LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Parties Voluntarily Dismiss Breach Of Contract Suit Arising From Flood Damage

BATON ROUGE, La. - Two days after a Louisiana federal magistrate judge ordered an insured's counsel to personally appear before her and show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for failing to comply with a May 8 order asking the insured to file a stipulation of dismissal of her breach of contract suit, the insured and the insurer on June 1 filed a stipulation of dismissal of the flood dispute (Tosha Washington v. Underwriters at Lloyd's London, No. 17-1524, M.D. La.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Magistrate Orders Insured To Show Cause Why Sanctions Should Not Be Imposed

BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on May 30 ordered an insured's counsel to personally appear before her and show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for their failure to comply with a May 8 order asking the insured to file a stipulation of dismissal of her breach of contract suit or a motion to substitute the complaint with a proposed comprehensive amended complaint that adequately identifies and alleges the citizenship of the appropriate defendants and establishes amount in controversy (Tosha Washington v. Underwriters at Lloyd's London, No. 17-1524, M.D. La.).

Mealey's Insurance - Bad Faith Claim Dismissed, Premised On Same Facts As Breach Of Contract Claim

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insured's bad faith claim alleged against an insurer that refused to pay for expenses incurred following damage to the insured's air conditioning units cannot stand because the bad faith claim is premised on the same facts as the breach of contract claim, a Connecticut federal judge said May 30 in partially granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Quinn Fable Advertising Inc. v. Sentinel Insurance Co. Ltd., No. 17-1795, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89770).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Land Buyer's Detrimental Reliance Claim Over Site Cleanup Prescribed, Judge Says

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on May 30 held that buyers of land that is in the process of being remediated cannot pursue a counterclaim for detrimental reliance against the seller, finding that the claim sounds in tort rather than contract and that it is prescribed by a one-year statute of limitations (KFC Corp. v. Iron Horse of Metairie Road LLC, et al., No. 16-16791, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89540).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurers Ask Federal Court To Stop Insurer From Arbitrating Claims

NEW YORK - Two reinsurers sued an insurer on May 29 in a New York federal court, seeking a declaration that the insurer cannot arbitrate claims asserted under facultative reinsurance contracts for losses of $2.5 million (Continental Insurance Company of New Jersey, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 18-4715, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Insurance - Delaware Judge Refuses To Set Judgment Against Excess Insurers In Asbestos Suit

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware state judge on May 23 denied an insured's motion to set a judgment amount against its excess insurers in an asbestos coverage dispute and award prejudgment interest under New York law because the insured sought only a declaratory judgment of its coverage rights and did not seek breach of contract damages, which are necessary for the court to award prejudgment interest (Viking Pump Inc. et al., v. Century Indemnity Co. et al., No. N10C-06-141, Del. Sup., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 220).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Owes No Additional Coverage For Mold Damage, Federal Judge Determines

CAMDEN, N.J. - An insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith when it limited its payment for mold damage within an insured home because the policy at issue included a provision limiting coverage for mold damage, a New Jersey federal judge said May 23 (Charles Hobbs, et al. v. US Coastal Insurance Co., No. 17-3673, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86484).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Construction Contract Contained Start Date Of Defects Claim

DOVER, Del. - A Delaware judge on May 22 awarded summary judgment to a general contractor accused of defectively constructing a group home for adults with cerebral palsy, finding that the suit was barred by the three-year statute of limitations because the construction contract stated when any possible claims would begin to accrue (Black Diamond Hope House Inc., et al. v. U&I Investments LLC, et al., No. K15C-12-034 JJC, Del. Super., Kent Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Widow Wants Ruling That Nonmalignancy Settlement Bars Lung Cancer Case Reviewed

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A widow on May 18 asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review whether her husband's settlement involving Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) nonmalignant pulmonary disease claims can bar her subsequent action alleging he contracted and died of lung cancer, after both the trial and intermediate appellate court concluded that it did (Margaret Jarrett, et al. v. Consolidated Rail Corp., No. 210 EAL 2018, Pa. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Coverage Claims Arising From Alleged Theft Are Time-Barred, 9th Circuit Affirms

PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 21 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that insureds' bad faith, breach of contract and negligence claims arising from an alleged theft loss are time-barred (Dean Seymour, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Company, No. 17-5529, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 13166).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Found To Have Not Delayed In Paying On Homeowners Insurance Claim

AUSTIN, Texas - Granting a motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in Texas on May 17 ruled that an insurer did not intentionally delay paying on a claim for coverage under a homeowners insurance policy and that insureds failed to show that the insurer's delay in payment caused injuries that were independent of their policy claim (Thomas G. Kezar, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-389, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83157).

Mealey's Insurance - N.Y. State Justice Dismisses Insureds' Suit Seeking Coverage For Garage Collapse

MINEOLA, N.Y. - A New York state justice on May 16 dismissed a suit filed by insureds in a dispute over coverage for the collapse of their garage after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer breached its contract, acted in bad faith or committed fraud in its handling of the claim (John A. Petrilli, et al. v. Adirondack Insurance Exchange, et. al., No. 600128/18, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Declines To Join Insurers' Receiver To Breach Of Fiduciary Suit

ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on May 16 denied a request to join a special deputy receiver for three insolvent insurers to a breach of fiduciary lawsuit against a trustee for its role on pre-need funeral contracts because the trustee does not state in what capacity it would like to join the receiver (Winner Road Properties LLC v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., No. 16-1395, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82331).

Mealey's Insurance - Breach Of Contract Claim, Unsupported Bad Faith Claim Dismissed

MOBILE, Ala. - In granting a motion to strike and dismiss, a federal judge in Alabama on May 16 ruled that two claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit are nearly identical, and an insured's bad faith claim lacks any factual allegations to support it (Carlos Todd v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 18-0175, S.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82410).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 3rd Circuit: Anti-Assignment Provision Bars ERISA Health Insurance Suit

PHILADELPHIA - Anti-assignment provisions in health insurance contracts are enforceable and bar a provider's Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 16 (American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine v. Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield, et al., No. 17-1663, 3rd Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Disability Claimant Alleges Denials Were Based On Profit-Making Motive

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A disability insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith when it terminated a claimant's short-term disability (STD) benefits and denied a claim for long-term disability benefits because the decisions were based on a profit-making motive rather than the evidence of the claimant's disability, the claimant alleges in a May 14 complaint filed in Tennessee federal court (Janet Mitchell v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 18-94, E.D. Tenn.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Magistrate Judge Says Surety Is Entitled To Reimbursement For Paid Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on May 15 determined than a surety is entitled to reimbursement of more than $4 million for claims it paid on behalf of a construction company that contracted with the government on a number of construction projects (Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America v. K.O.O. Construction Inc., et al., No. 16-518, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81914).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Affirms Judgment In Favor Of Insurer In Water Damage Dispute

AMARILLO, Texas - The Seventh District Texas Court of Appeals on May 14 affirmed a trial court's ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that the trial court did not err in concluding that the insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in its handling of the insured's claim for water damage (Mahmoud Abdalla v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 07-17-00020, Texas App., 7th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 3358).

Mealey's Health Law - 3rd Circuit: Anti-Assignment Provision Bars ERISA Health Insurance Suit

PHILADELPHIA - Anti-assignment provisions in health insurance contracts are enforceable and bar a provider's Employee Retirement Income Security Act suit, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 16 (American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine v. Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield, et al., No. 17-1663, 3rd Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Motion To Remand Auto Theft Suit Denied; Amount In Controversy Met

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 14 denied an insured's motion to remand a suit alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of an insurer's refusal to pay for the theft of the insured's vehicle because diversity of citizenship exists and the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum amount of $75,000 (Jennifer Smith-Dickerson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Inc., No. 18-189, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81085).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Investor Claims Against TD Ameritrade Subject To SLUSA Preclusion, Panel Rules

ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 10 ruled that a federal district court properly determined that investor claims in three related lawsuits against broker services provider TD Ameritrade were precluded by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) because their claims were not merely breach of contract claims but instead were based on a misrepresentation or omission and were made "in connection with" the purchase or sale of a security (Jay Zola, et al. v. TD Ameritrade Inc., et al., No. 16-3013; Tyler Verdieck v. TD Ameritrade Inc., et al., No. 16-3016; and Michael Sarbacker v. TD Ameritrade Inc., et al., No. 16-3019, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12261).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert Can Offer Limited Testimony On Impacts Of Sediment Runoff, Judge Says

GULFPORT, Miss. - A coastal services professor designated as an expert for an environmental group claiming that a contractor's road construction project is violating the Clean Water Act by disposing of excessive amounts of sediment in the Biloxi Back Bay can offer limited testimony regarding how the sediment flows from the project to the waterway, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled May 9, finding that the some of his opinions were based on inadequate data (Gulf Restoration Network v. Oscar Renda Contracting Inc., No. 17CV130-LG-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77907).

Mealey's Insurance - Disability Insurer Has Standing To Enforce Separation Agreement

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on May 8 denied a disability claimant's motion to dismiss a disability insurer's breach of contract counterclaim after determining that the insurer was included as a released party in a separation agreement signed by the claimant and his employer and, therefore, has standing to enforce the terms of the separation agreement (Roger Michael Thomas v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 17-4522, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77732).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Expert Can Offer Limited Testimony On Impacts Of Sediment Runoff, Judge Says

GULFPORT, Miss. - A coastal services professor designated as an expert for an environmental group claiming that a contractor's road construction project is violating the Clean Water Act by disposing of excessive amounts of sediment in the Biloxi Back Bay can offer limited testimony regarding how the sediment flows from the project to the waterway, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled May 9, finding that the some of his opinions were based on inadequate data (Gulf Restoration Network v. Oscar Renda Contracting Inc., No. 17CV130-LG-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77907).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Jury Awards BladeRoom $30M In Data Center Trade Secrets Dispute

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal jury in California on May 10 awarded BladeRoom Group Limited (BRG) $30 million in damages in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, finding that defendant Emerson Electric Co. misappropriated BRG's trade secrets for its prefabricated data centers to obtain contracts for the construction of a data center for Facebook Inc. (BladeRoom Group Limited, et al. v. Emerson Electric Co., et al., No. 15-1370, N.D. Calif.).