NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Declining to strike an affidavit from a senior vice president of a reinsurer because it is inappropriate to address the motion at the summary judgment stage, a Connecticut federal judge said April 25 that she would address the arguments in her ruling on the motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract dispute between a reinsurer and insurer (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on April 25 entered judgment denying a religious order insured's motion to remand a coverage dispute over sexual abuse claims against a priest and dismissing the lawsuit without prejudice under the doctrine of collateral estoppel (The Order of St. Benedict v. St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-781, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63175).
CHICAGO - A Chicago federal judge on April 25 awarded a disability claimant past due and future long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the administrative record does not support a finding that the claimant is qualified to work in a position identified in a vocational analysis completed by the disability insurer (Ramona Contreras v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-3495, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62951).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Supporting documents pertaining to transcripts, arbitration filings and expert reports will not be sealed in a breach of contract dispute between an insurer and reinsurer over asbestos coverage, a New York federal judge ruled April 26 (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - A disability insurer has a right to seek reimbursement for the overpayment of long-term disability benefits because both the terms of the disability plan and an agreement the claimant executed with the insurer afford the insurer the right to seek reimbursement, an Illinois federal judge said April 26 in denying the claimant's motion to dismiss the insurer's counterclaim (Natalie Schiavone v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-9848, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63035).
SEATTLE - The majority of the Washington Supreme Court on April 27 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend underlying claims arising out of carbon monoxide poisoning because the efficient proximate cause of the loss was the negligent installation of a hot water heater, which is a covered occurrence under the policy (Zhaoyun Xia, et al. v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 92436-8, Wash. Sup., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 443).
BOSTON - A majority of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 26 that the widow of a man killed after falling bricks knocked him off a ladder failed to present a plausible argument that an underlying settlement agreement in a wrongful death lawsuit triggered an excess insurer's duty to defend (Lucia Salvati, et al. v. The American Insurance Co., No. 16-1403, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7366).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that damages to a series of floating docks were caused by a flood and there were no genuine issues of material fact that should have been left for a jury to decide (Hudson Enterprises, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London Insurance Companies, No. 16-2846, 8th Cir.).
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on April 24 granted a motion to strike an insurer's proposed expert witness after determining that the expert's testimony relates to claims that were already decided in an underlying environmental contamination suit (Heartland Catfish Co. Inc. et al., v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-368, S.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62379).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on April 25 granted a disability claimant's motion to exclude an expert witness rebuttal report filed by a disability insurer after determining that the report was not filed by the deadline established by the court (James H. Pogue v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 14-598, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62227).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a homeowners insurer in its insured's lawsuit alleging violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kamlesh Banga v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-17147, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7284).
ATLANTA - An Alabama federal judge erred in finding that a policy's total pollution exclusion cannot be asserted as a bar to coverage for two underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from sewage exposure, an insurer argues in an April 25 brief filed in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Evanston Insurance Co. v. J&J Cable Construction LLC, et al., No. 17-11188, 11th Cir.).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts appeals panel held on April 26 that a seafood-processing facility insured has a reasonable expectation of proving that unexplained damage to scallops was caused by an occurrence pursuant to a commercial general liability insurance policy, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer (The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. vs. Raw Seafoods, Inc., No. 15-1554, Mass. App., 2017 Mass. App. LEXIS 49).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 26 affirmed a federal judge in Mississippi's ruling that a homeowners policy issued by State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. was void, ruling that the judge did not err when finding that the couple's misrepresentation over ownership of the property was material (State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Cedric Flowers, et al, No. 16-60310, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7400).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 21 granted an insurer's motion to remand after determining that removal was improper because complete diversity of citizenship may not exist as there is a possibility that several defendants in the construction defects suit, originally filed in California state court, are citizens of California (Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. Maison Reeves Homeowners Association, et al., No. 17-1704, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61241).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 found that an investment solicitation by an insured fell outside a professional liability insurance policy's definition of covered "professional services," affirming a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (Continental Casualty Co. v. Kool Radiators Inc., No. 15-16023, 9th Cir.).
AUSTIN, Texas - In an April 21 brief to the Texas Supreme Court, filed in response to a post-oral argument brief by the real parties in interest in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) in an insurance coverage lawsuit, an insurer argues that a trial court's requirement that ESI submission be in the form requested by the plaintiffs did not properly balance relevance, needs and burdens under Texas law (In re State Farm Lloyds, No. 15-0903, Texas Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A homeowners insurer filed a declaratory judgment complaint in federal court in New Jersey on April 21 after intervening in a lawsuit alleging that two Rutgers University students, including one football player, sexually assault another student on campus (K.L. v. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, et al., No. 16-9270, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - While the U.S. government contracted to purchase annuities to make future, monthly and periodic lump-sum payments under a settlement agreement, the government did not guarantee that it would make the future payments in the event of an insurer's insolvency, a judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held April 21 (William T. Hendrickson and Patricia Hendrickson v. The United States, No. 15-1406C, Fed. Clms, 2017 U.S. Claims LEXIS 369).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 denied a disability claimant's petition for writ of certiorari, refusing to review the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision that that the remand of a disability retirement claim was not an abuse of discretion or a violation of a previous court mandate (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 16-1117, U.S. Sup.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on April 19 found that a homeowners insurance policy's "business pursuits" and "civic or public activities performed for pay" exclusions bar coverage for underlying defamation and false light claims brought against its insured, declaring that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured (Patricia Beil v. AMCO Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-356, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59757).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals panel on April 20 upheld a trial court judge's decision to revoke a woman's sentence for four years of community supervision and sentence her to 10 years in prison for insurance fraud, ruling that there was sufficient evidence showing that she committed a new offense of theft from an elderly person (Christine Zimmerman Shearer v. State of Texas, No. 05-16-00317-CR, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 3584).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a homeowners insurer did not violate its policy when it depreciated labor costs in determining the actual cash value of an insured's loss following hail and water damage (Margaret Graves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-3187, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6980).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 reversed a $36 million judgment entered against an insurer in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that an asbestos exclusion is not ambiguous and bars coverage for underlying asbestos-related claims filed against the insured (General Refractories Company v. First State Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3409, 3rd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - Because an insured failed to prove that heavy rains caused engine damage to a recreational vehicle and because the insured failed to submit a proof of loss for the claim, a Louisiana federal judge on April 19 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment on the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Henry Rosenthal v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-13732, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59564).