LOS ANGELES - A California judge's decision to deny a woman's request to vacate an arbitrator's decision to award $1,707.11 to a contractor accused of faulty workmanship during renovations to her home was affirmed by a state appeals panel on June 22; it found that the judge did not err in finding that the terms of the construction contract did not violate California's public policy and that she was properly informed about the arbitration process (Rena Morris v. Michael O'Neill, et al., No. B258467, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7; 2015 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4464).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 23 granted an insured's motion for voluntarily dismissal of his breach of contract lawsuit against his federal flood insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (Ernie Giordano v. Philadelphia Contributionship Insurance Co., No. 14-0904, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80859).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial court erred in ordering a hospital to produce confidential contracts between it and 37 health insurers, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 22, finding that the scope of the law under which the order was issued did not extend to such documents (Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1D14-2001, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - An insured failed to establish its breach of contract and bad faith claims against its insurer for denying property damage sustained during Superstorm Sandy based upon a policy's water exclusion, a New Jersey federal magistrate judge found June 18, granting summary judgment to the insurer (151 East Leaming Avenue Condo Association v. QBE Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-175, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79002).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Amendment of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith complaint against an insurer is warranted, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled June 16, holding that the amendments to the complaint are not futile (Guy F. Militello v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-0240, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77481).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 15 declined to exclude testimony from two experts in a breach of contract case based on alleged unreliable methodology and lack of importance, saying there is less need for her to exercise her gatekeeping function as to expert testimony for a bench trial and that the objections to the testimony can be brought up again at trial (Apple Glen Investors, L.P., v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 8:14-cv-1527; M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77060).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer did not act in bad faith by failing to settle an underlying construction defects case and did not breach its insurance contract by refusing to defend an insured's surety in the underlying case, a California federal judge ruled June 15 (JDS Builders Group Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 15-00297, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77291).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court in a June 12 unpublished opinion affirmed an order denying a petition to compel arbitration in a suit accusing a grocery store chain of breaching its contract and violating, among other things, the state's unfair competition law (UCL) by ending its relationship with the plaintiff pretzel company and entering into a contract with the company that manufactured the plaintiff's pretzels for the store (Maxim Marketing Corp. v. Trader Joe's Co., No. B258308, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4095).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 11 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a contractual liability exclusion bars directors and officers liability coverage for underlying claims arising from the insured's contracts for foreign exchange transactions with four banks (PNY Technologies Inc., et al. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., No. 14-3624, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9781).
NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who claims that her husband's death was caused by cancer that he contracted as a result of exposure to benzene while working for Shell Oil Co. at one of the company's gas stations on June 9 ruled that the plaintiff's medical expert was "unreliable" (Yolande Burst v. Shell Oil Company, No. 14-109, E.D. La.).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to indemnify an underlying breach of contract jury verdict entered against an insured regarding roof replacement work that allegedly caused leaking because the conduct was accidental, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 10, finding that a "contractual liability" exclusion does not apply (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. St. Catherine of Siena Parish and Kiker Corp., No. 14-12151, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9659).
RICHMOND, Va. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured against a breach of contract claim regarding the insured's alleged failure to excavate a site for the construction of a school, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 9 (Westfield Insurance Co. v. Carpenter Reclamation Inc. and The Board of Education of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, No. 14-2027, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9600).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After finding that a shipping company lacked standing to sue the Republic of Guinea and that it most likely is bound by an arbitration clause, a District of Columbia federal judge on June 5 dismissed an action that sought to enforce shipping rights under a technical assistance contract (Nanko Shipping, USA, et al. v. Aloca Inc., et al., No. 14-1301, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72924).
DENVER - There is no coverage under an insurance policy for a partial collapse of insureds' roof because an excluded event concurrently contributed to the claimed loss, a Colorado federal judge ruled June 4, granting summary judgment to an insurer on the insureds' breach of contract and bad faith claims (Eugene Gallegos and Diane Gallegos v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 14-1114, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72435).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not err in determining that insureds failed to plead their claims for breach of contract and insurance bad faith because the insureds' claim sought coverage for excluded damages, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 2 (Daryl Gregory, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-15161, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9164).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on May 29 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion to dismiss claims in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds' breach of fiduciary duty claim is duplicative of their bad faith claim, but that their breach of contract claim is not (Ryan J. Padilla, et al. v. The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 14-1770, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69961).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a Chinese maker of golf clubs waived its right to removal under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, a California federal judge on June 1 granted a California corporation's motion to remand a contract dispute (Paradigm Solutions Group Inc. v. Shanghai Precision Technology Corp.; et al., No. 15-CV-539, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70596).
WAUSAU, Wis. - Insureds failed to prove that their house collapsed during construction and, thus, that there was an underlying breach of the insurance contract by their insurer for denying coverage, a Wisconsin appeals panel ruled June 2, affirming dismissal of the insureds' bad faith claim (Joseph M. Oboikovitz and Vicki A. Oboikovitz v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 2014AP1065, Wis. App., Dist. 3; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 403).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 29 granted a request to decertify a class of claimants asserting a breach of contract claim against lenders in relation to alleged late fees, finding a lack of evidence that the lenders assumed specific contractual obligations or were in privity of contract with absent class members (Joseph Mazzei, et al. v. The Money Store, et al., No. 01cv5694, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69866).
PHOENIX - An Arizona state court jury on May 22 awarded $2.5 million to the estate of a woman who contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after developing a bedsore while in a nursing home (The Estate of Doris L. Cote, et al. v. Five Star Quality Care Inc., et al., No. CV2012-094285, Ariz. Super., Maricopa Co.).