TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 22 denied an insurer's motion to exclude expert testimony on sinkhole damage, finding that the expert's methodology is reliable and that the testimony will assist a trier of fact (Goetz D. Vehse v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. 8:16-cv-599, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24483).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 21 ordered a car manufacturer to show cause as to why its claims for violation of California's unfair competition law and trademark infringement should not be transferred to another venue (BMW of North America, LLC, et al. v. Michael Chambers, et al., No. 17-0846, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24096).
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Feb. 21 granted a professional liability insurer's motion to stay discovery pending resolution of its motion for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for an underlying breach of contract suit brought against the insured by a former business partner (Doug Schwegman, d/b/a Schwegman Insurance and Financial Services v. Continental Casualty Co., No. 16-0730, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23780).
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Georgia on Feb. 22 held that an insurer has failed to show that defendants misappropriated trade secrets to establish a competing business or that they violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), dismissing the insurer's lawsuit with prejudice (HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. v. Valda Flowers, et al., No. 15-3262, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24852).
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 21 partially granted a motion to exclude testimony on damages in a patent infringement case, but found that most of the expert's opinions did not justify exclusion under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms. Inc. before trial (Saint Lawrence Communications LLC v. ZTE Corp., et al., No. 2:15-cv-349, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23505).
NEW YORK - A group of London market reinsurers on Feb. 20 brought to the attention of a federal court in New York that the lead witness in a reinsurance arbitration has recently been convicted of conspiracy and securities and wire fraud (Certain Underwriting Members at Lloyd's, London v. Insurance Company of the Americas, No. 16-cv-00323, S.D. N.Y.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Feb. 17 found that most of Amtrak's claims of attorney-client privilege should be sustained with some exceptions, adopting the majority of a special master's report and recommendation in a coverage dispute over environmental contamination (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al., v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al., No. 14-4717, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23680).
CINCINNATI - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s reinsurance program applies to state employers, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 17 (The State of Ohio, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-3093, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2844).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 21 acknowledged a stipulation and ended the appeal of a judgment debtor that opposed a $7.8 million lower court ruling against it (AmTrust North America, Inc. and Technology Insurance Company, Inc., as judgment creditors of Pacific Re, Inc. on behalf of its protected cell Pac Re 5-AT v. Safebuilt Insurance Services Inc., No. 16-4070, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Feb. 21 found that an insurer failed to demonstrate prima facie that all of its restaurant insured's claimed losses were caused by flood waters resulting from Superstorm Sandy (Pastabar Cafe Corporation v 343 East 8th Street Associates, LLC, et al. No. 2899, 652078/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1285).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 21 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's ruling in a dispute over excess coverage for a settlement demand in an underlying racial discrimination lawsuit against the city of Montebello, Calif. (Security National Insurance Co. v. City of Montebello, Nos. 15-56199 and 15-56263, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2965).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a district court did not err in determining that a disability plan did not wrongfully terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits (Elizabeth Jenkins v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al., No. 16-682, U.S. Sup.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Feb. 17 found that coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured was negligent in the provision of settlement services for the sale of a home is barred by a professional liability insurance policy's exclusion for "insufficiency in the amount of the proceeds" (Resource Real Estate Services, LLC v. Evanston Insurance Co., No. 16-168, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22920).
SAN FRANCISCO - California's insurance commissioner asked one of his state's courts on Feb. 17 to declare an insurer insolvent and order its liquidation (Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. CastlePoint National Insurance Company, and DOES 1-50, No. CPF-16-515183, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because a third-party's claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey ruled Feb. 17 (North Jersey Brain & Spine Center v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1544, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22710).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on Feb. 16 approved the commutation of certain reinsurance contracts covering third-party construction defect claims in an agreement between a reinsurer and an insolvent insurer (In the matter of the liquidation of Legion Indemnity Co., No. 02 CH 06695, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chanc. Div.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 partly reversed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the collapse of an airport terminal during construction (Indianapolis Airport Authority v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, No. 16-2675, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2856).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The denial of a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the claimant was provided with a fair review procedure and substantial evidence supports the denial of benefits, an Ohio federal judge said Feb. 14 in granting the plan's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Angela Schofield v. Nationwide Insurance Cos., et al., No. 16-371, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20687).
SAN FRANCISCO - Claims against a mutually insured subcontractor for damage caused by "subsidence" are excluded under an insurance policy, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 14, finding that an insurer had no duty to defend and thus was not responsible to share in costs incurred by a defending insurer (St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-56723, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2586).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Unable to determine from the evidence provided whether an insured's disability benefits plan is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a federal judge in New Mexico on Feb. 14 converted the insurer's motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and ordered supplemental briefing (Sherry Evans-Carmichael v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., No. 16-276, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20599).
ATLANTA - A disability claimant is not entitled to benefits under a policy's lifetime sickness rider because the claimant is residually disabled and not totally disabled as required for benefits under the rider, a Georgia federal judge said Feb. 15 (William F. Nefsky v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 15-2119, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21152).
DENVER - Because an insured failed to establish that it suffered water damage to "covered property" at a renovation project under a builders risk policy, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 16 affirmed a Colorado federal judge's finding that the insurer properly denied coverage and did not breach its contract (Gerald H. Phipps, Inc. d/b/a GH Phipps Construction Co. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 16-1039, 10th Cir.).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court refused to revisit its ruling in a hailstorm coverage dispute that directed a lower court to vacate the part of its discovery order compelling production of management reports and emails and to re-evaluate the issue of sanctions against the insurer, according to its Feb. 17 orders pronounced (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 15-0452, Texas Sup.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Feb. 13 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claims for bad faith in an environmental coverage dispute because the judge previously found that the insurer breached it duty to defend and any estoppel argument is now irrelevant to the disposal of the insured's bad faith claims (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. C14-1957, W.D. Wash.).
DALLAS - Finding that an insured improperly joined an insurance adjuster in a dispute over coverage for storm damage, a Texas federal judge on Feb. 14 denied the insured's motion to remand and dismissed the claims against the adjuster without prejudice (Hutchins Warehouse Limited Partners v. American Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3336, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20417).