LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Insurers Have No Duty To Defend, Indemnify Faulty Work, Magistrate Judge Says

PITTSBURGH - Under Pennsylvania law, commercial general liability insurers have no duty to defend or indemnify insureds for a negligent performance of contract claim arising out of alleged faulty workmanship, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled June 30 (Peerless Insurance Co. and Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. Manown Builders, et al., No. 15-281, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85261).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Allows Testimony On Dry Green Pea Transportation Market

DALLAS - An agricultural transportation expert may testify about the dry green pea transportation market along the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad in a breach of contract lawsuit over the sale of dry green peas, a Texas federal magistrate judge held June 30, finding that the testimony is both reliable and relevant (HostingXtreme Ventures, LLC v. Bespoke Group, LLC, et al., No. 14-1471, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84895).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Motion To Remand In Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 29 denied a motion to remand an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer has met its burden of showing that the court has jurisdiction by a "preponderance of the evidence" (Steven Daniels, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 16-360, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84315).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Monsanto Cannot Skirt Cancer Lawsuit Related To Herbicide Exposure

HONOLULU - A federal judge in Hawaii on June 29 denied Monsanto Co.'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against it filed by a couple that claims the wife contracted cancer as a result of using the company's herbicide (Christine Sheppard, et al. v. Monsanto Company, No. 16-43, D. Hawaii).

Mealey's IP/Tech - California Jury Awards HP $3 Billion In Contract Dispute With Oracle

SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a June 30 verdict, a California jury awarded Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) $3 billion, finding that Oracle Corp. violated its long-running agreement and partnership with HP by ceasing to offer software that was compatible with HP's primary line of microprocessors (Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Oracle Corp., No. 1-11-cv-203163, Calif. Super., Santa Clara Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Chemical Injury Case; Federal Removal Statute Applied Improperly

ST. LOUIS - A federal magistrate judge in Missouri on June 29 remanded to state court a personal injury lawsuit brought by two men who contend that they contracted cancer as a result of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured by Monsanto Co., ruling that the federal officer removal statute had been applied to the case improperly (Thomas Kelly, et al. v. Monsanto Co., et al., No. 15-01825, E.D. Mo.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Fact Issues Exist For Breach Of Contract Claim But Not Elder Abuse Claim

LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on June 27 found that triable issues of fact require reversal of a lower court's dismissal of a breach of contract claim against an insurer, further holding that the insureds' bad faith and elder abuse claims cannot survive under the genuine dispute doctrine (Clayton D. Paslay, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. B265348, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 511).

Mealey's Insurance - Ohio Federal Judge Allows Insurer's Coverage Case Against Insured To Proceed

CLEVELAND - An insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insured regarding coverage for underlying breach of contract claims may proceed, an Ohio federal judge ruled June 22, declining to dismiss or stay the action pending resolution of the underlying lawsuit (Acuity v. Midwest Curtainwalls, Inc., No. 16-55, N.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81370).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Ruling In Part In Coverage Dispute Over Sinkhole Damage

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 24 reversed part of a lower court's final judgment that requires an insurer to pay $100,000 for subsurface repairs of sinkhole damage before its insureds execute a contract with a third party for those repairs, also reversing the lower court's award of prejudgment interest on the subsurface damages award (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Edgardo Nunez, et al., No. 2D14-3712, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 9693).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Failing To Defend Insureds

SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 21 substantially dismissed claims brought by insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer had no duty to defend the insureds in an underlying insurance dispute (Brian K. Keeley, et al. v. The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-0422, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80798).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Apply Notice-Prejudice Rule In Directors, Officers Coverage Suit

PADUCAH, Ky. - A Kentucky senior federal judge on June 20 predicted that the Kentucky Supreme Court would not extend the notice-prejudice rule to a claims-made-and-reported insurance policy that clearly and unambiguously requires an insured to provide timely notice of a claim as a condition precedent to coverage, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment on breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment claims (C.A. Jones Management Group, et al. v. Scottsdale Indemnity Co., No. 13-00173, W.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80811).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds' Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims Not Actionable, Judge Rules

McALLEN, Texas - An insurer's prompt payment of an appraisal award in a homeowners insurance dispute estops the insureds from bringing a claim for breach of contract, and as a result, their extracontractual claims are inactionable under Texas law, a federal judge in Texas ruled June 20 (Daniel Gutierrez, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-430, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79665).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - D.C. Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal In Cigarette Sales Suit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 21 affirmed a lower court order dismissing a complaint alleging that Philip Morris USA Inc. violated the terms of a contract by overcharging military exchanges for cigarettes because the transactions "creating an inference of fraud were publicly disclosed" (United States, Ex Rel. Anthony Oliver v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 15-7049, D.C. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Magistrate Recommends Default Judgment Be Entered Against Insured

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal magistrate judge in a California on June 16 recommend that a commercial general liability insurer's motion for a default judgment be granted and that a judgment be issued declaring that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against an underlying breach of contract and negligence lawsuit alleging the insured's pilot car services were performed "in an unworkmanlike manner" (Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Richard Szetela d/b/a D&D Pilot Car Services, et al., No. 14-2991, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78855).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICC Awards Del Monte $32 Million In Pineapple Sales Contract Dispute

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A producer and distributor of fresh fruit and vegetables on June 20 announced that an international arbitral tribunal has awarded its subsidiary more than $32 million in a dispute over a pineapple sales' contract.

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Didn't Act In Bad Faith Because No Insurance Contract Existed

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Dismissal of a bad faith claim in an insurance dispute is warranted because the plaintiff did not have an enforceable insurance contract at the time of her loss, a federal judge in Alabama ruled June 16 in granting an insurer's summary judgment motion (Mary Norman Phillips v. Nationwide General Insurance Co., No. 15-885, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78298).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Again Reverses Ruling As To Subsurface Repairs In Sinkhole Dispute

LAKELAND, Fla. - For the second time in a week, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on June 17 held that a lower court erred in awarding monetary damages to insureds for subsurface repairs in a sinkhole coverage dispute without requiring them to enter into a contract for the repairs, reversing in part (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Bambi Retz, No. 2D14-5856, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 9345).

Mealey's Insurance - Complaint Was Properly Dismissed, 3rd Circuit Panel Says In Affirming

PHILADELPHIA - A district court did not err in dismissing a disability claimant's suit because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts his state law contract and fraud claims, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 16 (Andre D. Butler v. Liberty Mutual Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 16-1316, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10889).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Allows Breach Of Contract Claims To Proceed Against Bank

LOS ANGELES - After finding that a borrower attempted to fulfill the terms of an agreement with a bank, a California federal judge on June 15 refused to dismiss her breach of contract claims but granted dismissal as to her claims for rescission and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kathleen Angel Eisenberg v. Citibank N.A., et al., No. 2:13-CV-01814, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78710).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Allows Breach Of Contract Claims To Proceed Against Bank

LOS ANGELES - After finding that a borrower attempted to fulfill the terms of an agreement with a bank, a California federal judge on June 15 refused to dismiss her breach of contract claims but granted dismissal as to her claims for rescission and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kathleen Angel Eisenberg v. Citibank N.A., et al., No. 2:13-CV-01814, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78710).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Plaintiffs Seek Preliminary Approval Of $30.9 Million Class Action Settlement

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of contract lawsuit on June 15 filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a $30.9 million class settlement in Massachusetts federal court (Dennis Gordon, et al. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-30184, D. Mass.).

Mealey's Insurance - 3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Claims In Hurricane Irene Flood Coverage Dispute

PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that dismissed an insured's breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation claims against its federal flood insurer over its alleged personal property damage caused by Hurricane Irene (Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No. 15-2923, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10894).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - VTech Argues No Injury Or Contract Breach Occurred As A Result of Data Breach

CHICAGO - In a June 15 reply brief supporting its bid to dismiss a class action over a 2015 website hack, a digital smart toys maker tells an Illinois federal court that the plaintiffs have failed to plead any harm in the wake of the theft of their personally identifiable information (PII) (In re VTech Data Breach Litigation, No. 1:15-cv-10889, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Insurance - Stay Would Not Be Fair To Parties In Bad Faith Lawsuit, Judge Rules

FRESNO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 14 denied motions to stay and to dismiss filed by insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that staying the proceedings pending appeal of an underlying lawsuit would not be fair to the parties involved in the instant action (Paul Evert's RV Country Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., No. 15-0124, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77360).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Tennessee Appeals Court: ERISA Preempts Claims In Lawsuit Against Insurer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee Court of Appeals panel on June 9 concluded that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts state law causes of action based on implied-in-law contract in a suit brought by health care corporations to recover costs for emergency medical services to patients participating in Blue Cross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc.'s (BCBST) insurance plans (HCA Health Services of Tennessee Inc., et al. v. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc., No. M2014-01869, Tenn. App.; 2016 Tenn. App. LEXIS 407).