SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 12 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insured has pleaded sufficient evidence to support the claim (Robert Hughes v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-2240, M.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4852).
SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that a California choice-of-law clause in Facebook Inc.'s terms of service is enforceable, a California federal judge on Jan. 9 granted the social media's company's motion to dismiss claims for violation of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (TCCWNA) (Jose Palomino, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 16-cv-04230, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2971).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Jan. 6 ruled that the federal government owes more than $99 million to companies that it contracted with for the production of aviation fuel (avgas) during World War II, finding that all of the acid waste disposed of at a site in Fullerton, Calif., was "by reason of" the agreements (Shell Oil Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 06-141-C, Fed. Clms.).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge dismissed on Jan. 5 an insured's breach of contract claim against its insurer because the insurer has not granted or denied coverage for a claim for water damage to a condominium complex (Mainhouse Homeowners Association v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1457, W.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1663).
TAMPA, Fla. - Because insureds have failed to bring a claim for breach of contract, they have failed to state a claim for bad faith and have violated the particularity requirement pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal judge in Florida ruled Jan. 9 (Fred Fox, et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., No. 16-3254, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2678).
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurance policy does not cover a roofing subcontractor over faulty work claims that resulted in more than $6.6 million in damages to townhomes, an insurer says in its Jan. 4 complaint to an Illinois federal court (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Classic Roofing Inc. and Custom Roofing Contracting Ltd., No. 17-45, N.D. Ill.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Jan. 4 excluded in part various testimony offered by a gun manufacturer in a breach of contract dispute with two gun stores because the expert did not meet qualification and reliability standards for some of the testimony (Signature Marketing Inc. d/b/a Signature Manufacturing v. New Frontier Armory LLC and EXTAR LLC, No. 15-7200, D. Kan.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1130).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A reinsurer told a federal court in Alabama on Jan. 2 that its reinsured submitted a reinsurance loss bill under a different agreement than the one listed in the reinsured's complaint (Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 16-cv-00948, M.D. Ala.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The term "flood" in a homeowners insurance policy is not ambiguous under South Carolina law and, as a result, an insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying coverage under the policy because it contained a water damage exclusion that precluded coverage for the damages insureds sought, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled Dec. 29 in granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Stephen F. Morris, et al. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-0880, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179715).
MINNEAPOLIS - A window components manufacturer need not indemnify or contribute to an arbitration award a plaintiff company must pay to a school district for windows that needed to be remediated, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled Dec. 30, finding that the manufacturer was not liable under contract or tort law (All Metro Glass v. Tubelite Inc., No. 15-140, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180520).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - An insurer's policy excludes coverage for flood damage to the insureds' home, a South Carolina federal judge ruled Dec. 29, granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to claims for breach of contract, breach of contract with fraudulent intent and bad faith refusal to pay (Stephen F. Morris and Martha Morris v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-00880, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179715).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer argued in a federal court in California on Dec. 20 that its reinsurer's "first-to-file" argument is invalid because the reinsurer did not raise that defense in a previous motion to dismiss the insurer's breach of contract suit (The American Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 16-3044, N.D. Calif.).
MIAMI - An insured cannot bring claims against its insurer for bad faith until it has first shown that the insurer breached the terms of its insurance policy with the insured, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled Dec. 19 in granting the insurer's motion to abate the insurer's bad faith claims (Katchmore Luhrs LLC v. Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty, No. 15-23420, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175004).
HOUSTON - In a breach of contract lawsuit, a Texas federal judge on Dec. 20 excluded in part testimony from both parties involved in a dispute over an agreement for the supply of crude oil (Musket Corp. v. Suncor Energy [U.S.A.] Marketing Inc., No. 15-100, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175601).
PORTLAND, Ore. - In a December 20 reply brief in Oregon federal court, Premera Blue Cross says that fraud-based and contract-based claims brought against it in a putative class action over a 2014 data breach incident merit dismissal because the plaintiffs have not met their burden of individually stating plausible claims under their respective contracts with the insurer (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02633, D. Ore.).
HONOLULU - Claims based in contract do not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Hawaii federal judge ruled Dec. 16, dismissing counterclaims for breach of contract and reformation against two insurers in a coverage dispute over defects in a construction project (American Automobile Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. v. Hawaii Nut & Bolt Inc. and Safeway Inc., No. 15-00245, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174243).
LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Dec. 15 partially reversed a judgment by a court of appeal to the extent it directed the trial court to hold further proceedings on a class's claims under the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act, but affirmed a decision that a dealership's practice of backdating contracts did not violate the Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA) (Raceway Ford Cases, Nos. E054517, E056595, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 842).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 14 ruled that a subcontractor could file a fourth-party complaint against an environmental contractor for breach of contract in relation to an underlying lawsuit in which a worker seeks damages for exposure to toxic chemicals while working on an excavation project (Johnnie Parker v. John Moriarty & Associates v. Strittmatter Metro LLC v. Environmental Consultants and Contractors Inc., No. 15-1506, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172688).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A former insurance company financial representative failed in his attempt to show that he was actually an employee, not an independent contractor as his contract stated, a New York federal judge ruled Dec. 12, granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the insurance company in the wage-and-hour class dispute (Joseph Rose, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3569, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171404).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer and its reinsurer jointly asked a federal court in Massachusetts on Dec. 12 stay their breach of contract dispute so they can have time to convert their agreement in principle into a written settlement agreement (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Dec. 9 refused a Hong Kong commodity company's petition to vacate an arbitral award that was issued in favor of a Hong Kong seller of coking coal, finding that an arbitral panel did not exceed its authority in finding that the company wrongfully terminated an underlying contract for shipment (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Kailuan [Hong Kong] International Co., Ltd. v. Sino East Minerals Ltd., No. 16-2160, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170821).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 certified a question to the New York Court of Appeals regarding reinsurance contract limits that the panel said presents an important question of New York law (Global Reinsurance of America v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 15-2164, 2nd Cir.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 8 addressed several motions to exclude testimony prior to a trial date set in a doctor's lawsuit against a university for discrimination that resulted in her contract not being renewed (Dr. Maria Artunduaga v. The University of Chicago Medical Center, No. 12-8733, N.D, Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169460).