SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal jury on April 14 entered an almost $8 million verdict against a company that supplied pomegranate seeds contaminated with hepatitis A after determining that the plaintiffs proved that the company was the source of the contaminated seeds (Townsend Farms Inc. v. Goknur Gida Maddeleri Enerji Imalat Ithalat Ihracat Ticaret ve Sanayi A.S. et al., No. 15-837, C.D. Calif.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 18 entered judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer one day after finding that the insured's failure to file a timely sworn proof of loss bars any recovery for his alleged flood damage (Jorge Abreu Sosa v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 16-1283, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58066).
ST. LOUIS - A settlement agreement between an association and an insured general contractor over allegations of defective construction violated an insurance policy's cooperation clause and, thus, is unenforceable, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 17 (James River Insurance Co. v. The Interlachen Propertyowners Association and Kuepers Construction Inc., No. 16-2994, 8th Cir.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on April 17 entered judgment in favor of an insurer three days after granting its motion for judgment on the pleadings in its lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying direct infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious liability claims brought against its insured Zillow Inc. (National Union Fire Insurance Co. v. Zillow, Inc., No.16-1461, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57496).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on April 14 denied an electric and gas company's motion for partial summary judgment in its lawsuit seeking defense as an additional insured under a commercial general liability insurance policy for two underlying personal injury lawsuits (South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. v. Old Republic Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2468, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57261).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge held April 13 that a professional liability insurer has failed to sufficiently demonstrate that it was prejudiced by a hospital insured's delayed notice of an underlying medical malpractice dispute (Children's Hospital Colorado v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 15-01904, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56892).
MILWAUKEE - Because a disability claimant did not specifically request a copy of a disability plan's summary plan description (SPD) when inquiring about the availability of disability benefits, the plan administrator did not violate the requirements of Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a Wisconsin federal judge said April 14 (Susan Limbach v. Weil Pump Co. Inc., No. 15-1531, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57526).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 14 affirmed a district court's dismissal of a disability claimant's allegation of deprivation of rights after determining that the pension plan that administered the disability plan at issue did not act in the interests of the "state" as required by the federal statute governing the claim for deprivation of rights (Joseph Reinwand v. National Electrical Benefit Fund, et al., No. 16-3381, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6472).
GULFPORT, Miss. - In a case concerning an insurer's False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties' motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer sued the United States in a federal court in South Carolina on April 12, alleging that the government's actions to recover $37 million from the insolvent insurer are wrongful and contrary to one of the president's executive orders (Raymond G. Farmer, in his capacity as Liquidator of Consumbers' Choice Health Insurance Company, et al. v. The United States of America, et al., No. 17-cv-00956, D. S.C.).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - None of the approximately 185 emails between an insured and two of its environmental contractors are protected by the attorney-client privilege; however, a portion of the emails on are protected by the work product doctrine, an Indiana federal magistrate judge determined April 14 after conducting an in camera review of the emails sought by an insurer in an environmental contamination coverage dispute (Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Hartford Iron & Metal Inc., et al., No. 14-006, N.D. Ind.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57370).
SEATTLE - A majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 14 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that Idaho law applies to bar coverage for claims arising from an eye injury (Gary Butler v. North American Capacity Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-35131, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6465).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on April 13 granted a disability claimant's motion to amend a complaint to add a claim against a disability insurer after determining that the insurer will not be prejudiced by the amendment (Abraham Ghorbanian DDS v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-1396, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57015).
TACOMA, Wash. - In a coverage dispute between a condominium association and several "all-risk" insurers, a Washington federal judge on April 12 granted in part and denied in part summary judgment on two insurers' late notice defense but granted summary judgment entirely on their suit limitations defense (Eagle Harbour Condominium Association v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-5312, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56292).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The government is improperly withholding payments from, and setting off debts owed by, a failed South Carolina Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) co-operative insurer, illegally placing its own interests before those of policyholders and others entitled to priority, the insurer's liquidator allege in an April 12 federal complaint filed in South Carolina (Raymond G. Farmer, et al. v. The United States of America, et al., No. 17-956, D. S.C.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on April 13 found that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its lawyer insured against a legal malpractice lawsuit (Spiros E. Gonakis, Sr. v. Medmarc Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-2042, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56789).
PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer told a federal court in Pennsylvania on April 11 that its reinsured is incorrect in its assertions regarding a cession statement, which the reinsurer says is an essential element of the parties' reinsurance agreement (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Because a disability claimant submitted substantial evidence proving that she was disabled from her own occupation, the claimant is owed retroactive disability benefits for the 24-month period of disability under the own-occupation standard, a California federal judge said April 11 (Cathleen Murphy v. California Physicians Service, et al., No. 14-2581, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55431).
TRENTON, N.J. - Factual issues remain on whether damage caused by a window subcontractor manifested before or after an insurer's policy periods, a New Jersey federal judge ruled April 12, denying summary judgment to two insurers in a contribution lawsuit over defense costs incurred by the one insurer in a construction defects case (American Fire and Casualty Co. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-04696, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56450).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 12 remanded a disability claim to the plan administrator to determine whether the disability claimant was disabled under the plan's "any occupation" standard (Bertha Campos v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 15-8304, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56185).
PASADENA, Calif. - The San Francisco Forty Niners Football Co.'s primary commercial general liability insurer on April 12 filed a notice of appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a lower federal court's finding that it has duty to contribute by equal shares with another insurer to defense costs in an underlying lawsuit against the football team and others (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Great Divide Insurance Co., No. 17-1511, 9th Cir.).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on April 11 denied an insurer's motion for a protective order regarding a number of documents and communications sought by an insured seeking coverage for underlying asbestos claims after determining that the insurer failed to meet its burden of establishing that there is good cause for a protective order (The William Powell Co. v. National Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-807, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55148).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on April 11 denied an insured's motion for a preliminary injunction after determining that the insured has already shown that it can avoid suffering any irreparable harm by paying for its own site remediation contractor rather than switching to the insurers' choice of contractor while its lawsuit against its insurers is pending (Ranburn Corp. v. Argonaut Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-088, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54833).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A review of the communications between an insurer and its insured's counsel after the insurer was notified that the insured was pursuing a claim for underinsured motorist benefits does not support a claim of bad faith against the insurer, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge said April 10 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Tracey Ridolfi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-859, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54267).
PHILADELPHIA - An insured has failed to plead whether his insurance bad faith claim is a common-law contract law claim or a statutory claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 10 in dismissing the bad faith claim with leave to amend (Jeremy Z. Mittman v. Nationwide Affinity Insurance Co., No. 16-04658, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54220).