DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on April 22 granted a motion filed by lenders to dismiss borrowers' claims for breach of contract and other claims, but found that their claims for violation of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) can proceed (Martin White Jr. et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., AS, et al., No. 2:14-cv-12506, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52642).
AUSTIN, Texas - BP Exploration & Production and its affiliates on April 22 filed a motion for rehearing in the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that the court incorrectly limited the additional insured status of BP by incorporating restrictions included in BP's drilling contract with the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig (In re: Deepwater Horizon, No. 13-0670, Texas Sup.).
CINCINNATI - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act bars an employer in an action brought by multiemployer benefit funds to collect delinquent payments under a union contract from asserting the equitable defenses of laches and estoppel, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 20 (Operating Engineers Local 324 Health Care Plan, et al. v. G & W Construction Company, et al., No. 12-1786, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6420).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A contractor cannot allege that its judgment against a subcontractor for faulty work exceeds $2 million, thereby triggering an excess insurer's duty to defend, a California federal judge ruled April 14, granting dismissal of breach of contract and bad faith claims against the excess insurer (Nordby Construction Inc. v. American Safety Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-04074, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49048).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on April 14 ruled that a jury will be instructed that a couple defending against claims from their insurance company that they intentionally set a fire in September 2010 to destroy their home can obtain common-law punitive damages only on their counterclaims for breach of contract, treble damages for their counterclaim under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and a bad faith penalty under Tennessee insurance law if their claim accrued before April 2011 (American National Property & Casualty Company v. Carol Ann Stutte, et al., No. 11-CV-219, E.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48726).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on April 9 found that coverage turns on discovery within the policy period of a loss to real property for which an insured negligently failed to obtain insurance, not on when the loss was reported to the insurer, denying the insurer's motion to dismiss a breach of contract, bad faith and negligence lawsuit (11333 Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al., No. 14-02001, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46498).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 10 reinstated a quasi-contract cause of action and California state law claims brought by a class of consumers who allege false labeling claims caused them to buy "natural" cosmetics that they would have otherwise not purchased (Skye Astiana, et al. v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-17596, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5833).
SAN FRANCISCO - A settlement agreement that includes a provision in which the former employee waives his rights to employment with the employer at any facility it currently owns or with which it may contract in the future is ripe for review, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 8 (Donald Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., No. 12-16514, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5642).
SAN FRANCISCO - Dismissal of a defendant in a breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit is proper because an insured had failed to show that an insurer was not a party to the insurance contract, a California federal judge ruled April 7 (Eric Wright v. Allstate Insurance Company of California, et al., No. 15-1020, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45529).
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on April 6 partly granted a dismantling firm's motion to exclude the expert testimony in its contractual dispute with United States Steel Corp. (U.S. Steel), while denying a similar motion by U.S. Steel in its entirety (Allied Erecting and Dismantling Company Inc. v. United States Steel Corp., No. 4:12-cv-01390, N.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44702).
ATLANTA - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured against a $700,000 judgment awarded to homeowners for the insured's alleged breach of contract and breach of implied warranty with regard to the construction of their home, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 7 (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Howard Snider, et al., No. 14-10906, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5550).
BOSTON - An insurance agent whose contract was terminated following repeated violations of company policies failed to prove both that he was an employee rather an independent contractor and that he was actually targeted due to his age, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 6, upholding a trial court's decision (Peter Santangelo v. New York Life Insurance Company, No. 14-1912, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5509).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - After previously dismissing a putative class action targeting Google Wallet, a California federal judge on April 1 found that many of the previous defects had been cured, permitting claims for breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to survive a dismissal motion by Google Inc. (Alice Svenson v. Google Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-04080, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43902).
NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on April 1 granted an insurer's motion to set aside default in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer has presented meritorious defenses and that granting the motion will not prejudice the insureds that brought the action (Robert J. Ryan, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance, No. 14-6308, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42660).
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).