LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Labor & Employment - West Virginia Federal Judge Dismisses Counterclaim In ERISA Preemption Case

WHEELING, W.Va. - A breach of contract counterclaim brought in response to an action seeking a declaration that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a request for indemnification was dismissed Dec. 10 by a West Virginia federal judge (Ohio Valley Health Services & Education Corporation, et al. v. Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley Inc., et al., No. 15-65, N.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165705).

Mealey's Insurance - Carrier Cannot Control Defense; Conflict Of Interest Exists, Federal Judge Says

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - An insurer is not entitled to control the defense of its insured in underlying environmental contamination actions because the insurer has a conflict of interest as its lawsuit against the insured alleges a claim of breach of contract, an Indiana federal judge said Dec. 7 (Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Hartford Iron & Metal Inc., et al., No. 14-006, N.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163501).

Mealey's Insurance - 9th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hailstorm Coverage Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from hailstorm property damage (HM Hotel Properties v. Peerless Indemnity Ins. Co., No. 13-16790, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Bitcoin Firm Opposes Insurer's Bid To Bifurcate Bad Faith Claim In Coverage Suit

ATLANTA - In a Nov. 24 opposition brief, a bitcoin payment processor told a Georgia federal court that its insurer's motion to bifurcate a bad faith claim from a related breach of contract claim "is an improper waste of judicial resources" that will "dramatically increase the costs of" litigation, in which it seeks coverage for losses from a phishing scam (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Grants Judgment To Insurer On Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims

PHILADELPHIA - Homeowners failed to assert claims for breach of contract and bad faith against their insurer for denied coverage of water damage, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Nov. 25, granting summary judgment to the insurer (Gregory Smith and Jennifer Smith v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-670, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159127).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Parties In Asbestos Wire Suit Brief Federal Judge On Reconsideration Motion

PHILADELPHIA - A man who claims that he contracted renal cancer at least in part from asbestos exposure resulting from six months of handling wire told a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 24 that he need not reconsider his decision denying the manufacturer summary judgment (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Notice Of Removal In Bad Faith Lawsuit Was Untimely, Judge Rules

FRESNO, Calif. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 23, because an insurer's notice of removal was untimely (Todd Stone v. Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1411, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158119).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Parties In Asbestos Wire Suit Brief Federal Judge On Reconsideration Motion

PHILADELPHIA - A man who claims that he contracted renal cancer at least in part from asbestos exposure resulting from six months of handling wire told a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 24 that he need not reconsider his decision denying the manufacturer summary judgment (Leroy J. Mortimer and Cheryl Mortimer v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. MDL 875, 13-4169, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Federal Judge Finds Stock Options Expired Under Employment Contract

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 20 granted summary judgment for an employer on claims of breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that a one-year expiration date provision in a former's employee's contract applied to her stock options (Soonhee Jang v. Dupont E.I. De Nemours & Co., No. 15-cv-03719, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158180).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Federal Judge Finds Stock Options Expired Under Employment Contract

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 20 granted summary judgment for an employer on claims of breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that a one-year expiration date provision in a former's employee's contract applied to her stock options (Soonhee Jang v. Dupont E.I. De Nemours & Co., No. 15-cv-03719, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158180).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Failed To Show Insurer Acted Outside Terms Of Insurance Policy

MCALLEN, Texas - A federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on Nov. 24, ruling that insureds failed to show that the insurer did not act in line with the terms of the insurance policy (Armando Martinez, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 14-534, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158245).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Experts Relied On Unverified Secondhand Data To Determine Contract Damages

SCRANTON, Pa. - Experts cannot testify on contract damages in a breach of supply agreement lawsuit between a supermarket chain and a wholesale distributor because the experts relied on unverified secondhand data as a result of the chain's owners previously destroying their accounting records, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Nov. 19 (Michael Bruno, et al. v. Bozzuto's, Inc., No. 09-874, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156339).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Insurer Seeks To Bifurcate Bad Faith Claim In Bitcoin Firm's Coverage Suit

ATLANTA - An insurer on Nov. 17 moved in Georgia federal court to bifurcate a global bitcoin processor's bad faith claim against it from a breach of contract claim, asserting that "under Georgia law, a bad faith claim . . . cannot proceed unless coverage under an insurance policy is found" (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Seeks To Bifurcate Bad Faith Claim In Bitcoin Firm's Coverage Suit

ATLANTA - An insurer on Nov. 17 moved in Georgia federal court to bifurcate a global bitcoin processor's bad faith claim against it from a breach of contract claim, asserting that "under Georgia law, a bad faith claim . . . cannot proceed unless coverage under an insurance policy is found" (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Insurer Seeks To Bifurcate Bad Faith Claim In Bitcoin Firm's Coverage Suit

ATLANTA - An insurer on Nov. 17 moved in Georgia federal court to bifurcate a global bitcoin processor's bad faith claim against it from a breach of contract claim, asserting that "under Georgia law, a bad faith claim . . . cannot proceed unless coverage under an insurance policy is found" (Bitpay Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co., No. 1:15-cv-03238, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Insurance - Claims Adjusters Were Properly Joined In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

AMARILLO, Texas - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in Texas ruled Nov. 19, because an insured has shown that two claims adjusters were properly joined and that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Royal Architectural Products Ltd. v. Acadia Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0265, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156625).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Fact Issues As To Filing Of Breach Of Contract Suit Requires Reversal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held Nov. 18 that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether an insured was forced to file a breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17313).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Allows Reinsurer To Amend Answer To Breach Of Reinsurance Agreement Claim

CONCORD, N.H. - A reinsurer filed an amended complaint after a federal judge in New Hampshire on Nov. 17 granted the reinsurer's motion to amend its complaint to clarify its affirmative defenses in a $2 million reinsurance breach of contract dispute (TIG Insurance Company v. EIFlow Insurance Limited, No. 14-cv-00459, D. N.H.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - English Court Finds ICC Has Jurisdiction Over Oil Contract Dispute

LONDON - An English appeals court on Nov. 17 dismissed an appeal filed by a petroleum corporation and a Pakistan entity of a decision that found that an international arbitration court has jurisdiction to hear a dispute related to contracts for oil exploration and allowed a Mauritius company's appeal to set aside a stay of the case (Sadruddin Hashwani, et al. v. OMV Maurice Energy Limited, No. [2015] EWCA Civ. 1171).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Says Insurer's Claims Were Justiciable, Denies Attorney Fees To Insured

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A professional liability insurer asserted justiciable claims for declaratory judgment and breach of contract against an insured regarding a dispute arising out of a foundation design error, a North Carolina federal judge ruled Nov. 12, denying a motion for attorney fees (Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Clancy & Theys Construction Co., No. 12-636, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153137).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert May Testify On Drafting Provisions In Contract Suit, Judge Says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - An expert is qualified to testify on the drafting provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) in a breach of contract lawsuit regarding products allegedly made with too much lead content, a Kentucky federal judge ruled Nov. 13 (Hillerich & Bradsby Co. v. Charles Products, Inc., No. 13-00978, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154122).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - 2nd Circuit Finds Trust's Breach Of Contract Claims Are Time-Barred

NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 16 affirmed a district court's decision to dismiss claims for breach of contract filed by a trust in relation to breaches of representations and warranties, finding that the case was barred by a six-year statute of limitations (Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, solely as trustee of the GSR Mortgage Loan Trust 2007-OA1 v. Quicken Loans Inc., No. 14-3373, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19874).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 11th Circuit Compels Arbitration Of Cruise Line Worker's Injury Claims

ATLANTA - After finding that a former cruise ship worker's injury-related claims fell within the scope of an arbitration agreement in her employment contract, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10 affirmed a district court's decision to compel arbitration of the dispute (Claudia Ester Sierra v. Cruise Ships Catering and Services International, N.V., et al., No. 14-14940; 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19535).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 11th Circuit Compels Arbitration Of Cruise Line Worker's Injury Claims

ATLANTA - After finding that a former cruise ship worker's injury-related claims fell within the scope of an arbitration agreement in her employment contract, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10 affirmed a district court's decision to compel arbitration of the dispute (Claudia Ester Sierra v. Cruise Ships Catering and Services International, N.V., et al., No. 14-14940; 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19535).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: No Indemnity For Defects Award As Policy Limits Were Not Exhausted

DENVER - An excess insurer has no duty to indemnify an underlying construction defects judgment because its policy limits have not been exhausted, a Colorado federal judge ruled Nov. 9, dismissing third-party breach of contract and bad faith claims against the insurer (The Phoenix Insurance Co., et al. v. Cantex Inc., et al. and Cantex Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co. and Continental Casualty Co., No. 13-00507, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151729).