AKRON, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge held July 13 that the June 11, 1998, filing of rape and murder charges against a wrongfully convicted man triggered excess insurance coverage for a malicious prosecution claim against the City of Barberton, Ohio, and its police officers (Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast v. RLI Insurance Co., No. 12-02126, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90572).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on July 10 denied a disability insurer's motion to dismiss claims for punitive damages because the claimant sufficiently pleaded facts in support of the claims for punitive damages and the insurer failed to prove that the claimant should be precluded from seeking the requested damages (Sarah Copeland v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 15-01487, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90764).
ATLANTA - A disability insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for long-term disability benefits because the claimant did not carry his burden of proving that he was entitled to long-term benefits under the plan at issue, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said July 10 (Greg Oliver v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-15259, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11939).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on July 13 held that underlying claims involving religious discrimination against the Town of Colorado City, Ariz., trigger its insurers' duty to defend (St. Paul Guardian Insurance Company, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Town of Colorado City, et al., No.13-08297, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90526).
DETROIT - Two experts for an insurer and insured homeowners can testify that a fire that damaged the insureds' home was caused by a faulty charger for a hand-held vacuum cleaner because the experts' methods are reliable and their opinions will help the jury, a Michigan federal judge ruled July 13 (Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, et al., v. Black & Decker [U.S.], Inc., No. 13-cv-14312, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90188).
TRENTON, N.J. - Finding that there is no substantial nexus between underlying allegations against an insured and the professional services performed by the insured as public adjuster, a New Jersey appeals panel on July 9 affirmed a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to defend against underlying negligence claims (North Jersey Public Adjusters Inc. v. Philadelphia Insurance Company, No. A-5835-11T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1662).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on July 13 dismissed an insured's breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer regarding coverage for an underlying settlement of a construction defects case because there is currently pending a similar lawsuit involving the same parties and claims (Kuepers Construction Inc. and Interlachen Propertyowners Association Inc. v. State Auto Insurance Co., No. 15-449, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90423).
LOS ANGELES - California's insurance commission asked a California court on July 9 to approve a $200 million settlement on behalf of an insolvent insurer with a foreign-owned bank (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. Executive Life Insurance Company, No. BS 006912, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Bifurcation of bad faith and unfair trade practices act claims from insurance coverage claims is not warranted because bifurcation would not promote judicial economy or avoid prejudice, a federal judge in West Virginia ruled July 13 (Bronzie Toler v. Government Employees Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-29582, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90274).
NEW YORK - A policy's consent provision requiring an insured to obtain an insurer's consent prior to incurring any expenses for environmental contamination cleanup costs and requiring the insurer not to unreasonably withhold consent is not void as a matter of public policy and must be enforced as written, a New York federal judge said July 13 (SI Venture Holdings LLC v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-2261, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89925).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held July 13 that relators' allegations and trial evidence extend far beyond the realm of one bellwether claim under the False Claims Act and entitles them to at least some additional discovery, reversing a lower federal court in part in a qui tam action alleging that an insurer submitted false Hurricane Katrina flood claims to the U.S. government (U.S., ex rel. Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 14-60160, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12060).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on July 13 ruled that there is no actual controversy between a commercial general liability insurer and two insurers and an insured with regard to faulty work claims arising from damage to a dental facility (Essex Insurance Co. v. Sheppard & Sons Construction Inc., et al., No. 12-1022, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90401).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on July 10 determined that an insured's subsidiary is not a third-party beneficiary under a policy because the policy did not name the beneficiary as an insured and there is no evidence that the insured made any promises to the subsidiary that it would be covered for environmental liabilities under the policy (Chartis Specialty Insurance Co. v. Tesoro Corp., et al., Nos. 11-00927, 12-00256, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89642).
LAS VEGAS - An earth movement exclusion precludes an insurer's duty to defend an underlying construction defects case, a Nevada federal judge ruled July 10; however, the judge declined to grant costs associated with the insurer's right to reimbursement (Probuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al. v. Double M. Construction d/b/a Classic Homes, No. 13-2156, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90580).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled July 10, because an insured has failed to show that her insurer failed to comply with the terms of her homeowners insurance policy (Lyndee Harrison v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 14-1219, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89721).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 13 overturned a jury's verdict finding a doctor guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, ruling that the government's evidence presented at trial did not support the finding without undue speculation (United States of America v. Jose Lopez-Diaz, et al., Nos. 13-2113, 13-2118, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12053).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada doctor at the center of a hepatitis C outbreak at his endoscopy clinic was sentenced July 9 to 71 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in restitution for conspiracy to commit health care fraud by overbilling for anesthesia time, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada (United States of America v. Dipak Desai, M.D., No. 11-cr-166, D. Nev.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A reinsurer told a federal court in Connecticut on July 10 that its reinsured failed to take good faith and businesslike steps in settling certain environmental loss and damage claims against its underlying insured (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-cv-00275, D. Conn.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 refused to entertain an automotive glass repair company insured's appeal of an order that confirmed an arbitration award for one of 482 partially paid auto glass claims, finding that it lacks jurisdiction to decide whether a lower federal court improperly found that a two-year statute of limitations applied to consolidated auto glass invoice claims (Alpine Glass Inc. v. Country Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-2578, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11904).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a more significant relationship than the State of New York with the parties involved in an asbestos coverage dispute, Pennsylvania law must be applied when determining whether a duty to indemnify exists, a Pennsylvania federal judge said July 9 (York International Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 1:10-CV-0692, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88847).
DENVER - An insurer waived its right to remove an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit regarding coverage for water intrusion at a construction project based upon the policy's service-of-suit endorsement, a Colorado federal judge ruled July 8 (Elevation Builders Inc. v. Companion Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-00490, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89885).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - An insured's former first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer is entitled to recover the $5 million it paid to settle an underlying securities action plus prejudgment interest from the insured's latter first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer, a California federal judge ruled July 8 (Genesis Insurance Co. v. Magma Design Automation, Inc., et al., No. 06-05526, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88769).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found July 10 that an insurer has no duty to defend its university insured against underlying claims that it conspired to kidnap a minor because the underlying complaint fails to allege an "occurrence" and triggers the policy's intentional and criminal acts exclusions, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling against the insurer (Liberty University, Inc. v. Citizens Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-2254, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11888).
SAN FRANCISCO - A contractor was not an additional insured to a subcontractor's insurance policy for coverage purposes in a construction defects case, a California federal judge ruled July 9, finding that the insurer's underwriter did not have authority to grant an insurance broker the ability to bind an additional insured endorsement (Navigators Specialty Insurance Co. v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-03499, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89449).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend an insured contractor against claims arising from damage to a dental facility because alleged faulty workmanship is an accident that may give rise to coverage, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled July 9, also finding that questions remain as to the application of a "damage to property" exclusion (Essex Insurance Co. v. Sheppard & Sons Construction Inc., et al., No. 12-1022, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89096).