CINCINNATI - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions, an Ohio federal judge on Nov. 9 held that an insurer is not entitled to rescind its professional errors and omissions liability policy and breached its contract as a matter of law by both refusing to defend its insured in an underlying lawsuit and refusing to pay the damages award that was legally obtained against its insured in a default judgment (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. National Condo & Apartment Insurance Group, et al., No. 13-191, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155576).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 9 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured failed to present any evidence to support her bad faith claim with regard to the insurer's handling of her homeowners insurance claim (Lillian Pecko v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1988, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155355).
SAN DIEGO - A California court on Nov. 7 reversed a judgment granting a motion for a new trial filed by the purchaser of a vehicle on his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), the False Advertising Law (FAL) and others that was issued against a dealer services company, finding that it was entitled to a defense verdict as the onetime holder of a retail installment contract (Michael Z. Tun v. Wells Fargo Dealer Services Inc., No. D070447, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 958).
CHICAGO - An appraisal clause's use of the word, "binding" made clear to an insured that by participating in the appraisal process, it foreclosed its opportunity to litigate the amount an insurer owed it for damage to a building covered by the insurance policy, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 7, dismissing a breach of contract claim (70th Court Condo Association v. Ohio Security Insurance Co. and Donan Engineering Co. Inc., No. 16-07723, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153959).
CINCINNATI - A surety's settlement of breach of contract claims against the state of Michigan for refusal to make final payments to a general contractor for work to a prison kitchen was not in bad faith because the surety and the contractor had shared interests, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 7 (Great American Insurance Co. v. E.L. Bailey & Company Inc. and Edward L. Bailey, No. 15-2149, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20018).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Finding that the resolution of fact-intensive questions regarding when an insured discovered a fraud and embezzlement loss and when it should have reported the loss to its insurer is premature at this stage in the litigation, a New York federal judge on Nov. 3 denied the insurer's motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit (Acquest Holdings Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-00212, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153367).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Beneficiaries have pleaded enough evidence for their breach of contract claim to proceed to the summary judgment stage of the litigation, a federal judge in Alabama ruled Nov. 4 in denying an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Nicholas Vinson, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-885, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153369).
RICHMOND, Va. - A panel of the Virginia Supreme Court on Nov. 3 upheld a trial court judge's decision to granting pleas in bar filed by subcontractors and sureties that were sued by a general contractor hired to perform work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech), finding that the defendants did not waive the statute of limitations when entering into contracts with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. (Hensel Phelps Construction Company v. Thompson Masonry Contractor Inc., et al., No. 151780, Va. Sup.; 2016 Va. LEXIS 166).
CHICAGO - An insured seeking coverage for the collapse of its roof following a snowstorm alleges in a Nov. 3 complaint filed in Illinois federal court that its insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith by denying coverage based on the policy's imminent collapse exclusion (Ravinia Vogue Cleaners v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, No. 16-10311, N.D. Ill.).
TULSA, Okla. - Insureds' negligence claim arising out of damages from a wall collapse are not barred because even if there is a contractual relationship between the insureds and a contractor, the insureds did not assume risk of loss for the collapse of a wall due to the wall's allegedly negligent construction, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled Nov. 2 (Lexington Insurance Co., et al. v. Newbern Fabricating Inc. and Baucom Concrete Construction Inc. v. Doveland Engineering Co. and Baucom Concrete Construction Inc. v. Commercial Metals Co., No. 14-0610, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151857).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 2 granted in part dueling motions to bar expert witnesses in a breach of contract and bad faith coverage dispute arising from a $14 million consent judgment entered against an insured (Ray A. Fox, by and through his guardian, Rose Fox v. Admiral Insurance Co., No. 12-8740, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151738).
LAS VEGAS - Ruling that an insurer has failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit exceeds $75,000, a federal judge in Nevada on Nov. 1 remanded the action to state court (Junette Boyden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-1876, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151204).
UTICA, N.Y. - After finding that a former property owner lacked standing to sue a lender for breach of contract and that she failed to allege that she held title to the property, a New York federal judge on Nov. 1 granted the lender's motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim (Cynthia Zap v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., No. 6:15-cv-00624, N.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150988).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 1 refused to reconsider its previous decision to affirm a district court's order confirming a $400 million arbitral award issued in favor of a Mexican corporation in a dispute over underlying contracts for the construction of offshore platforms (Corporacion Mexicana De Mantenimiento Intergral, S. De R.L. De C.V. v. Pemex-Exploracion Y, No. 13-4022, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 25 agreed to transfer a breach of contract class complaint to Virginia, finding that the contract's forum-selection clause "does not contravene any anti-waiver provision of California's UCL [unfair competition law] or the strong public policy of California" (Run Them Sweet, LLC v. CPA Global Limited, et al., No. 16-3662, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147803).
CLEVELAND - A Ohio appeals court panel on Oct. 27 overturned a trial court judge's ruling that an arbitration clause in a construction contract was unenforceable, but excised a portion of the contract containing a loser pays provision (Ralph Conte Jr. v. Blossom Homes LLC, et al., No. 103571, Ohio App., 8th Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 4341).
MOBILE, Ala. - A federal judge in Alabama on Oct. 27 dismissed Sears and Roebuck Co.'s lawsuit seeking indemnification from companies that installed an escalator in 1997 that caused a fatal accident, finding that the phrase "any statutory bar" in the construction contract between the parties did not extend Alabama's seven-year statute of repose (Sears and Roebuck Co. v. Hardin Construction Group Inc., et al., No. 16-00272-KD-B, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148671).
DALLAS - A Texas nurse who contracted Ebola after treating a patient at a Dallas hospital has settled her suit against the company that owns the hospital, according to a dismissal notice filed in Texas state court on Oct. 24 (Nina Pham v. Texas Health Resources Inc., No. DC-15-02252, Texas 68th Jud. Dist., Dallas Co.).
DENVER - A general contractor's second lawsuit seeking indemnification from a flooring subcontractor is barred by the doctrine of claims preclusion, a Colorado appeals court panel found Oct. 20, finding that the contractor's claims arose out of the same contract (Layton Construction Co. Inc. v. Shaw Contract Flooring Services Inc., d/b/a Spectra Contract Flooring, No. 15CA1435, Colo. App.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The U.S. Department of the Navy on Oct. 19 filed a complaint in intervention in a California federal court, seeking a declaration that an insurer owes coverage for environmental contamination discovered at one of the Navy's California shipyards (Lennar Mare Island LLC v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-2182, E.D. Calif.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A condominium association's breach of warranty and negligence claims against a contractor, its subcontractor and their surety are subject to mandatory arbitration under the language of the contract between the association and the contractor, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed Oct. 21 (The Hanover Insurance Co., et al. v. Kiva Lodge Condominium Owners' Association Inc., No. 1141331, Ala. Sup.; 2016 Ala. LEXIS 123).
SALT LAKE CITY - Genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether an insured had actual knowledge of a superior deed of trust on property it acquired, a federal judge in Utah ruled in denying cross-motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on Oct. 18 (Johnsen and Allphin Properties LLC v. First American Title Insurance Co., No. 12-740, D. Utah; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144429).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Dismissal of insurance breach of contract and bad faith claims against an insurer is not proper because an insurance policy's no action clause is inapplicable, a federal judge in Oklahoma said Oct. 19 (Wilbanks Securities Inc., et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-294, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144761).