MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota jury on Nov. 22 found that the company that owns a pumpkin patch was liable for the kidney damage a child suffered from contracting E. coli from a petting zoo at the pumpkin patch and awarded her and her family $7.55 million (Stephanie Heidish, et al. v. Dehn's Pumpkins LLC, No. 27-CV-14-17068, Minn. Dist., 4th Jud., Hennepin Co.).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut appeals court found that an insurer's duty to defend was not barred by a public entity errors and omission liability insurance policy's contract exclusion because an underlying complaint left open the possibility that a negligent misrepresentation claim against the insured did not arise out of a contract, reversing and remanding a lower court in an opinion to be officially released Dec. 6 (Town of Monroe v. Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. AC 38332, Conn. App.; 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS 443).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 22 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a lawyer and his consulting firm's lawsuit alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, unauthorized use of name and trademark and copyright infringement (Devil's Advocate LLC, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-1048, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20952).
LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 rejected an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit for failure to join an indispensable party, allowing an insured to amend his complaint to add his wife as a plaintiff (William Koepke v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co., No. 16-4633, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161112).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Nov. 18 granted in part and denied in part competing motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insurer breached its contract with its insureds under a homeowners insurance policy, its reading of the policy was reasonable (Noah Baskett, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1317, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160449).
FRESNO, Calif. - An insurer is entitled to summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 18, because California law bars insurers from indemnifying their insureds for punitive damages awards (Paul Evert's RV Country Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0124, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160519).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 21 denied cross-motions for partial summary judgment on breach of contract claims in a suit over indemnification for cleanup from contamination from underground storage tank (UST) leaks, finding that too many issues of material fact exist as to whether the discovery rule or tolling doctrines apply under Arizona law (Greyhound Lines Incorporated v. Viad Corporation, No. CV-15-01820-PHX-DGC, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160960).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Property owners' fraud claim is not a covered "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy because they allege intentional intent by an insured contractor, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Nov. 18, also upholding a previous decision that the insurer had a duty to defend a breach of contract claim (Columbia Insurance Group Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company Inc. v. Arkansas Infrastructure Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160151).
LOS ANGELES - On his own motion, a federal judge in California on Nov. 17 remanded an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeded the statutory requirement (Maria L. Monroy, et al. v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-5296, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159591).
PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 14 found that the owner of an Iraqi company that was contracted to build a vehicle maintenance facility in Iraq failed to show that he had standing to sue the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and a company in relation to an arbitral award dismissing his claims (Wameedh Al Azzawi v. International Centre for Dispute Resolution, et al., No. 16-548, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157712).
CINCINNATI - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions, an Ohio federal judge on Nov. 9 held that an insurer is not entitled to rescind its professional errors and omissions liability policy and breached its contract as a matter of law by both refusing to defend its insured in an underlying lawsuit and refusing to pay the damages award that was legally obtained against its insured in a default judgment (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. National Condo & Apartment Insurance Group, et al., No. 13-191, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155576).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 9 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured failed to present any evidence to support her bad faith claim with regard to the insurer's handling of her homeowners insurance claim (Lillian Pecko v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1988, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155355).
SAN DIEGO - A California court on Nov. 7 reversed a judgment granting a motion for a new trial filed by the purchaser of a vehicle on his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), the False Advertising Law (FAL) and others that was issued against a dealer services company, finding that it was entitled to a defense verdict as the onetime holder of a retail installment contract (Michael Z. Tun v. Wells Fargo Dealer Services Inc., No. D070447, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 958).
CHICAGO - An appraisal clause's use of the word, "binding" made clear to an insured that by participating in the appraisal process, it foreclosed its opportunity to litigate the amount an insurer owed it for damage to a building covered by the insurance policy, an Illinois federal judge ruled Nov. 7, dismissing a breach of contract claim (70th Court Condo Association v. Ohio Security Insurance Co. and Donan Engineering Co. Inc., No. 16-07723, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153959).
CINCINNATI - A surety's settlement of breach of contract claims against the state of Michigan for refusal to make final payments to a general contractor for work to a prison kitchen was not in bad faith because the surety and the contractor had shared interests, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 7 (Great American Insurance Co. v. E.L. Bailey & Company Inc. and Edward L. Bailey, No. 15-2149, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20018).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Finding that the resolution of fact-intensive questions regarding when an insured discovered a fraud and embezzlement loss and when it should have reported the loss to its insurer is premature at this stage in the litigation, a New York federal judge on Nov. 3 denied the insurer's motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit (Acquest Holdings Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-00212, W.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153367).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Beneficiaries have pleaded enough evidence for their breach of contract claim to proceed to the summary judgment stage of the litigation, a federal judge in Alabama ruled Nov. 4 in denying an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Nicholas Vinson, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-885, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153369).