NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Insureds sufficiently assert claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against their homeowners insurer for its denial of coverage for damages sustained by cracking in their basement wall, a Connecticut federal judge held Sept. 28 (Raymond G. Gabriel and Kimberly A. Gabriel v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-01435, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129952).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because the insureds violated the fraud and misrepresentation provisions of their automobile insurance policy, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 24 (Ali Almazni, et al. v. United Financial Casualty Co., et al., No. 14-0975, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129562).
FORT WORTH, Texas - Dismissal of claims against an insurance adjuster in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because an insured failed to state a claim for relief, a federal judge in Texas ruled Sept. 28 (Yolanda Aguilar v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 15-565, N.D. Texas; 2-015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130384).
SAN DIEGO - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because an insured is first required to bring his claims to arbitration under the arbitration provision of the insurance policy, a federal judge in California ruled on Sept. 25 (David Peffer v. Philadelphia Indemnity Co., No. 14-2980, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129531).
LAKELAND, Fla. - An all-risk insurance policy does not cover claims for damages caused by Chinese drywall in a home, a Florida appeals panel ruled Sept. 25, affirming judgment to the insurer on a breach of contract claim (William R. Peek and Stacey Peek v. American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida, No. 2D14-780, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 14147).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An insurer has a duty to defend insureds against breach of contract and fraud claims, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Sept. 23, also certifying questions to the state's high court on whether faulty workmanship resulting in property damage constitutes an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy (Columbia Insurance Group, Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company, Inc. v. Cenark Project Management Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127573).
NEW YORK - An arbitration clause in an employment agreement signed by workers who were made employees after working as independent contractors is not binding on events that occurred before the signing, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 22, upholding a decision by the district court (Jan P. Holick Jr., et al. v. Cellular Sales of New York, LLC, et al., No. 14-4323, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16815).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Agreeing with the reasoning in California Gas Co. v. Syntellect Inc. (534 F. App'x 637, 638-39 [9th Cir. 2013]), a Delaware federal judge on Sept. 22 granted a breach of contract plaintiff - accused in related litigation of patent infringement - summary judgment on a defendant's attempt to invoke the affirmative defenses of apportionment and comparative fault (Seagate Technology Holdings Inc. v. Syntellect Inc., No. 12-1686, D. Del.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126393).
WORCESTER, Mass. - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 22 granted a building designer's motion to compel arbitration on its claims that a subcontractor defectively installed exterior sheeting, finding that the contract between the parties contained an arbitration clause and because the defendants were unable to show that the plaintiff waived the arbitration provisions (Cutler Associates Inc. v. Palace Construction LLC, et al., No. 15-40021-TSH, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126682).
CHICAGO - After finding that a $4,010,227.78 arbitration award issued in India in favor of a company in relation to a dispute over a contract for the purchase of caustic soda lye was enforceable in Illinois, an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 23 confirmed the award and denied a chemical company's motion for summary judgment denying enforcement (National Aluminum Co. Ltd. v. Peak Chemical Corporation Inc., No. 14-cv-01314, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127060).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Sept. 18 found that a solar corporation's claims against two Chinese entities were directly related to an underlying arbitration agreement and that its breach of contract claims were properly removed to federal court (Sunvalley Solar Inc. v. CEEG [Shanghai] Solar, et al., No. 15-5099, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125199).
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A Tennessee jury on Sept. 17 returned a defense verdict in a case alleging exposure to asbestos during contract work at a Honeywell International Inc. predecessor's brake-manufacturing facility, sources told Mealey Publications (Nancy Harriss, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 14C771, Tenn. Cir., Hamilton Co.).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge held Sept. 17 that an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured's snack trays failed to conform to a contractually specified and required performance standards sounds in breach of contract and fails to allege an "occurrence" pursuant to primary and excess commercial general liability insurance policies, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington, D.C., Plaintiff, v. Tray-Pak Corporation, No. 13-3711, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124192).
LANSING, Mich. - An insurer and one of its reinsurers told a federal court in Michigan on Sept. 15 that their $1.9 million reinsurance breach of contract suit should be dismissed (Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company v. Westport Insurance Corporation, No. 14-cv-00151, W.D. Mich.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Sept. 17 upheld a trial court judge's ruling awarding judgment to a home warranty provider and an insurance company seeking reimbursement from a home builder for two claims that it paid over defects in the homes' foundations, finding that the terms of a contract between the parties were unambiguous (Classic C Homes Inc., d/b/a Classic Century Homes, et al. v. Homeowners Management Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Home of Texas, et al., No. 02-14-00243-CV, Texas App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 9776).
ATLANTA - A global bitcoin processor filed a complaint against its insurer on Sept. 15 in Georgia federal court, asserting breach of contract and bad faith for denial of a claim regarding a loss from the fraudulent transfer of bitcoin that resulted from a December 2014 phishing and hacking incident (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).
TAMPA, Fla. - At a bench trial, parties in a trademark infringement lawsuit can argue as to the reliability and helpfulness of experts' testimony, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 11, denying a motion to exclude and denying summary judgment on a breach of contract claim (One Hour Air Conditioning Franchising, LLC v. Dallas Unique Indoor Comfort, Ltd., No. 13-3278, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121263).
SAN FRANCISCO - The majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 8 affirmed a district court's dismissal of breach of contract claims after determining that the claims are preempted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Oregon Teamster Employers Trust v. Hillsboro Garbage Disposal Inc. et al., No. 13-35555, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15925).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 10 that there is no genuine dispute regarding whether a dog grooming and daycare facility insured's Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) was a "duplicate" under the meaning of the SFIP, affirming a lower court's ruling that a federal flood insurer did not commit breach of contract when it denied a Superstorm Sandy claim (Fetch NYC Inc. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-3431, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16059).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Sept. 9 dismissed insureds' breach of contract lawsuit against their federal flood insurer, finding that the action arising from Hurricane Ike damage is time-barred (Alfredo Mamani, et al. v. AIG National Insurance Company Inc., No. 11-106, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119692).
DENVER - An insurer did not breach its contract with an insured or act in bad faith in delaying payment of underinsured motorist benefits resulting from an automobile accident because it was not provided with the evidence necessary to process the claim until after the insured filed her lawsuit, a federal judge in Colorado ruled Sept. 9 (Wendy L. Peden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 14-0982, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119978).