KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on Nov. 1 determined that a pollution liability insurer is entitled to the production of documents related to whether overlapping coverage exists under the policies at issue and what the insured's understanding of the policies at issue was when the policies were issued (Sunflower Redevelopment LLC v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-577, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180710).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 1 affirmed a lower court's ruling granting an insurer's motion to stay an insured's lawsuit seeking equine mortality coverage for a loss arising from the death of a horse and compelling arbitration (Lucky Star Horses, Inc., et al. v. Diamond State Insurance Co., No. 3D17-725, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 15718).
CHICAGO - Although the absence of a "suit" means that an insurer has no duty to defend a general contractor, an Illinois federal judge ruled Oct. 31 that the insurer failed to identify a limitation or exclusion that would preclude its duty to indemnify (Old Republic Insurance Co. v. Kenny Construction Co., No. 15-03524, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180412).
ATLANTA - An insolvent insurer's liquidator did not waive sovereign immunity under the Insurers Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act as to claims for payment of administrative expenses and attorney fees, a Georgia appeals panel ruled Oct. 31 (State of Georgia, et al. v. International Indemnity Co., Nos. A17A1195 & A17A1196, Ga. App., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 543).
CINCINNATI - The Ohio Supreme Court on Nov. 1 denied an insurer's petition to review an appellate court's ruling that an insured's liability for underlying asbestos claims arose from multiple occurrences (The William Powell Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., et al., No. 2017-0411, Ohio Sup.).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An insurer has no duty to defend its insured against underlying suits alleging injuries arising out of toxic emissions from the insured's lead-smelting plant because the policy's pollution exclusion clearly precludes coverage, the Missouri Supreme Court said Oct. 31 (The Doe Run Resources Corp. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., et. al., No. SC96107, Mo. Sup., 2017 Mo. LEXIS 488).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 31 dismissed a disability claimant's suit because the claimant failed to file an amended complaint pursuant to the court's prior order and because the claimant has not communicated with the court in nine months (Albert Yerke v. Aetna, No. 16-06512, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179958).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Oct. 30 rejected an insurer's argument that because an insured asserted a claim of bad faith against the insurer, which could subject the insurer to pay additional damages, the federal minimum amount in controversy has been met even though the insured's actual damages are only $11,500 (Ashley Gugino v. Government Employees Insurance Co., No. 17-2431, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180385).
MILWAUKEE - In a dispute where a state insurance fund argued that a policy above its own was reinsurance, a Wisconsin federal judge ruled Oct. 31 that an insurer breached an agreement with the fund by failing to pay a fire claim (State of Wisconsin Local Government Property Insurance Fund v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-142, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180096).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 31 reversed a district court's denial of attorney fees to a disability plan acting on behalf the plan participant after determining that the plan is entitled to collect the attorney fees it incurred as result of the disability insurer's appeal and that the district court's denial of attorney fees was an abuse of discretion (John Paul Micha M.D., v. Sun Life Assurance Of Canada, Inc., No. 16-55053, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21800).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Oct. 30 entered an order endorsing a settlement in which an insured agreed that certain underlying environmental contamination claims are not covered under two environmental hazard insurance policies issued to the insured in the 1980s (Travelers Indemnity Co., et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., Nos. 16-8778, 12-3040, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180486).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 30 dismissed a disability claimant's amended complaint after determining that the claims alleged against the disability insurer are barred by Florida's applicable statutes of limitations (Victor Gonzalez-Guzman v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 17-20107, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179259).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 27 reiterated that a section of Pennsylvania's motor vehicle statute "regulates insurance" and is therefore saved from preemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act but said that the plaintiffs' claim for breach of fiduciary duty based on a disability insurer's misrepresentations must be dismissed because it is not clear that the insurer misrepresented the terms of the plan at issue (Eric Yost, et al. v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 3:16-cv-00079, M.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178883).
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith when denying coverage under an automobile insurance policy for an insured who was injured in an automobile accident while traveling in a work vehicle because the accident was subject to a "regular use exception" in the policy, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Oct. 30 in granting the insurer's summary judgment motion (Douglas Reeves v. The Travelers Companies, No. 16-6448, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179720).
SEATTLE - An insurance policy does not exclude and, thus, covers the perils "faulty construction," "faulty maintenance" and "wet or dry rot," a Washington federal judge ruled Oct. 31, granting in part summary judgment to an insured (Westridge Townhomes Owners Association v. Great American Assurance Co., et al., No. 16-1011, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180373).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 31 allowed an errors and omissions insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit to proceed on whether coverage for underlying claims for federal antitrust violations are precluded by the policy's related claim and/or prior litigation exclusions (Allied World Specialty Insurance Company, formally known as Darwin National Assurance Company v. Independence Blue Cross, No.17-1463, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179962).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 30 affirmed a federal judge in Virginia's decisions finding a couple guilty of conspiring to commit health care fraud and denying their post-trial motions for acquittal, holding that the judge properly addressed whether misrepresentations the defendants made to insurers were material (United States of America v. Beth Palin, et al., Nos. 16-4522, 16-4540, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21596).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Oct. 27 affirmed a man's sentence of nine to 23 months in prison for insurance fraud and receiving stolen goods and allowed the man's attorney to withdraw from the case (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Tracy Martin, No. 3789 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 4013).
AUGUSTA, Ga. - An insurer claims in an Oct. 26 complaint filed in Georgia federal court that it has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying wrongful death lawsuit arising out of the release of liquid nitrogen at its insured's plant because the primary policy's total pollution exclusion and the hazardous or toxic materials exclusion clearly preclude coverage (Evanston Insurance Co. v. Xytex Tissue Services LLC, et al., No. 17-140, S.D. Ga.).
BOISE, Idaho - A federal judge in Idaho on Oct. 27 ordered a dentist to pay $847,016 in restitution and forfeit $139,769.80 after pleading guilty to 24 counts of health care fraud (United States of America v. Cherie Renee Dillon, No. 16-cr-0037, D. Idaho, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178810).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that development firms sufficiently pleaded the elements of a claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to the alleged overcharging of deductible fees, a California federal judge on Oct. 26 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss the claim (Bosa Development California Inc., et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 3:17-cv-00945, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177870).
SAN DIEGO - An insurer and a reinsurer in a joint motion filed Oct. 25 ask a California federal court to dismiss a single claim for injunctive relief against the reinsurer in an action seeking payment of a $3.2 million judgment over alleged breach of reinsurance agreements as a result of a series of fraudulent transfers (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165582).
NEW YORK - In a reinsurance coverage dispute for a trucking accident, an insurer on Oct. 26 filed a letter with a New York federal court, seeking an extension for it and a reinsurer on a discovery deadline because a dispute remains in the underlying action concerning any interest owed by the insurer (Endurance Assurance Corp. v. Florists' Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-09955, S.D. N.Y.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Oct. 25 granted an insured's motion to remand in an auto coverage suit after determining that the insurer's notice of removal was not timely filed because the insurer had knowledge when the insured filed the complaint in state court that the damages would exceed the federal jurisdictional minimum amount of $75,000 (Anthony Grazia v. Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois, No. 17-1130, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177179).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on Oct. 27 denied a motion to dismiss by four excess insurers involved in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that abstention is not warranted because a separate suit filed by the insured in Ohio state court is not duplicative of the insured's suit in Wisconsin federal court (Eaton Corp. v. Westport Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1157, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178366).