LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge: State Law Bars Insurers From Indemnifying For Punitive Damages Awards

FRESNO, Calif. - An insurer is entitled to summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 18, because California law bars insurers from indemnifying their insureds for punitive damages awards (Paul Evert's RV Country Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0124, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160519).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: ERISA Controls Breach Of Contract, Fiduciary Duty Claims

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Genuine Issues Preclude Ruling On Contract Issues, Judge Finds

PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 21 denied cross-motions for partial summary judgment on breach of contract claims in a suit over indemnification for cleanup from contamination from underground storage tank (UST) leaks, finding that too many issues of material fact exist as to whether the discovery rule or tolling doctrines apply under Arizona law (Greyhound Lines Incorporated v. Viad Corporation, No. CV-15-01820-PHX-DGC, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160960).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fraud Claim Against Insured Is Not An 'Occurrence' Due To Intentional Conduct

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Property owners' fraud claim is not a covered "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy because they allege intentional intent by an insured contractor, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Nov. 18, also upholding a previous decision that the insurer had a duty to defend a breach of contract claim (Columbia Insurance Group Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company Inc. v. Arkansas Infrastructure Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160151).

Mealey's Insurance - Amount In Controversy In Bad Faith Suit Doesn't Exceed $75,000, Judge Rules

LOS ANGELES - On his own motion, a federal judge in California on Nov. 17 remanded an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeded the statutory requirement (Maria L. Monroy, et al. v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-5296, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159591).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Dismisses Case Filed Over Iraqi Facility Project For Lack Of Standing

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 14 found that the owner of an Iraqi company that was contracted to build a vehicle maintenance facility in Iraq failed to show that he had standing to sue the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and a company in relation to an arbitral award dismissing his claims (Wameedh Al Azzawi v. International Centre for Dispute Resolution, et al., No. 16-548, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157712).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Liable For Default Judgment Up To $2M Multiple Claims Policy Limit

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Actions During Negotiations Do Not Support Bad Faith Claim

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - California Court Reverses Order Granting New Trial Over Alleged BMW Defect

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Appraisal Clause Binds Insured From Litigating Dispute Over Money

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Surety Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Settling Work Contract Dispute

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Dismiss Dispute Arising From Alleged Fraud, Embezzlement Scheme

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Plaintiff's Claim Sufficient To Survive Dismissal In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Virginia Supreme Court: Subcontractors Did Not Waive Statute Of Limitations

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Claims Carrier Wrongfully Denied Coverage For Roof's Collapse

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds' Negligence Claim From Collapse Is Not Precluded By Contract

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rules On Motions To Bar Competing Expert Witnesses In Bad Faith Dispute

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rules On Motions To Bar Competing Expert Witnesses In Bad Faith Dispute

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rejects Insurer's Amount In Controversy Argument In Bad Faith Suit

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).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Finds Borrower Lacks Standing To Bring Claims Against MERS

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 2nd Circuit Refuses To Rehear Appeal Of Order Confirming $400M Award

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.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge Transfers Contract Breach Class Suit To Virginia

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - California Federal Judge Transfers Contract Breach Class Suit To Virginia

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).