LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Dispute Over Fire's Cause Warrants Dismissal Of Man's Counterclaim

    CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 6 dismissed a man's counterclaim against State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Co. seeking attorney fees under Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code, ruling that the company's delay in making a payment under the policy was not vexatious and unreasonable since a dispute exists as to the cause of a fire that destroyed the man's home (State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Anthony Blair Jr., No. 15 C 8026, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119885).

    Mealey's Insurance - Subrogated Insurers' Equal Protection Clause Claim Fails, 8th Circuit Affirms

    ST. LOUIS - Subrogated insurers who paid out water damage claims to insured tenants did not suffer the same damages as uninsured tenants of the same building, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Sept. 6, affirming summary judgment for the City of Minneapolis on the insurers' equal protection clause claim (American Family Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. City of Minneapolis, No. 15-3216, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16336).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Allow Insureds To Add Brokers, Claims To Coverage Dispute

    SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Sept. 1 denied insureds' motion to amend their complaint to add insurance brokers as defendants in a directors and officers liability coverage dispute (Scott G. Kelly, et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., No. 15-2900, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118415).

    Mealey's Insurance - 7th Circuit Affirms Lower Court Order Remanding Reinsurance Case

    CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a remand order from a lower court, noting that the reinsurance agreements at issue in the case have service of suit clauses that leave forum selection up to the reinsured (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Transfercom, Ltd., No. 16-1073, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16225).

    Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Agrees To Hear Dispute Over Insured Vs. Insured Exclusion

    AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court granted a directors and officers liability insurer's petition to review an appeals court's finding that an insured vs. insured policy exclusion is inapplicable, according to its orders pronounced Sept. 2 (Great American Insurance Co. v. Robert Primo, No. 15-0317, Texas Sup.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Expert Allowed To Testify On Cause Of Damage To Golf Courses From Ice, Judge Says

    DETROIT - An expert for three insured golf courses may testify that the weight of ice killed the turfgrass by prohibiting a gaseous exchange by the turfgrass, leading to anoxia, a Michigan federal judge held Aug. 30, declining to exclude the testimony because the expert provided documentation (Bloomfield Hills Country Club, et al. v. The Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. 15-11290, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116172).

    Mealey's Insurance - Statute Voiding Discretionary Clauses Does Not Apply To Health Plan, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California statute voiding discretionary clauses in disability and life insurance policies does not apply to a claim for medical expenses under a health insurance policy because New York law applies to the dispute and because health insurance is not a form of disability insurance, a California federal judge said Aug. 30 (David Bain et al., v. United Healthcare Inc., No. 15-3305, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116805).

    Mealey's Insurance - Homeowners Insurance Policy Provision 'Unlawfully More Restrictive,' Judge Rules

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Ruling on a topic not yet decided by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, a federal judge in West Virginia on Aug. 30 determined that insureds are entitled to summary judgment on their breach of contract claim in a bad faith lawsuit because an insurer breached its contract with insureds by inserting an "unlawfully more restrictive" residence premises provision into a homeowners insurance policy (William Shank v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 15-9033, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116367).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Insured's Motion To Remand Bad Faith Suit To State Court

    LAS VEGAS - An insurer's removal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to federal court was timely, and the insurer proved that the amount in controversy exceeded statutory limits, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Aug. 30 in denying an insured's motion to remand (Susan R. Montoya v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-1530, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116434).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses Rulings, Says Massachusetts Law, Not Rhode Island Law, Applies

    BOSTON - Massachusetts law must be applied in an environmental contamination coverage suit for several Rhode Island sites because Massachusetts is the state where the insurance contracts were negotiated, the Massachusetts Appeals Court said Aug. 31 in reversing a number of rulings in favor of the insured (OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Narragansett Electric Co., et al., No. 13-1240, Mass. App.; 2016 Mass. App. LEXIS 113).

    Mealey's Insurance - No Coverage For $2M Judgment Arising From Unsolicited Fax Ads, Majority Affirms

    PHILADELPHIA - A majority of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a federal court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify a $2 million judgment entered against its insured as part of a class action settlement arising from unsolicited fax advertisements (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Stevens & Ricci Inc., et al., No. 15-2080, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16182).

    Mealey's Insurance - EPA Letter Constitutes Suit, Triggers Carrier's Duty To Defend, New Jersey Judge Says

    NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on Aug. 30 granted an insured's motion for summary judgment after determining that a general notice letter issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a suit under the terms of insurance policies at issue and triggers the insurer's duty to defend (Cooper Industries LLC v. Employers Insurance of Wausau et al., No. L-9284-11, N.J. Super., Essex Co., Law Div.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2003).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Lower Court Was Too Harsh In Dismissing Claims Over Discovery Issues

    AUSTIN, Texas - The Third District Texas Court of Appeals on Aug. 30 reversed and remanded a lower court decision dismissing the claims of a woman who was involved in an auto accident against a woman insured by an insolvent insurer, finding that the lower court had abused its discretion by dismissing the claims based on a discovery noncompliance (Crystal Bingham Hernandez v. Tiffany Polley, No. 03-15-00384-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 9526).

    Mealey's Insurance - Bad Faith Claims Brought Pursuant To Unfair Insurance Practices Law Dismissed

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Although an insured has properly pleaded his claim for insurance bad faith, he has failed to do so with regard to claims made under the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA) because Pennsylvania does not provide for recovery for such claims, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Aug. 29 (Ronald E. Long v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 16-0138, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115328).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Partially Dismisses Bad Faith Claim In Insurance Dispute

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 29 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that Pennsylvania does not provide for recovery for bad faith claims made pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA) (Ronald E. Long v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Co., No. 16-0139, C.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115324).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel Partly Vacates Ruling In Amtrak's Superstorm Sandy Suit Against Insurers

    NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 31 found that a lower court erred when it prematurely granted summary judgment in favor of insurers on whether Amtrak was entitled to coverage under the Demolition and Increased Cost of Construction (DICC) clause in its insurance policies, vacating and remanding the Superstorm Sandy dispute in part (National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2358, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16074).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Has Alleged 2nd Insurer Has Duty To Defend Suit Against Football Team

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 29 held that a commercial general liability insurer has alleged that some of the claims in an underlying lawsuit against the San Francisco Forty Niners Football Co. and others are potentially covered by a second insurance policy (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Great Divide Insurance Co., No. 16-02114, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115872).

    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Magistrate Judge: Insurer Must Produce Files On Medical Claims Reviewers

    OWENSBORO, Ky. - A disability insurer must produce information related to its disability medical claims reviewers, a Kentucky federal magistrate judge said Aug. 26, rejecting the insurer's argument in its motion for reconsideration that producing the information would create an undue burden on the insurer (Paulette Owes v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-71, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114470

    Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: Termination Of Benefits Was Not Unreasonable

    PITTSBURGH - The termination of a disability claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the medical evidence supports the plan's determination that the claimant could perform the duties of her own occupation, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Aug. 26 (Antoinette F. Swanberg v. The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Affiliates Long Term Disability Plan, No. 15-544, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114551).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Bad Faith Suit Subject To Stay Pending Workers' Compensation Action

    RUTLAND, Vt. - An insured's bad faith lawsuit against her former employer's workers' compensation insurance provider is subject to the primary jurisdiction doctrine and, thus, is subject to a stay pending the outcome of the insured's workers' compensation proceedings with the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL), a federal judge in Vermont ruled Aug. 26 (Annemieke Graven Meau v. Sentry Casualty Co., No. 15-67, D. Vt.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113653).

    Mealey's Insurance - Oregon Federal Judge Dismisses Suit, Says Tennessee Federal Suit Was First Filed

    PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Aug. 29 dismissed an insured's suit seeking a coverage declaration for underlying environmental contamination cleanup claims because the insurer's suit, filed in Tennessee federal court, was filed first and addresses the same claims as the insured's suit (IBC Manufacturing Co. v. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. et al., No. 16-908, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115240).

    Mealey's Insurance - Precious Metals Exclusion Bars Coverage For Alleged Theft, 5th Circuit Affirms

    NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 30 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insurance policy's precious metals exclusion bars coverage for a church insured's claimed losses stemming from the theft of seven rooftop air conditioner condensers (Celebration Church Inc. v. United National Insurance Company, No. 16-30048, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16061).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge Bars Partial Testimony On Floodplain Location In Insurance Coverage Dispute

    DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Aug. 26 excluded partial testimony in an insurance coverage dispute on the remaining issue as to whether an insured's property was located within a 100-year floodplain at the time of its loss (Federal-Mogul Corp. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-12005, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114573).

    Mealey's Insurance - Professional Malpractice Suit Constitutes 1 'Claim' Under Policy, Judge Says

    PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 25 found that an underlying professional malpractice lawsuit against an attorney insured constitutes a single "claim" under a professional liability insurance policy, declaring that the insurer's contractual liability defense and indemnity is limited to $500,000 (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Peter G. Mylonas, et al., No. 14-5760, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114867).

    Mealey's Insurance - Alleged Party To Captive Reinsurance Agreement Moves To Dismiss $7.8M Case

    NEW YORK - An alleged party to a captive reinsurance agreement told a federal court in New York on Aug. 29 that the court does not hold jurisdiction over it and cross-moved for the dismissal of a case brought to force the party to pay a judgment from another suit (AmTrust North America, Inc. and Technology Insurance Company, Inc., as judgment creditors of Pacific Re, Inc. on behalf of its protected cell Pac Re 5-AT v. Safebuilt Insurance Services Inc., No. 16-cv-06033, S.D. N.Y.).