LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Declines To Seal Docs In Reinsurer, Insurer Dispute Over Asbestos Coverage

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Supporting documents pertaining to transcripts, arbitration filings and expert reports will not be sealed in a breach of contract dispute between an insurer and reinsurer over asbestos coverage, a New York federal judge ruled April 26 (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Waits To Address Motion To Strike Affidavit In Case Against Reinsurer

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Declining to strike an affidavit from a senior vice president of a reinsurer because it is inappropriate to address the motion at the summary judgment stage, a Connecticut federal judge said April 25 that she would address the arguments in her ruling on the motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract dispute between a reinsurer and insurer (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., f/k/a The Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Century Indemnity Co. as successor to Insurance Company of North America, No. 16-cv-170, D. Conn.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Declines To Seal Docs In Reinsurer, Insurer Dispute Over Asbestos Coverage

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Supporting documents pertaining to transcripts, arbitration filings and expert reports will not be sealed in a breach of contract dispute between an insurer and reinsurer over asbestos coverage, a New York federal judge ruled April 26 (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., No. 12-cv-00196, Munich Reinsurance America Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-cv-00743, N.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Refuses To Remand Fraud Claims Against CitiMortgage

HOUSTON - After determining that the amount in controversy met federal jurisdictional requirements, a Texas federal judge on April 20 refused to remand claims for breach of contract and fraud asserted by property owners against their mortgage lender (George Holland, et al. v. CitiMortgage Inc., No. 4:16-CV-3219, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60046).

Mealey's Insurance - Government Is Not Required To Make Future Payments After Insurer's Insolvency

WASHINGTON, D.C. - While the U.S. government contracted to purchase annuities to make future, monthly and periodic lump-sum payments under a settlement agreement, the government did not guarantee that it would make the future payments in the event of an insurer's insolvency, a judge in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held April 21 (William T. Hendrickson and Patricia Hendrickson v. The United States, No. 15-1406C, Fed. Clms, 2017 U.S. Claims LEXIS 369).

Mealey's Insurance - Louisiana Federal Judge Says Insured Failed To Prove Damage Was Covered

NEW ORLEANS - Because an insured failed to prove that heavy rains caused engine damage to a recreational vehicle and because the insured failed to submit a proof of loss for the claim, a Louisiana federal judge on April 19 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment on the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Henry Rosenthal v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-13732, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59564).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - New York Federal Judge Grants Insurers' Motion To Withdraw Bankruptcy Reference

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on April 17 granted a motion filed by two insurers to withdraw an insured's adversary proceeding from bankruptcy court because the bankruptcy court does not have the authority to decide the breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against the insurers in the adversary proceeding (Phillip Michael Scott v. AIG Property Casualty Co., et al., No. 17-1052, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58339).

Mealey's Insurance - New York Federal Judge Grants Insurers' Motion To Withdraw Bankruptcy Reference

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on April 17 granted a motion filed by two insurers to withdraw an insured's adversary proceeding from bankruptcy court because the bankruptcy court does not have the authority to decide the breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against the insurers in the adversary proceeding (Phillip Michael Scott v. AIG Property Casualty Co., et al., No. 17-1052, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58339).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses Contract Claims Against Financial Adviser, Allows Amendment

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on April 18 granted a motion filed by an investment advising company to dismiss claims for fraud and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) asserted by a technical services company and a wealth management company in relation to an underlying service agreement, finding that the claims lacked the required facts to support the allegations (SVGRP LLC, et al. v. Sowell Financial Services, LLC, et al., No.5:16-cv-07302, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59271).

Mealey's Insurance - 11th Circuit: Insurer Owes No Defense, Indemnity For Negligent Home Inspection

ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify a home inspector against allegations that an insufficient inspection failed to discover defective conditions prior to a home sale, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 17, finding that the inspector's negligence did not cause any covered "property damage" (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Ralph Gage Contracting Inc., et al., No. 16-15442, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6528).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Man Sues Restaurant After Developing E. Coli From Chicken And Rice

BOSTON - A man who contracted E. coli after eating chicken and rice from a restaurant filed suit against the restaurant in a Massachusetts state court on April 18, claiming that the restaurant failed to protect him by serving contaminated food (Trevor Bryant v. Chicken and Rice Guys LLC, No. 1784CV01184, Mass. Super. Suffolk Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Company: Causation Lacking In Lawsuit Related To Cancer From Benzene Exposure

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company being sued by a North Carolina man who contends that he contracted cancer as a result of groundwater contamination for which the man says the company is liable on April 17 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs cannot show causation (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company: Causation Lacking In Lawsuit Related To Cancer From Benzene Exposure

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A company being sued by a North Carolina man who contends that he contracted cancer as a result of groundwater contamination for which the man says the company is liable on April 17 filed a brief in North Carolina federal court, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs cannot show causation (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 14-48, W.D. N.C.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Colorado High Court Says Privity Needed For Homeowner To Sue Developer

DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on April 17 ruled that a homeowner who claims that his basement is uninhabitable due to water in his basement cannot pursue a claim against the developer for breach of the implied warranty of suitability, finding that the homeowner did not have privity to a contract between the developer and the home builder (Forest City Stapleton Inc. v. Tad S. Rogers, No. 15SC1089, Colo. Sup., 2017 Colo. LEXIS 281).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 6th Circuit: Modification Of Consent Decree For Power Plants Violated Agreement

CINCINNATI - The modification of a consent decree that extended the deadline for upgrades to one of two coal-burning power plants in Rockport, Ind., violated a contract between owners and operators of the facility because it would require the owners to make the improvements and pay for them after expiration of the lease, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 14 (Wilmington Trust Company, et al. v. AEP Generating Company, et al., No. 16-3496, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6426).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Dismisses Counterclaim In Tobacco Contract Suit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on April 13 found that a cigar company that filed a counterclaim against the owner of several properties in Nevada failed to state a "cognizable" counterclaim in a suit where the property owner claimed that the cigar company failed to collect taxes on tobacco products as required by Nevada law (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56886).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Bad Faith Claim Insufficient In Auto Insurance Dispute

PHILADELPHIA - An insured has failed to plead whether his insurance bad faith claim is a common-law contract law claim or a statutory claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 10 in dismissing the bad faith claim with leave to amend (Jeremy Z. Mittman v. Nationwide Affinity Insurance Co., No. 16-04658, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54220).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fact Issues Exist On If Independent Counsel Is Required For Insured's Defense

CHICAGO - In an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its commercial general liability insurer, an Illinois federal judge ruled April 11 that the parties failed to provide evidence to clear up genuine issues of material fact regarding whether independent counsel should be appointed for an insured in an underlying construction defects case (DePasquale Steel Erectors Inc. v. Gemini Insurance Co., No. 16-10892, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54917).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Estopped From Use Of Subcontractors Exception Based On Improper Info

PHOENIX - An insurer is estopped from asserting a coverage defense to a homeowner's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit based on the subcontractors exclusion because the information relevant to that defense was improperly disclosed by an insured contractor's counsel, a visiting Alaska federal judge to the Arizona federal court ruled April 10 (Karen Cosgrove v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 14-2229, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54479).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Damages Opinion In Insurance Coverage Dispute On Bad Faith, Contract Claims

WACO, Texas - After excluding testimony on damages for failing to determine whether property damage "is cosmetic or functional damage," a Texas federal judge on April 6 granted summary judgment to an insurer on breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and statutory claims but denied summary judgment on a breach of contract claim (Stephen Hahn v. United Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-00218, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53178).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Panel: Insurer Breached Duty To Defend Claims Of Suspicious 'Flip' Transactions

CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 found that an errors and omissions liability insurer has a duty to defend against underlying claims that its title insurance agency insured executed real estate "flip" transactions "contrary to the spirit and purpose" of its agency contract (Title Industry Assurance Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., et al., No. 15-3310, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6092).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Insurer Breached Duty To Defend Claims Of Suspicious 'Flip' Transactions

CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 found that an errors and omissions liability insurer has a duty to defend against underlying claims that its title insurance agency insured executed real estate "flip" transactions "contrary to the spirit and purpose" of its agency contract (Title Industry Assurance Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., et al., No. 15-3310, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6092).

Mealey's Insurance - 4th Circuit: Insured's Faulty Design Of Student Housing Foundation Is Covered

RICHMOND, Va. - A professional liability insurance policy provided coverage for a general contractor's liability for defective design of a building's foundation, which resulted in the contractor becoming responsible to pay $1.77 million as part of the costs to repair, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 4, affirming summary judgment on an insured's breach of contract counterclaim (Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Clancy & Theys Construction Co., Nos. 15-2299 & 15-2373, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5796).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information

PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information

PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).