ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico federal judge on Jan. 17 bifurcated an insured's breach of contract claim from the insured's bad faith claim in an auto coverage dispute after determining that bifurcation is warranted because under New Mexico law, a finding of breach of contract is necessary for a bad faith claim to survive (Steve P. Shultzaberger v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-1028, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7915).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A lawyer's breach of contract claims arise from his allegation that his employer-provided health plan improperly denied coverage for cancer treatments and is preempted, a federal judge in South Carolina held Jan. 16 while retaining jurisdiction over the remaining claims as well (Daniel E. Speights, et al. v. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, No. 17-594, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6379).
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals on Jan. 16 reversed a trial court's ruling in favor of insurers on fraud and bad faith claims because the insured's claims are based on the behavior of the insurer defendants in a separate breach of contract lawsuit and were not filed in an attempt to impermissibly attack the judgment in the breach of contract lawsuit (Kimberly S. Earl,et al., v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 36A01-1703-CT-542, Ind. App., 2018 Ind. App. LEXIS 9).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - With regard to settlements of underlying asbestos claims, two reinsurers breached their contract by failing to pay their share of losses, an insurer says in its Jan. 16 complaint filed in Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00088, D. Conn.).
LOS ANGELES - An emergency health services provider relies on "phantom allegations" and evidence outside the complaint in opposing dismissal of implied-in-fact contract and quantum meruit claims, a South Carolina insurer told a California federal judge on Jan. 17 (Long Beach Memorial Medical Center v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina Inc., et al., No. 17-8181, C.D. Calif.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A reinsurer breached its contract by refusing to pay its share of losses arising out of the settlement of asbestos claims, an insurer says in a Jan. 16 complaint filed in the Connecticut federal court (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-00087, D. Conn.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a joint motion to dismiss a petition to vacate and a cross-petition to confirm a $18,068,685 international arbitral award issued in a dispute over a contract for the excavation of tunnels as part of a project for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala (Cobra Infraestructuras Hidraulicas S.A. v. Societa Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici, S.p.A., et al., No. 17-23664, S.D. Fla.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a petition filed by General Electric Co. to confirm a $3,051,817.22 arbitral award issued against Japanese entities in relation to their failure to defend and indemnify GE pursuant to the terms of a manufacturing contract for appliances (General Electric Company v. Sampo Corporation, et al., No. 16-CV-2456, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6017).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mandatory public-sector agency fees for employees who choose not to join a union where the fees are used to support collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment are constitutionally sound, respondents in an agency fee appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court argue in two separate briefs filed Jan. 12 (Mark Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al., No. 16-1466, U.S. Sup.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A Range Rover owner who alleged that the car marker's contract for buyers barring them from reselling their vehicles overseas violates the Sherman Act and numerous state antitrust and consumer protection laws may not proceed with his class claims because he failed to allege actions that restrained trade or identify a cognizable relevant market, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Jan. 9 (Brian Baar v. Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, et al., No. 17-4142, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3867).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 11 refused to dismiss for failure to join indispensable parties an insurer's lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured in a breach of contract case (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co. v. Dover Roofing & General Remodeling Exteriors Unlimited Inc., No. 17-228, M.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4814).
SAN FRANCISCO - Insureds' claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit over coverage under a homeowners insurance and a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) are preempted by federal law, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 10 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Alicia Martin, et al. v. CSAA Insurance Exchange, No. 17-4066, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4675).
LOS ANGELES - A building materials supplier accused of selling defective flagstone to a couple's masonry subcontractor cannot obtain attorney fees from the plaintiffs after prevailing on its breach of warranty claim, a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, holding that an agreement between the seller and the subcontractor only conferred a right to the parties in the contract to those fees (Jeffrey Prince, et al. v. Thompson Building Materials, No. B280813, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2nd Div., 2018 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 150).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insurer paid full coverage limits for mold remediation under the terms of a homeowners insurance policy and, thus, could not have acted in bad faith, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 10 in affirming (Mary Ann Andrews, et al. v. Merchants Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-1413, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 637).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a California natural plant company's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and fraud against a group of companies and their officer in relation to a distribution agreement arose directly under an underlying contract, a California federal judge on Jan. 8 compelled the claims against one business entity to arbitration in Hong Kong (Everest Biosynthesis Group LLC, dba Natural Plant Extracts v. Biosynthesis Pharma Group Limited, et al., No. 17cv1466, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3258).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 9 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for flood damage caused by a May 2015 storm in Houston, finding that the lawsuit is untimely (Ali Ekhlassi v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1257, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3568).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 4 upheld a jury award of more than $550,000 for a Georgia apartment complex on its breach of contract claim against an insurer for not paying enough to replace hail-damaged shingles, finding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in any of its Daubert rulings (The Grand Reserve of Columbus, LLC v. Property-Owners Insurance Company, No. 17-10264, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 217).
CINCINNATI - An ordinance outlining the city of Cincinnati's requirements for the award of construction contracts for water works jobs is not subject to preemption by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the city was acting as a proprietor rather than a regulator, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 4 in reversing a district court's ruling (Allied Construction Industries v. City of Cincinnati, Nos. 2016-4248, 2016-4249, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 214).
NEW YORK - In a dispute over reinsurance proceeds allegedly owed to an insolvent insurer, a liquidator on Jan. 2 asserted a breach of contract claim in a New York federal court against a holding company based upon its alleged assumption of facultative reinsurance agreements and subsequent breach of those agreements (Roger A. Sevigny v. Trygvesta Forsikring A/S, Trygvesta Forsikring A/S v. Cerberus Holding Company LLC., No. 16-04874, S.D. N.Y.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 3 affirmed a district court's judgment that a health fund was required to pay excess assets to a new employee welfare trust fund because the payment of the excess funds was required by the contract at issue and not by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as the district court determined (Greenbrier Hotel Corp., et al. v. Unite Here Health, et al., Nos. 16-2116, 17-1720, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 105).