NEW CASTLE, Del. - Allegations of an insured's defective workmanship do not constitute an "occurrence" triggering a commercial general liability insurer's duty to defend or indemnify, a Delaware judge ruled March 30 (Westfield Insurance Company Inc. v. Miranda & Hardt Contracting and Building Services LLC, No. N14C-06-214 ALR, Del. Super., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del. Super. LEXIS 160).
SEATTLE - Finding no error in a trial court's jury instructions or discovery ruling, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 27 affirmed its judgment in favor of an Internet movie website on an actress' breach of contract claim against it (Huong Hoang v. IMDb.com, No. 13-35390, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5001).
GULFPORT, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on March 27 denied without prejudice a motion for summary judgment filed by a contractor who built a parking garage and the individual who provided architectural services, after finding that it was too early to determine if a second construction defect lawsuit brought by the present and former owners of a casino are barred by the doctrine of res judicata (Full House Resorts Inc., et al. v. Boggs & Poole Contracting Group Inc., et al., No. 14cv223-KS-MTP, S.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39495).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on March 25 dismissed a lawsuit brought by a resident who alleged that a hydraulic fracturing company was liable for breach of contract, strict liability and damages in torts, concluding that the case suffered from a "complete failure of competent proof" (Edward E. Kamuck v. Shell Energy Holdings, et al., No. 11-1425, M.D. Pa.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on March 23 mostly denied motions to exclude testimonies of a plaintiff's damages expert and a company executive, finding them to be reliable for determining claims for damages related to the purported breach of an asset management agreement (Advanced Drainage Systems Inc. v. Quality Culvert Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-01121, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36037).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 20 dismissed a dentist insured's breach of contract claim and some of her bad faith claims against her malpractice insurer but allowed the remaining bad faith claims to proceed because of existing issues of fact that must be resolved by a jury (Susan McMahon v. The Medical Protective Co., No. 13-991, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35131).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge dismissed on March 19 a contractor's breach of contract claim against an insurer brought in the contractor's capacity as an assignee, as well as a direct action under California Insurance Code Section 11580 claim brought as an assignee or contractual indemnitee against another insurer (Nordby Construction Inc. v. American Safety Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-04074, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34513).
NEW ORLEANS - A general liability insurance policy's breach of contract exclusion precludes coverage for a negligence claim asserted by a parish regarding a project that allegedly suffered from improper work by various subcontractors, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 19, granting summary judgment to a subcontractor's insurer (Hanover Insurance Co. v. Plaquemines Parish Government, No. 12-1680, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34313).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on March 17 dismissed an insured's counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violation of Nevada Revised Statutes Section 686A.310(1)(a) with regard to an insurer's coverage in an underlying construction defects lawsuit (Probuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al. v. Double M. Construction d/b/a Classic Homes, No. 13-2156, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34039).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two groups of plaintiffs in consolidated class complaints accusing a payroll service company of breach of contract and other violations following a breach of their computer system lack standing to sue because they present no evidence of actual injury, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 13 (Daniel B. Storm, et al. v. Paytime, Inc., Barbara Holt, et al. v. Paytime Harrisburg, Inc., d/b/a Paytime, Inc., No. 14-1138, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31286).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey dismissed claims against two defendants in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on March 13, ruling that insureds' claims against those defendants were either not actionable or time-barred (Christopher Brown, et al. v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-2064, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30792).
TULSA, Okla. - Genuine issues of fact exist as to a subrogated insurer's breach of contract, negligence and breach of warranty claims against the manufacturer of a lighting system that caused a fire, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled March 17, denying summary judgment to the manufacturer (Great Northern Insurance Co. v. John Watson Landscape Illumination Inc., No. 12-25, N.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32512).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled on March 13 that an insurance agent was not improperly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because a possibility exists that insureds can establish a claim for negligence in the procurement of insurance against the agent (Larry Mattocks, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-2-M, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31024).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona who earlier dismissed a shareholder class action against a hydraulic fracturing company on March 12 granted the class permission to amend the complaint to include claims against two of the company's principals related to a specific contract the class contends was part of an illicit bill-padding scheme that artificially boosted the fracking company's earnings (In Re: Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 13-01800, D. Ariz.).
DAYTON, Ohio - An insurer did not act in breach of contract by denying coverage for water damage to insureds based upon an exclusion for damage arising from a sewer backup, an Ohio federal magistrate judge found March 11, recommending that the insurer's motion for summary judgment be granted (Charles Holt and Pennie Harris-Holt v. Fidelity National Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-00031, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29926).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 9 threw out competing breach of contract claims in a professional liability coverage dispute, finding that the insurer did not commit breach of contract because it has already paid one-third of its attorney insured's underlying defense expenses and the anti-subrogation rule prohibits the insurer's breach of contract counterclaim against the insured (Charla G. Aldous, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Co., No. 13-3310, N.D. Texas.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29061).
RICHMOND, Va. - A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in a breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit or denying reconsideration of its ruling, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 10 in an unpublished opinion (Nancy K. Wactor v. Jackson National Life Insurance Co., No. 13-2367, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3697).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A federal judge in California on March 4 granted summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured's material misrepresentations regarding her history of alcohol abuse in the application process caused the insurer to rescind the policy (Bipin Bhakta v. Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Co., No. 14-0351, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26508).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court panel on March 5 overturned a trial court judge's ruling denying a construction company's motion to compel arbitration in a defects lawsuit, holding that an arbitration clause was included in part of a separate document that attached to the construction contract (LDF Construction Inc. v. Texas Friends of Chabad Lubavitch, d/b/a Chabad Lubavitch Center of Houston, No. 14-14-00113-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.; 2015 Texas App. LEXIS 2111).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 4 dismissed insurers' breach of contract claim against insureds regarding an insurance policy's potential coverage for an underlying construction defects case because the insureds are not pursuing coverage under that policy (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. 14-1450, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27182).
AUSTIN, Texas - Remand of an insured's breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit to state court is not proper because it is not subject to the "direct action" provision in 28 U.S. Code Section 1332(c)(1), a federal judge in Texas ruled March 5 (Kenneth Harris v. Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 14-1087, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26859).