PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer argues in a Sept. 20 reply brief that a Pennsylvania federal court should allow it leave to amend its answer to an insurer's breach of contract counterclaims so that it can assert a statute of limitations defense and that it did not agree to reinsure an excess umbrella policy (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 19 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss as it pertained to the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the insured presented sufficient evidence that she sustained damages as a result of the insurer's conduct in the handling of her property damage claim (Jennifer Pratts v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-2385, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151650).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - No coverage is afforded for damages to an insured's property caused by the collapse of liquid propane tanks into a sinkhole because the sinkhole was caused by excess rainfall, which is clearly precluded under the policy's flood exclusion, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Sept. 18 in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on claims of breach of contract and bad faith (Heller's Gas Inc. v. International Insurance Company of Hannover Ltd., et al., No. 15-1350, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151072).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 18 affirmed a ruling in which a district court found that a motorman who was injured while working aboard a vessel must arbitrate his claims against his employer in the Philippines pursuant to his employment contract (Rodrigo R. Pagaduan v. Carnival Corporation, et al., No. 16-465, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17981).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A cosmetics company is not entitled to summary judgment on a woman's claim that she contracted a methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) infection from a makeover at one of the company's stores, an Ohio federal judge held Sept. 15 after finding that the opinions of the woman's causation experts are sufficiently reliable to be admitted at trial (Susan Welch Kelly, et al. v. Bare Escentuals Beauty, Inc., et al., No. 2:14-cv-1359, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150060).
CHICAGO - A disability insurer did not breach its contract or act unreasonably by terminating a claimant's total disability benefits because the evidence shows that the claimant was able to undertake a number of mentally and physically demanding activities, an Illinois federal judge said Sept. 14 (Henry G. Fiorentini v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 15-3292, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149392).
MACON, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Sept. 15 denied a homeowners insurer's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it committed breach of contract by refusing to assess and pay for the diminished value of the insureds' home caused by wind and/or hail damage (Tonya Long v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 17-28, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149594).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Sept. 14 denied a developer's request to disqualify counsel hired by a tenant who asserts claims for breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to two leases, finding that the counsel did not complete any ongoing work for the developer after obtaining the tenant as a client (Regal Cinemas Inc. v. Shops at Summerlin North LP, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02854, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149497).
STANTON, Ky. - A Kentucky Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 15 vacated certification of a class of customers suing United Propane Gas Inc. for breach of contract and other violations, finding the trial court's certification was deficient under Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure 23.01, 23.02 and 23.03 (United Propane Gas, Inc. v. Faye Purcell, et al., No. 2016-CA-001037-MR, Ky. App., 2017 Ky. App. LEXIS 523).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal magistrate judge on Sept. 13 dismissed an insured's suit seeking coverage for fire damage to the insured's home after determining that the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith cannot stand because the evidence shows that the policy at issue was canceled before the fire occurred (Elizabeth Davis v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-2226, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147897).
SAN FRANCISCO - Victims and surviving family members of the June 14 shooting at a San Francisco United Parcel Service Inc. warehouse filed multiple lawsuits on Sept. 12 in a California state court against UPS, the owner of the building and the company UPS contracted to provide security services, claiming that each defendant failed to protect the employees and allowed a man with a gun to enter the building and open fire (Sandy Lim, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., et al., No. CGC-17-561241; Alvin Chen, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. CGC-17-561241-245; Peter Tran v. United Parcel Service Inc., et al., No. CGC-17-561247; Ryan Bailey, et al. v. United Parcel Service, et al., No. CGC-17-561237, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - Although an insured's claim for breach of contract does not exceed the federal jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy of $75,000, a New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 12 refused to dismiss the insured's complaint, noting that if the insured is successful in proving that the insurer acted in bad faith in handling an underinsured motorist claim, the amount in controversy could exceed $75,000 (Beth Gussman v. Government Employees Insurance Co., No. 16-8563, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146995).
WICHITA, Kan. - An insured seeking coverage for hailstorm damage to two commercial buildings is permitted to amend its complaint to add claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the addition of the claims would not be futile and the insurers will not be prejudiced as a result of the amendment, a Kansas federal judge said Sept. 8 (Flex Financial Holding Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC et al., No. 15-7205, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145349).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - In a dispute over a series of insurance and reinsurance contracts, a Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 12 declined to enforce a forum selection clause in a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) because it does not apply to the bulk of an insured's claims against its workers' compensation insurer and its affiliates (Charter Oak Oil Co. Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 17-00689, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147181).
DALLAS - A staffing agency that provided a prep cook to a hospital while in the midst of contract negotiations to provide additional staff may not proceed with retaliation and bias claims against the hospital because it lacked an employment relationship, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 7 (White Glove Staffing, Inc., et al. v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, et al., No. 17-1158, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144706).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 7 ordered a nonprofit public insurer and a reinsurer to arbitrate a $1.3 million breach of contract lawsuit based upon an arbitration clause in a reinsurance agreement (Alabama Municipal Insurance Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 16-00948, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144748).
PHILADELPHIA - Sunoco Inc. is not a party to the contract between customers and Citibank for Sunoco-branded credit cards and cannot compel arbitration of a customer's class claims over promised promotions under the card agreement's arbitration clause, a split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 5 (Donald White, et al. v. Sunoco, Inc., No. 16-2808, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17098).
UTICA, N.Y. - In a dispute over an underlying $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, an insurer argues in a Sept. 1 motion that a New York federal judge should exclude testimony from a reinsurer's former employee because he has no personal involvement in the contracts (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A judge improperly concluded that ambiguity in a contract provision governing how hundreds of asbestos plaintiffs would compensate their counsel overcame class action claims arising from the attorneys' imposition of an additional fee, the Alabama Supreme Court held Sept. 1 in once again reinstating the case (Mary Hall, et al. v. Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., No. 1151077, Ala. Sup., 2017 Ala. LEXIS 81).
NEW ORLEANS - The fire chief of a Louisiana volunteer department may proceed with his procedural due process claim over his firing, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 5, finding that a trial court erred when it ruled at the summary judgment stage that an unexecuted contract was inadmissible (David S. Mauer v. Nicholas J. Muscarello, Sr., et al., No. 16-30673, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17142).