SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a coverage dispute between various insurers over their responsibility toward an underlying construction defects settlement, a California federal judge on March 7 addressed four summary judgment motions on multiple key issues from the duty to defend to the number of occurrences (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 15-02744, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32551).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on March 9 affirmed a jury's $15,000 award for breach of contract damages but reversed the jury's $20,000 award of actual damages that resulted from an insurer's alleged unfair settlement practices and the jury's award of additional damages of $60,000 that resulted from the finding that the insurer knowingly engaged in unfair settlement practices, rendering judgment that an insured take nothing as to the claims (State Farm Lloyds v. Dennis Webb, No. 09-15-00408-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1997).
CHICAGO - An insurer has no duty to indemnify a settlement of a faulty workmanship claim against a subcontractor, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 8, because claims of an insured's defective work resulting in damage to its own work do not constitute an "occurrence" caused by "property damage" (Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Co., et al. v. Metro North Condominium Association, No. 16-1868, 7th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court erred in granting a third party's motion for summary judgment on her breach of the implied duty to settle claim in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract lawsuit because no reasonable jury could conclude that the insurer "unreasonably failed to accept" the third party's offer to settle, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 7 in reversing (Amy J. McDaniel v. Government Employees Insurance Co., No. 14-17203, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4029).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 9 affirmed a district court's decision to grant judgment for insurers, finding that theft by a former vice president of a telecommunications firm was not covered under insurance policies and that the insurers did not act in bad faith (Telamon Corp. v. Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 16-1205 and 16-1815, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4207).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court denied an insurer's writ of mandamus seeking review of an appeals court's denial of its motion to disqualify an attorney and her law firm in a hailstorm coverage dispute, according to its March 10 orders pronounced (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 16-0190, Texas Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Following the final distribution of an insolvent insurer's assets, a Pennsylvania judge on March 8 released the state's insurance commissioner of her duties regarding the liquidation estate (In re: Commonwealth Insurance Co., No. 1 CIC 2014, Pa. Cmwlth.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on March 8 granted an insurer permission to file certain documents under seal, including deposition transcripts regarding an asbestos reinsurance dispute (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Company v. Century Indemnity Company as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-00170, D. Conn.).
PHILADELPHIA - Evidence supported an insurer's reliance on a "maintenance" exclusion to deny coverage for water damage caused by an insured's failure to maintain his furnace, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 6, affirming summary judgment in favor of the insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims handling (David Dougherty v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-2680, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3930).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A disability insurer's interpretation of a tolling provision to extend the 45-day time deadline to decide an administrative appeal was arbitrary and capricious, an Alabama federal judge said March 7 in partially adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation to deny the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Melissa Stevens v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co. [U.S.], No. 16-76, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31734).
HARTFORD, Conn. - In reversing a number of rulings entered by a trial court as part of the second phase of an asbestos and silica coverage dispute, the Connecticut Appellate Court on March 7 said the trial court construed the occupational disease exclusions too narrowly and erred in finding that the insured is responsible for defense costs from 1993 through 2007 when it was uninsured (R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. et al., Nos. AC 36749, AC 37140, AC 37141, AC 37142, AC 37143, AC 37144, AC 37145, AC 37146, AC 37147, AC 37148, AC 37149, AC 37150, AC 37151, Conn. App., 2017 Conn. App. LEXIS 59).
GREENVILLE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on March 3 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims in a dispute over uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for an underlying car accident (Bobby Lee Tucker Sr. v. Peerless Insurance Co., No. 13-1809, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30104).
PORTLAND, Maine - A federal judge in Maine on March 3 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that a man's material misrepresentations about where he resided and where he garaged the automobiles for which he was seeking coverage warranted rescission of the policy (Dairyland Insurance Company v. McArthur Sullivan, No. 16-cv-00050-JDL, D. Maine, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30116).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A nonparty insurer told a federal court in New York on March 7 that portions of the materials that an insurer in a reinsurance dispute wants to be placed under seal were publicly aired in a recent decision in a related case (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, and Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on March 6 determined that a disability claimant is entitled to more than $34,000 in attorney fees because the claimant was the prevailing party on motions for summary judgment (Charles Standish v. Federal Express Corp. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 6:15-cv-6226, W.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31400).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer's employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).
DETROIT - A jury should determine if an insured couple intended to defraud their insurance company when stating that they had decided to not move to Florida from Michigan to maintain coverage on their vehicle, a federal judge in Michigan ruled March 6 in denying IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment (IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company v. David P. Kaisch, et al., No. 15-11566, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31931).
SEATTLE - Based on the evidence presented, a jury could determine that an insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of an automobile insurance claim because a third-party claimant has shown that the insurer failed to respond to his policy-limit demand letters, a federal judge in Washington ruled March 6 in denying the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment (Anthony W. Hopkins v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-2014, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31451).
NEW YORK - An insurer on March 6 told a federal court in New York that the conviction of the insurer's chief operating officer on unrelated charges has no bearing on a dispute with a reinsurer over the confirmation or vacatur of an arbitration award (Certain Underwriting Members at Lloyd's, London v. Insurance Company of the Americas, No. 16-cv-00323, S.D. N.Y.).
HOUSTON - A man who posed as a physician as part of a $1.3 million Medicare fraud scheme was found guilty on counts of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks by a federal jury in Texas on March 3 (United States of America v. Nkiru Ibeabuchi, et al., No. 16-cr-114, S.D. Texas).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 2 determined that a district court did not err in allowing the reformation of a master services contract; however, the panel said the insurer was required to pay only a pro rata share of its insured's attorney fees incurred in the defense and settlement of a personal injury suit (Raylin Richard v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 16-30216, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3812).
COLUMBUS, OHIO - An Ohio federal judge on March 2 found that underlying product liability lawsuits against Big Lots Stores Inc. constitute separate occurrences under a commercial liability umbrella insurance policy, partly granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Big Lots Stores, Inc. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., No. 14-02635, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29675).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on March 6 denied insureds' motion seeking relief from a case management guideline rule that requires motions for summary judgment to be filed after the close of fact and expert discovery, finding that the insureds have failed to demonstrate special circumstances that would justify the filing of premature summary judgment motions (Livonia Public Schools, et al. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, No. 16-10324, E.D. Mich., Southern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31036).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 6 determined that an insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on its insureds' breach of contract claim because genuine issues of fact exist regarding whether the insureds suffered a direct financial loss and the extent of any damage caused when the insureds' washing machine overflowed (Corrine Michel Johnson, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, No. 15-1939, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30997).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 3 granted a pleadings filing extension to parties to a reinsurance dispute so the parties can continue settlement discussions (AmTrust North America, Inc., et al. v. Safebuilt Insurance Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-9494, S.D. N.Y.).