LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Pleaded Unreasonable Denial Of Benefit Payment In Bad Faith Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - An insured has properly pleaded that his insurer unreasonably denied payment of benefits pursuant to an automobile insurance policy, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 18 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Justin Linko v. Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance, No. 15-2066, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51602).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Divided Appeals Court Finds Couple's Construction Defects Suit Perempted

BATON ROUGE, La. - A 2-1 panel of the First Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal on April 15 affirmed a trial court judge's ruling finding that a couple's breach of contract lawsuit against a contractor they initially hired to build their home was perempted by the New Home Warranty Act (NHWA) (Barbara Siragusa, et al. v. Chad Bradley Bordelon, et al., No. 2015 CA 1372, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 733).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Handling Of Insurance Claim

McALLEN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on April 13 granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of an insurer and others, ruling that no breach of contract occurred because the insurer complied with the terms of an appraisal provision under a property insurance policy and, thus, the insurer could not have acted in bad faith (Mark Dizdar, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-514, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49839).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Affirms Judgment Based On Late Notice To Insurer On Breach Of Contract Claims

NEW ORLEANS - An insured's failure to promptly give notice of hailstorm damage prejudiced an insurer's investigation, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 14, affirming the entry of summary judgment to the insurer on breach of contract claims (Hamilton Properties, et al. v. American Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-10382, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 6818).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Expert From Offering Conflicting Opinions To Policy Interpretation In Bad Faith Suit

DENVER - An insurance expert may not offer opinions that conflict with a federal court's interpretation of an insurance policy's condominium enhancement endorsement in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from the insurer's denial of coverage for water damage, a Colorado federal judge ruled April 13 (Chateau Village North Condominium Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-01583, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49665).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Bars Expert From Offering Conflicting Opinions To Policy Interpretation In Bad Faith Suit

DENVER - An insurance expert may not offer opinions that conflict with a federal court's interpretation of an insurance policy's condominium enhancement endorsement in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from the insurer's denial of coverage for water damage, a Colorado federal judge ruled April 13 (Chateau Village North Condominium Association v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-01583, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49665).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Montana Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Finding Asarco's State Law Claims Precluded

HELENA, Mont. - A Montana state court judge did not err when granting Atlantic Richfield Co.'s motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that Asarco LLC's state law claims for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and fraud claims could have been added to an earlier federal lawsuit, a Montana Supreme Court panel ruled April 12 (Asarco LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Company, No. DA 15-0464, Mont. Sup.; 2016 Mont. LEXIS 266).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Ruling As To Subsurface Repairs In Sinkhole Coverage Suit

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 13 reversed a lower court's final judgment to the extent that it awarded insureds monetary damages for subsurface repairs without requiring them to enter into a contract for those repairs in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Niurka Simoneau, et al., No. 2D14-4183, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5551).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Is Duplicative Of Other Bad Faith Claims

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on April 11 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that dismissal of an insured's breach of fiduciary duty claim is proper because it is duplicative of the insured's other bad faith claims (Janis Braddy v. Infinity Assurance Insurance Co., No. 15-119, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48565).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Monsanto: Woman's Claim That Herbicide Caused Cancer Should Be Dismissed

HONOLULU - Monsanto Co. on April 11 filed a brief in federal court in Hawaii, arguing that the personal injury lawsuit filed against it by a woman who contends that she contracted cancer after using the company's herbicide on her coffee farm should be dismissed because the statute of limitations has run on her claim (Christine Sheppard, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 16-43, D. Hawaii).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Partly Reverses Final Judgment In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 8 determined that a lower court erred in awarding monetary damages to insureds without recognizing the homeowners insurer's right to withhold payment for the cost of subsurface repairs until the insureds entered into a contract for those repairs, further finding that the trial court also erred in awarding prejudgment interest (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Daniel Blaha and Clyndon Blaha, No. 2D14-939, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5399).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Plaintiffs Submit 'Reasonable Notice' Ruling In Facebook Biometrics Class Action

SAN FRANCISCO - A month after a hearing in California federal court at which Facebook Inc. sought dismissal of a lawsuit alleging privacy violations in its photo "Tag Suggestions" feature, the putative class plaintiffs on April 5 filed a statement of a recent Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that found a purported online contract to be invalid based on a website operator's failure to provide "reasonable notice" of a user's assent to the contract's terms (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, No. 3:15-cv-03747, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Maryland Law Doesn't Recognize Insured's Bad Faith Claim, Judge Rules

BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on April 6 dismissed an insured's claims for bad faith and violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that Maryland law "does not recognize first party tort actions against insurers for failure to settle insurance claims" (Joe Gladney v. American Western Home Insurance Co., No. 15-1559, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46310).

Mealey's Insurance - Issues Preclude Summary Judgment In Insurance Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

SPOKANE, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on March 30 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the insurer breached the insurance contract and acted in bad faith in its handling of an insured's claim under a professional malpractice policy (Workland & Witherspoon PLLC v. Evanston Insurance Co., No. 14-403, E.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42637).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Plaintiff Not Named Insured To Insurance Contract, Can't Sue For Bad Faith

HAMMOND, Ind. - A federal judge in Indiana on March 31 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiff may not sue the insurer for bad faith because she is a third-party beneficiary and not a named insured pursuant to the insurance contract (Jessica Martinez v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-137, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42956).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Substantially Grants Summary Judgment On Bad Faith Claims

DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on March 29 substantially granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insured failed to properly state her claim for common-law bad faith, certain issues preclude complete dismissal of her statutory bad faith claim (Joyce Wahlert v. American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, No. 14-2744, D. Colo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41295).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Man Sues Pizza Restaurant After Daughter Contracts E. Coli Infection

OMAHA, Neb. - A Nebraska man on March 29 filed suit in federal court in Nebraska against a pizza restaurant, alleging that his daughter became infected with E. coli after eating there (Tyler Pannier, individually and as parent of L.P., a minor, v. Pizza Ranch Inc., No. 8:16-cv-00136, D. Neb.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company Denied Rehearing By 4th Circuit In Tainted Groundwater Injury Case

RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 29 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by a company that had been sued by a North Carolina man who contended that he contracted cancer as a result of groundwater contamination for which the man said the company was liable (Kent Stahle v. CTS Corporation, No. 15-1001, 4th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Remand Bad Faith Suit To State Court

LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California denied an insured's motion to remand an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court on March 25, ruling that the insured's failure to properly serve a defendant in the action was voluntary and in bad faith (Richard G. Heller v. American States Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-9771, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39645).

Mealey's Insurance - 9th Circuit Panel Denies Motion For Reconsideration In Bad Faith Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO - Without providing further detail, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 25 denied a motion for rehearing and filed an amended memorandum in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit where the panel previously ruled that a federal district court did not err in granting partial summary judgment in favor of an insurer because the insurer had no duty to defend its insureds in a tort action (Michael Zimmerman, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-57091, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5655).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge: Insurers Have Duty To Defend False Advertising Claims Against Fish Seller

HONOLULU - A Hawaii federal judge held on March 24 that insurers have a duty to defend their fish seller insured against an underlying lawsuit alleging false advertising, further finding that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude granting the insured's motion for summary judgment regarding its breach of contract counterclaim (The Hanover Insurance Co., et al. v. Anova Food LLC, et al., No. 14-00281, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38947).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Permits Some Discovery In Long-Term Disability Claim Suit Under ERISA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on March 22 held that a plaintiff's breach of contract claim against her disability insurer, which is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), entitled her to take limited discovery from the insurer because there was a potential evaluator/payor conflict of interest (Nicole Myers v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 14-948, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37411).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Permits Some Discovery In Long-Term Disability Claim Suit Under ERISA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on March 22 held that a plaintiff's breach of contract claim against her disability insurer, which is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), entitled her to take limited discovery from the insurer because there was a potential evaluator/payor conflict of interest (Nicole Myers v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 14-948, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37411).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Permits Some Discovery In Long-Term Disability Claim Suit Under ERISA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on March 22 held that a plaintiff's breach of contract claim against her disability insurer, which is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), entitled her to take limited discovery from the insurer because there was a potential evaluator/payor conflict of interest (Nicole Myers v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 14-948, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37411).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Faulty Work Claims Do Not Constitute 'Occurrence' Under Insurance Policies

PHILADELPHIA - Allegations of faulty workmanship in performance of a contract do not constitute an "occurrence" under commercial insurance policies and umbrella excess policies, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 23, finding that an insurer has no duty to indemnify pre-tender defense costs and has no duty to provide an ongoing defense (Lenick Construction, Inc. v. Selective Way Insurance Co., No. 14-2701, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38119).