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).
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).
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).
LOS ANGELES - Summary judgment is warranted against insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insureds have failed to show that their insurer breached its contract in failing to pay their claims for benefits or denied their requests for a defense or indemnification, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6 (Julie Sohn, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-8841, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555).
LOS ANGELES - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 1, because an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy meets the statutory requirements for removal (Jules Kraut, et al. v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co., No. 16-6791, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166929).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 30 adopted a report and recommendation that found that a ship employee's injury-related claims were subject to an arbitration agreement in his employment contract and refusing to remand the case to a state court (Ali Imam Shah v. Blue Wake Shipping, No. 2:16 -CV-00529, W.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165561).
NEW YORK - A damages expert is excluded from testifying on a credit card company's damages for additional issuing and acquiring opportunities from a termination of a deal with MasterCard International Inc., a New York federal judge ruled Nov. 29, also granting summary judgment in part to MasterCard on a breach of contract claim (International Cards Company Ltd. v. MasterCard International Inc., No. 13-2576, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165225).
ST. LOUIS - Dismissal of a bad faith claim in an insurance dispute is proper because the state does not recognize a claim for bad faith refusal to pay benefits, but an insured has properly stated his claim for breach of contract against the insurer, a federal judge in Missouri ruled Nov. 29 in granting in part and denying in part the insurer's motion to dismiss (Roger L. Smith v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 16-0187, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163444).
RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Nov. 28 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment by a hotel, finding that a cigar wholesaler breached a contract it had with a hotel in Las Vegas (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163570).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota jury on Nov. 22 found that the company that owns a pumpkin patch was liable for the kidney damage a child suffered from contracting E. coli from a petting zoo at the pumpkin patch and awarded her and her family $7.55 million (Stephanie Heidish, et al. v. Dehn's Pumpkins LLC, No. 27-CV-14-17068, Minn. Dist., 4th Jud., Hennepin Co.).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut appeals court found that an insurer's duty to defend was not barred by a public entity errors and omission liability insurance policy's contract exclusion because an underlying complaint left open the possibility that a negligent misrepresentation claim against the insured did not arise out of a contract, reversing and remanding a lower court in an opinion to be officially released Dec. 6 (Town of Monroe v. Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. AC 38332, Conn. App.; 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS 443).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 22 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a lawyer and his consulting firm's lawsuit alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, unauthorized use of name and trademark and copyright infringement (Devil's Advocate LLC, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-1048, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20952).
LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 rejected an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit for failure to join an indispensable party, allowing an insured to amend his complaint to add his wife as a plaintiff (William Koepke v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co., No. 16-4633, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161112).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Nov. 18 granted in part and denied in part competing motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insurer breached its contract with its insureds under a homeowners insurance policy, its reading of the policy was reasonable (Noah Baskett, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1317, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160449).