WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on March 23 granted an insurer's motion to rehear an appraisal dispute over Hurricane Wilma damage, modifying its ruling to hold that the notice requirement in Florida Statutes Subsection 627.7015(2) does not ripen until the insurer is on notice that there is a dispute relating to a material fact issue (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4529).
ATLANTA - An insurer asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to grant the insurer's petition for rehearing in an insurance bad faith lawsuit on March 21, arguing that a panel applied the "wrong standard for bad faith" in issuing its ruling (Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. v. Mr. Charlie Adventures LLC, et al., No. 15-12657, 11th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court abused its discretion in granting summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer because a reasonable insured would have believed that filing an internal appeal of the insurer's denial of benefits would have been futile, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 21 in noting that the futility exception to the exhaustion requirement under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act should have been applied (Richard Carey v. RMB United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 14-55483, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5149).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 23 that a lower court should have held a hearing to decide whether roof damage to two apartment buildings was covered under the policy before ordering the insured and insurer to participate in Michigan's statutory appraisal process, reversing and remanding the lower court (The D Boys, LLC, v. Mid-Century Insurance Co., No. 15-1347, 6th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 22 upheld an insurer's calculation of an insurance policy deductible by taking 5 percent of the total insurable values of seven oil-and-gas properties damaged by Hurricane Isaac, concluding that the lower court properly relied upon the "ordinary meaning" of the policy term "total insurable values" (Saratoga Resources, Incorporated v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 15-20343, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5237).
SAN FRANCISCO - A class action claiming that an insurer hid its use of a formula resulting in higher rates for long-term customers belongs before the state's insurance office, a federal judge in California held March 17 in staying unfair competition law (UCL), California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, et seq., claims (Andrea Stevenson v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4788, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34923).
TAMPA, Fla. - There exists an actual case or controversy between a condominium association and its primary insurer with regard to a property damage claim because the association is currently pursuing a claim against an excess insurer, a Florida federal judge held March 18, refusing to dismiss the primary insurer's lawsuit (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. The Landings of Tampa Condominium Association, Inc., No. 15-2966, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35402).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on March 18 granted an insured's motion to remand an insurance bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer's removal was untimely (Lisa Cappeli v. Liberty Mutual Group, et al., No. 16-0012, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35419).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on March 18 declined to grant judgment on the pleadings to a contractor on a subrogated insurer's negligence claims because he cannot determine whether a condominium association should be deemed the successor to a contract between the contractor and the property's previous owner (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. a/s/o 1441 Rhode Island Ave Condominium Association v. Lend Lease [U.S.] Construction, Inc., No. 15-765, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35014).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Third District Texas Court of Appeals on March 17affirmed a trial court's ruling entered in an insurer's favor in a mold coverage dispute after determining that the insureds failed to file a timely and substantive response to the insurer's no-evidence motion for summary judgment (Veronica L. Davis, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds Texas, No. 03-14-00546-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2736).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on March 18 declined to grant final judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the issue of defense costs still must be determined at trial (Richard E. Haskins, et al. v. Employers Insurance Of Wausau, et al., No. 14-1671, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35464).
ROANOKE, Va. - A subrogated insurer sufficiently asserts a negligence claim against a subcontractor for damages arising from harm to personal property stored within an insured's property and a breach of implied warranty claim, a Virginia federal judge ruled March 17; however, the judge dismissed the insurer's claims for negligence regarding damages arising from harm to the property itself and breach of an express warranty (Allstate Insurance Co. as subrogee of Hillel at Virginia Tech, Inc. v. Structures Design/Build, LLC v. PJ Little Plumbing, Inc. v. CMC Supply, Inc., No. 15-00354, W.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34349).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that awarded two insolvent insurers reimbursement of the defense costs they incurred in defending insureds against an underlying motion for sanctions (James Luard Wallis, et al. v. Centennial Insurance Company Inc., et al., No. 14-15555, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5139).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 found that a professional liability insurance policy's "legal fees" exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying $628,527.47 arbitration award entered against a law firm insured (Edward T. Joyce & Associates P.C. v. Professionals Direct Insurance Co., No. 14-3341, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5063).
ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court on March 21 found that a policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for underlying personal injury claims related to the ingestion of lead-based paint, noting that Georgia courts have enforced absolute pollution exclusion clauses without requiring that the pollutant be named in the policy (Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. v. Amy Smith, et al., No. S15C1177, Ga. Sup.; 2016 Ga. LEXIS 245).
ATLANTA - Finding most of the discovery items sought by a bitcoin processor from its insurance provider likely to be relevant to its bad faith and breach of contract claims, a Georgia federal judge on March 17 denied the insurer's motion to bifurcate the claims and to stay discovery on the bad faith claim, citing a potential waste of judicial resources (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida in March 18 sentenced the owner of two Florida clinics to 82 months in prison and ordered him to forfeit more than $3 million for his role in an insurance fraud scheme (United States of America v. Carlos Medina, et al., No. 15-cr-20424, S.D. Fla.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 17 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment in a coverage dispute over an alleged theft that occurred at an insured business by the business owner's brother (Pacific Marine Center Inc., et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 13-00992, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35503).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on March 16 held that he does not have sufficient information to fairly evaluate whether to dismiss a professional liability insurer's lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify sexual harassment and sexual abuse claims against a doctor (Medicus Insurance Co. v. John Pellegrini, D.O., et al., No. 15-6015, S.D. W. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33784).
HAMMOND, Ind. - A carpentry subcontractor is not liable for damages sustained as a result of a fire caused by a roof-heating cable because the subcontractor did not have any role in the installation of the roof-heating cable, an Indiana federal judge held March 16, granting summary judgment to the subcontractor on a subrogated insurer's negligence claim (Bankers Standard Insurance Co. as subrogee of Jerry and Norma Ferguson v. Coplen Construction, Inc., et al., No. 13-214, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33573).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 18 substantially denied an insurer's motion to dismiss counterclaims for breach of fiduciary duty and bad faith in an insurance dispute, ruling that the claims sound in contract and, thus, are actionable (MONY Life Insurance Co. v. Carol Snyder, f/k/a Carol Eckert, and Pamela Eckert, No. 15-2109, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34371).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on March 16 denied an insurer's motion for judgment notwithstanding a jury's verdict in favor of the insured or, in the alternative, for a new trial after determining that the insurer failed to offer any new legal arguments as to why a jury's finding that the insurer owes coverage for environmental cleanup costs at two former manufactured gas plants in New York should not stand (Keyspan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., et al., No. 604715/1997, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - An insured's allegedly negligent failure to properly "tarp, wrap, cover, or otherwise protect" a home while installing a roof constitutes faulty workmanship that is not covered under an insurance policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 17, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Moreco Construction, Inc., No. 15-6131, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34362).
DENVER - Surface water that enters a sewer system and backs up through or overflows from a sewer or drain is covered by an insurance policy, a Colorado federal judge ruled March 16, also finding that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding the character of the water that caused damage to insured condos and whether the damage was exclusively caused by sewer water backup (Chateau Village North Condominium Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-01583, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33989).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 18 vacated a district court's ruling after determining that a question of fact exists regarding whether a disability policy included a discretionary grant provision that allowed the insurer to award long-term disability benefits (Kenneth Baker v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 15-1525, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4955).