc., et al., No. 12-9102, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132165).