MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on May 20 reversed and remanded the issues of whether an insured failed to provide "prompt" notice of her Hurricane Wilma claim and whether the insurer was prejudiced by the purported late notice in a breach of contract dispute (Edie Laquer v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Nos. 3D13-1115, 3D14-34, Fla., App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 7570).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 18 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a supplier of automotive products, services and solutions in an insurance coverage dispute over its alleged $88 million in losses caused by the 2011 Thailand flood (Federal-Mogul Corp. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, Nos. 13-2686, 14-1022, 6th Cir.).
PALM BEACH, Fla. - A title insurer breached its policy by failing to catch title defects that ended land sales, a Florida state jury found May 19, awarding $4.45 million to a hotel developer in the Bahamas for damages it suffered by the breach (Governor's Harbour Resort and Marina Ltd. v. First American Title Insurance Co., No. 502010CA027629XXXX MB AI, Fla. Cir., Palm Beach Co., 15th Jud. Cir.).
CHICAGO - Notre Dame is not entitled to a preliminary injunction while it challenges the opt-out provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, a divided Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 19 (University of Notre Dame v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-3853, 7th Cir.).
BOSTON - An insurer told a federal court in Massachusetts on May 15 that its reinsurer's motion to amend its answer should not be allowed because certain court-mandated deadlines have passed and will not allow the insurer to seek discovery of information related to the proposed amended answer (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on May 18 found that an insurer has no duty to defend its interstate motor carrier insured against an underlying suit brought by one of its independent truck drivers because the directors and officers and company coverage is barred by the policy's unpaid compensation and breach of contract exclusions (Altom Transport Inc. v. Westchester Fire Ins., et al., No. 14-cv-9547, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64397).
FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 18 ordered parties in an insurance bad faith lawsuit to meet and confer and file a stipulation to stay arbitration pending the outcome of an insured's declaratory relief claim and severed and stayed the insured's breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim pending resolution of the declaratory relief claim (Martha Castro v. Lincoln General Insurance Co., No. 15-0331, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64851).
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that there is a disputed issue of fact as to whether a public accounting firm's employee had reason to know, before an accountant's professional liability insurance policy became effective, that a claim could be reasonably anticipated, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 18 concluded that the insurer has a duty to defend but does not have to indemnify the firm against an underlying lawsuit alleging that the firm and its employee breached their professional duty of confidentiality (Navigators Insurance Co. v. Resnick Amsterdam Leshner, et al., No. 14-5158, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64385).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Insureds fail to show that an insurer acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for additional replacement costs from a house fire, a South Carolina federal judge ruled May 19, dismissing the claim but allowing the insureds' breach of contract claim to proceed (Franklin Dash and Debbie Dash v. Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, No. 12-02732, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65026).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An insurance policy's language referring to the limits of coverage and the replacement cost of the dwelling is ambiguous, a Missouri appeals panel ruled May 19, reversing and remanding for a new trial to determine whether insureds are entitled to the full replacement cost of their destroyed home (Derek Wilson and Jennifer Wilson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. WD77396, Mo. App., Western Dist.; 2015 Mo. App. LEXIS 552).
INDIANAPOLIS - The majority of the Indiana Supreme Court on May 15 refused to review an appellate court's application of a "pro rata" method of allocation rather than an "all sums" method of allocation to a dispute over coverage for an underlying suit alleging bodily injury as a result of exposure to organic solvent at an insured's manufacturing plant (Thomson Inc., n/k/a Technicolor USA Inc., v. Insurance Company of North America n/k/a Century Indemnity Co., et al., No. 49A05-1109-PL-470, Ind. Sup.; 2015 Ind. LEXIS 397).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An insurer did not have a duty to defend allegations against an insured for trespass, nuisance and strict liability, a Minnesota appeals panel affirmed May 18, finding that the policy's intentional-act exclusion and criminal-act exclusion apply (Estate of Gladys I. Norby, et al. v. Waseca Mutual Insurance Co. n/k/a Austin Mutual Insurance, No. A14-1146, Minn. App.; 2015 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 461).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 18 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that ordered two insurance agencies to pay $16.5 million in damages to a reinsurer on the reinsurer's tortious interference claim, but reversed parts of the ruling that were appealed by the reinsurer (Lincoln General Insurance Co. v. U.S. Auto Insurance Services, No. 13-10589, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8172).
TRENTON, N.J. - No coverage is available to homeowners for damages caused to their own property by a leaking underground fuel storage tank because the policy clearly excludes coverage under the owned property exclusion and limits coverage related to liability claims related to oil spills, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division said May 15 (Stanley and Leah Weiss v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., No.A-5219-13T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1134).
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurer had a duty to defend allegations of defects in design and workmanship in a residential condominium and townhome development, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed May 15, finding that the duty was triggered because some of the allegations potentially fell within the coverage of the insurer's policy (West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Pulte Home Corp., et al., No. 1-14-0355, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1039).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on May 14 denied a motion to set aside a judgment confirming a $40 million arbitration award on the basis that reinsurers failed to comply with the Federal Arbitration Act's three-month limitation to challenge an arbitration award (Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. Equitas Insurance Limited, et al., No. 13-cv-07680, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63643).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a Pennsylvania court on May 18 to approve the recommended payment of $6.3 million in claims (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York presiding over litigation regarding groundwater allegedly contaminated by the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) on May 14 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, concluding that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's claim for subrogation was dismissed but that its claim for potential violation of state statutes could not be dismissed at this time (In re: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether [MTBE] Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1358, No. 00-1898, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., No. 14 Civ. 6228, S.D. N.Y).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 14 granted in part and denied in part an insured's motion to stay an insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing professional liability coverage for lawsuits, arbitrations and other legal proceedings arising from the insured's service of providing consumers with genetic data from saliva testing (Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. 23andMe, Inc., No. 14-03286, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64145).
MACON, Ga. - The mere possibility that insureds could suffer future injury if their townhouse is damaged in the future is not enough to establish a justiciable controversy regarding coverage for diminished value, a Georgia federal judge said May 14 in denying the insureds' motion for class certification (John Thompson et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-32, M.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63113).
CHICAGO - An insured is precluded from relitigating its right to a defense by its commercial general liability insurer in an underlying faulty workmanship lawsuit, an Illinois federal judge ruled May 15, finding that a previous lawsuit decided that the insured provided untimely notice that prejudiced the insurer (QBE Insurance Corp. v. Barrier Corp., No. 14-9512, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63801).
CINCINNATI - The majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 14 determined that a disability insurer arbitrarily and capriciously denied a claim for "any occupation" long-term disability benefits because the insurer disregarded reliable medical evidence in support of the claimant's disability (Samuel Niswonger v. PNC Bank Corp. and Affiliates Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 13-4282, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8076).
ST. LOUIS - An insurer was prejudiced by an insured's delay in filing its notice of loss with regard to alleged defective workmanship in a roof, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 14 (8865 North Cove v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-4086, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7938).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Parties to six umbrella insurance policies and three excess insurance policies must arbitrate their disagreement as to the interpretation of a pollution exclusion to various individual and class actions regarding defective drywall, a North Carolina federal judge ruled May 13 (New NGC Inc. v. ACE American Insurance Co., et al., No. 10-00022, W.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63501).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on May 14 found that a first-party bad faith cause of action under Section 624.155(1)(b), Florida Statutes, does not fall under the willful tort exception to the immunity granted to a nonprofit insurer by the Florida Legislature, quashing an appellate court's ruling in favor of the insured and answering a certified question in the affirmative in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Ivan (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Perdido Sun Condominium Association Inc., etc., No. SC14-185, Fla. Sup.; 2015 Fla. LEXIS 1053).