LOUISVILLE, Ky. - An insurer is entitled to summary judgment on its insured's breach of contract claim arising out of a coverage dispute for water and mold damages because the breach of contract claim is barred by the policy's two-year limitations period, a Kentucky federal magistrate judge said Oct. 18 (Richard Lackey, et al. v. Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, No. 15-238, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172067).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 17 dismissed, rather than severing or staying, an insured's bad faith counterclaim against an auto insurer because under Florida law, a bad faith claim cannot be alleged until a determination of the insured's damages has been made (Owners Insurance Co. v. Michael Berke, No. 17-1505, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171454).
OXFORD, Miss. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because an insured has shown that the amount in controversy in the action will not exceed statutory limits, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled Oct. 17 in granting the insured's motion to remand (Strawberry Missionary Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation Inc., No. 17-155, N.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171545).
MIAMI - After previously reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of a homeowner in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on Oct. 18 reversed the lower court's ruling on remand in favor of the insurer, finding that a genuine issue of material fact remains regarding whether a letter from the insurer constituted a denial of coverage (Haim Michel Ifergane, Appellant, vs. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D16-1142, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14745).
ATLANTA - A disability insurer acted arbitrarily and capriciously in determining the date of a claimant's disability, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 17 in reversing a district court's judgment in favor of the insurer (Greggory B. Owings v. United Of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 16-3128, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20228).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 12 remanded an insured's suit alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith against an auto insurer and the insured's insurance agent after determining that the agent was not fraudulently joined to defeat jurisdiction (Melinda Bradley-Williams v. Agency Insurance Company of Maryland Inc., et al., No. 17-3755, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169264).
SALT LAKE CITY - An accident did not cause a worker's degenerative arthritis, an Utah appeals panel ruled Oct. 13, declining to disturb the denial of the worker's permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation under an insolvent insurer's policy (Raymond M. Snyder v. Labor Commission, et al., No. 20160822-CA, Utah App., 2017 Utah App. LEXIS 197).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Reinsurance facultative certificates covered defense expenses in excess of a liability cap, a Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled Oct. 17, affirming that insurers were entitled to interest on certain proofs of loss for asbestos claims issued before 2013 (Century Indemnity Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., No. 1280 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 806).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 17 affirmed a lower federal court's entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer, rejecting the insured's argument that an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is a claim under its directors and officers liability policy that warrants coverage for all of its $3 million in legal fees (MusclePharm Corporation v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc., No. 16-1462, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20233).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration on Oct. 12 published in the Federal Register a proposal to delay the applicability of a final rule amending the claims procedure requirements that are applicable to employee disability benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 17 dismissed a professional liability insurer's lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying legal malpractice action against its law firm insured, finding that the underlying state court provides an adequate forum to resolve the dispute involving substantial similarity in both issues and parties (Markel Ins. Co. v. Connolly, Connolly & Heun, LLP, et al., No. 17-1885, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170325).
SAN ANTONIO - No coverage is owed to an insured seeking damages for the loss of an oil and gas well damaged while the insured was preparing the well for production because the claims alleged against the insured are precluded by the primary policy's "damage to property" exclusion and the umbrella policy's oil and gas industries limitation endorsement, a Texas federal judge said Oct. 16 in granting the insurers' motion for summary judgment (CBX Resources LLC v. ACE American Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-17, W.D. Texas).
ORLANDO, Fla. - In an Oct. 12 brief in Florida federal court, a commercial general liability insurer opposes a motion for judgment as to its duty to defend in a data breach coverage dispute, arguing that the hotel that experienced the breach, which is claiming resulting losses, is not an insured under the policy (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Rosen Millennium Inc., No. 6:17-cv-00540, M.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After determining that a bad faith claim is premature, a Florida federal judge on Oct. 13 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss the bad faith claim without prejudice to the insured to refile the claim after the insured's claim for uninsured motorist benefits is resolved (Kelsa Toburen v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-955, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169642).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 16 granted a motion to dismiss filed by estates named as defendants in an insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit accusing a law firm of making misrepresentations on its Lawyers Professional Liability Policy application, finding that an underlying action in state court filed by the estates is a more appropriate forum for the insurer's allegations (Markel Insurance Company v. Connolly, Connolly & Huen LLP, et al., No. 17-1885, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170325).
RICHMOND, Va. - The federal government can present evidence regarding allegations that a woman accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, use of fire to commit a federal felony and making false statements was involved in other fires that resulted in her filing insurance claims, a federal judge in Virginia ruled Oct. 13, holding that the evidence is admissible under Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 403 and 404(b) (United States of America v. Eugenia Fleming, et al., No. 17-cr-29, E.D. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170046).
DENVER - A division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture improperly determined that a yield crop exclusion was not immediately available to farmers upon the passage of a farm bill for purposes of calculation in reinsurance coverage, a Colorado federal judge ruled Oct. 13 (Glenn Ausmus, et al. v. Sonny Perdue, et al., No. 16-01984, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169305).
WAUSAU, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals panel on Oct. 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy's $2 million aggregate limit applied in a coverage dispute over a forest fire that burned thousands of acres of land, but reversed and remanded for a factual determination on the issue of damages relevant to coverage under the logging company's umbrella insurance policy (Secura Insurance v. Lyme St. Croix Forest Company, LLC, et al., No. 2016AP299, Wis. App., Div. 3, 2017 Wisc. App. LEXIS 791).
SCRANTON, Pa. - An auto insurer failed to prove that it will be prejudiced if an insured's bad faith claim is tried at the same time as the insured's breach of contract claim, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 11 in denying the insurer's motion to sever and stay the claim (Sandra Mulgrew v. Government Employees Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2217, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167770).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 13 sentenced a woman to one year and one day in prison and ordered her to pay $536,724 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud for misappropriating Medicaid funds received by a pediatric clinic where she worked for her to pay off unauthorized charges on a business credit card (United States of America v. Monica Sylvest, No. 17cr24, E.D. La.).
EL PASO, Texas - In a lawsuit alleging a scheme to take control over a dealership and to decline selling vehicle-protection products that are reinsured by the reinsurers, defendants argue in their Oct. 11 reply brief to a Texas federal court for dismissal in favor of a state probate court action (Richard C. Poe II, et al. v. Anthony E. Bock, et al., No. 17-00232, W.D. Texas).
LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association (MPCIGA) could not raise any valid defense as to why it wrongfully failed to pay an amount owed to an estate by an insolvent insurer, a Michigan appeals panel ruled Oct. 12, affirming summary disposition to the estate (Dorothy Hassan v. Michigan Property & Casualty Guaranty Association, No. 332738, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1593).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals court affirmed on Oct. 12 that an insured's environmental claim submitted to an insolvent insurer is barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel, based on prior rulings on the same claim and issues (Northern States Power Co. v. Maria T. Vullo, No. 41294/86, N.Y. App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7195).
ATLANTA - A Georgia federal judge approved on Oct. 12 an amended forbearance agreement in a dispute between a Bermuda reinsurer and an insurer and administratively closed the case (TIG Insurance Co. v. Appalachian Reinsurance [Bermuda] Ltd., No. 17-02938, N.D. Ga.).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insured failed to show that injuries he sustained in an automobile accident were permanent in nature during negotiations with his automobile insurance provider, and thus, the insurer did not act in bad faith in the handling of his claim, a federal judge in Florida ruled Oct. 13 in granting the insurer's summary judgment motion (David Duncan v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 17-40, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169347).