PIERRE, S.D. - A majority of the South Dakota Supreme Court on July 20 reversed a lower court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to indemnify its insureds for their loss of 93 cattle during winter storm Atlas, finding that the insurance policy's drowning provision is ambiguous (Richard Papousek v. De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance Company of South Dakota, No. 27658, S.D. Sup.; 2016 S.D. LEXIS 93).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A faulty workmanship exclusion precludes coverage for collapse damages caused by an insured's actions related to the excavation of a basement coupled with the failure to install underpinning to secure the building's foundation, a Virginia federal judge ruled July 21, finding that the ensuing loss exception fails to restore coverage because no independent and covered peril contributed to the collapse other than the insured's excluded conduct (Taja Investments LLC, et al. v. Peerless Insurance Co. a/k/a Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-01647, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95760).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An expert did not provide any testimony as to a manufacturing defect to support an insured's motion for interlocutory review, an Indiana federal judge ruled July 19 in an insurer's subrogation lawsuit on claims for design defect and failure to adequately warn (The Cincinnati Insurance Co. a/s/o Jason and Michelle Howard v. Lennox Industries, Inc., No. 14-1731, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93417).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s motion for judgment was granted July 21 by a federal judge in Pennsylvania who found that the insurer could deny a man's claim under his automobile policy because he misrepresented that he was a resident of New York rather than Pennsylvania (State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Gregory A. Hancle, et al., No. 14-6140, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95084).
DENVER - Because no New Mexico court has addressed the application of the "owned or occupied" exclusion in the context of environmental contamination to sovereign property, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should certify a question regarding the exclusion's application to the New Mexico Supreme Court, an insured maintains in a July 19 motion for certification of a question of state law (Taos Ski Valley Inc. v. Nova Casualty Co., No. 16-2118, 10th Cir.).
CHICAGO - An insurer had no duty to defend an additional insured for construction defects in condominium units because nothing accidental was alleged, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed July 20, finding that the allegations include the additional insured's intentional bad acts or awareness of faulty workmanship (Westfield Insurance Co. v. West Van Buren, LLC and 933 Van Buren Condominium Association, No. 1-14-0862, Ill. App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Ill. App. LEXIS 473).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on July 18 granted three motions in limine filed by an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, precluding an insured from presenting evidence, damages testimony and other testimony to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in conducting an investigation into a claim for coverage under a commercial property insurance policy (JCKP LLC v. Berkley Regional Specialty Insurance Co, et al., No. 14-0117, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93049).
SAN FRANCISCO - Dismissal of a life insurance policy beneficiary's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against an insurer is not proper because the beneficiary has shown that his deceased wife timely completed all necessary paperwork and submitted to her employer as administrator of the policy to port her group life insurance policy into an individual policy, a federal judge in California ruled July 20 (Kent Graham v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 16-3407, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94871).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey panel affirmed July 20 that commercial general liability coverage for an underlying negligence lawsuit against an engineering firm insured is barred by the policy's professional services exclusion (EIC Group LLC v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of America, No. A-2590-14T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1683).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 21 rejected an insurer's argument that its owes nothing to the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association (USMAA) for tornado damage to a building it leases from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) because others paid for USMAA's loss (Southern Insurance Co. v. Affiliated FM Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-60472, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13350).
DENVER - A trial court properly allowed expert testimony on causation in an insurance coverage dispute over injuries suffered in an auto collision, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 19, affirming that the insured presented evidence that a reasonable jury could find that his claim for benefits was fairly debatable (Donald L. Etherton v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 14-1164, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13156).
MIAMI - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the insurer reasonably concluded that the claimant was not precluded from working in "any occupation," a Florida federal judge said July 19 (Armando Mercado v. Federal Express Corp., et al., No. 15-21472, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93786).
SALT LAKE CITY - An insurer did not act in bad faith in denying coverage for an allegedly stolen skid loader because ample evidence exists to support the insurer's denial of the claim, a federal judge in Utah ruled July 18 in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract lawsuit (Naser Awadh, et al. v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-0145, D. Utah; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93369).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on July 19 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured failed to show that the district court has subject matter jurisdiction over the action (Florence Hanson v. Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co., No. 15-8882, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93444).
HOUSTON - An insurance policy's "your work" exclusion precludes damages awarded in arbitration to homeowners because the insured contractor's work caused the damages, which did not include damages to the pool or work performed by other subcontractors, a Texas federal judge ruled July 19 (Grier Patton and Camille Patton and David A. Fettner v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 15-1371, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93568).
HOUSTON - A nurse at a Texas home health care services company was found guilty on three counts of health care fraud by a unanimous jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on July 19 for her role in an $8 million scheme that involved submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare (United States of America v. Precious Deshield, et al., No. 15cr319, S.D. Texas).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on July 18 granted William H. Cosby Jr.'s motion to stay a homeowners and excess insurer's coverage dispute pending resolution of an underlying lawsuit brought by model, actress and TV producer Janice Dickinson but denied the motion to the extent Cosby seeks a stay pending the resolution of a criminal action in Pennsylvania (AIG Property Casualty Co. v. William H. Cosby Jr., et al., No. 15-04842, C.D. Calif.).
AUSTIN, Texas - The special deputy receiver (SDR) of an insolvent insurer asked a Texas court on July 15 to approve a settlement between a homeowner and the receivership estate of an insolvent insurer of the homeowner's fire damage claim (The State of Texas and the Texas Department of Insurance v. Vesta Fire Insurance Corporation, et al., No. D-1-GN-002366, Texas Dist., Travis Co.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on July 18 terminated as moot a reinsurer's motion to amend its pleadings to withdraw its Bellefonte-based defenses and claims (Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on July 15 agreed to adopt a disability claimant's proposed additional findings; however, the judge said the judgment in favor of a disability insurer will stand because the claimant still did not prove that he was continuously disabled under the policy at issue (Stephen Dorf v. Standard Insurance Co., as successor to Minnesota Life Insurance Co., No. 13-6479, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92538).
TRENTON, N.J. - Allegations of an insured's negligent work that caused a collapse do not constitute covered "property damage" under commercial general liability insurance policies, a New Jersey appeals panel affirmed July 15 (New Jersey-American Water Co., Inc. v. Watchung Square Associates, LLC and Fidelity Corp. v. Vollers Excavating & Construction, Inc. and Frank Ferraro v. Salvatore Davino, et al. and Travelers Insurance Co., et al., Nos. A3436-13T1 & A-3445-13T1, N.J. Super. App. Div.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1639).
TAMPA, Fla. - Window and sliding-glass-door manufacturers may proceed on their "bad-faith failure to settle" and "negligent failure to settle" claims against their insurer for failing to indemnify them for underlying settlements arising out of alleged defective windows, a Florida federal judge ruled July 18 (MI Windows & Doors, LLC, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-3139, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92973).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 19 held that it does not have appellate jurisdiction over a federal district court's nonfinal order denying confirmation of a $208,445.57 appraisal award in a hailstorm damage coverage dispute (KCOM Inc. v. Employers Mutual Casualty Co., No. 15-1218, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13171).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 19 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a professional liability insurer was entitled to rescind its policy in a dispute over coverage for two underlying medical negligence claims against a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology (Capson Physicians Insurance Co. v. MMIC Insurance Inc., Nos. 15-2459 and 15-2575, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13144).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on July 14 rejected an attorney insured's argument that a professional liability insurance policy is voidable for failing to comply with the requirements of New Jersey Rule of Court 1:21-1B(a)(4), denying the insured's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute over client funds that were allegedly misappropriated by a legal assistant (Jill Cadre, et al. v. ProAssurance Casualty Co., No. 16-0103, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91925).