LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Court Reverses Remand, Finds Judge Imposed Too Strict A Standard

NEW ORLEANS - Requiring production of contracts and other evidence of precise government oversight into the use of asbestos in the military oversteps the boundaries of federal officer removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 20 (Howard Zeringue v. Allis-Chalmers Corp., et al., No. 16-30058, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1077).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Reverses Remand, Finds Judge Imposed Too Strict A Standard

NEW ORLEANS - Requiring production of contracts and other evidence of precise government oversight into the use of asbestos in the military oversteps the boundaries of federal officer removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 20 (Howard Zeringue v. Allis-Chalmers Corp., et al., No. 16-30058, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1077).

Mealey's Insurance - 2nd Circuit: Insureds' Delay In Notifying Insurers Of Theft Claim Is Inexcusable

NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 19 found that insureds' delay in notifying their insurers of an alleged burglary was unreasonable and inexcusable, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurers in a breach of contract lawsuit (Nikolai Minasian, et al. v. IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-80, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rejects Insurer's Motion To Bifurcate, Stay Insurance Bad Faith Claims

PHILADELPHIA - Bifurcating and staying bad faith claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit would not be convenient for the parties, prejudice an insurer or economize the litigation, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 18 in denying the insurer's motion (Eizen Fineburg & McCarthy P.C. v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-2461, E.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6985).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Genuine Issues Exist As To When Masonry Defects Were Discovered, Judge Finds

BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on Jan. 17 denied a masonry subcontractor's motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract suit, ruling that genuine issues of fact remain as to when potential defects in the installation of a masonry facade that collapsed in April 2013 were known (Skanska USA Building Inc. v. J.D. Long Masonry Inc., No. 16-0933, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5885).

Mealey's Insurance - Plaintiff Not Owed Coverage As Additional Insured, 9th Circuit Affirms

PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for property and business interruption losses (Bita Trading Inc. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-55371, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 521).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Insurance Bad Faith Claim Survives Motion To Dismiss

SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 12 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insured has pleaded sufficient evidence to support the claim (Robert Hughes v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-2240, M.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4852).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Finds California Law Provision In Facebook Terms Is Enforceable

SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that a California choice-of-law clause in Facebook Inc.'s terms of service is enforceable, a California federal judge on Jan. 9 granted the social media's company's motion to dismiss claims for violation of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (TCCWNA) (Jose Palomino, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 16-cv-04230, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2971).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Government Owes Oil Companies $99M For Breach Of Avgas Contracts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on Jan. 6 ruled that the federal government owes more than $99 million to companies that it contracted with for the production of aviation fuel (avgas) during World War II, finding that all of the acid waste disposed of at a site in Fullerton, Calif., was "by reason of" the agreements (Shell Oil Company, et al. v. United States of America, No. 06-141-C, Fed. Clms.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Breach Of Contract Claim Due To Insurer's Lack Of Coverage Decision

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge dismissed on Jan. 5 an insured's breach of contract claim against its insurer because the insurer has not granted or denied coverage for a claim for water damage to a condominium complex (Mainhouse Homeowners Association v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1457, W.D. Wash.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1663).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds' Lack Of Breach Of Contract Claim Leads To Dismissal Of Bad Faith Claim

TAMPA, Fla. - Because insureds have failed to bring a claim for breach of contract, they have failed to state a claim for bad faith and have violated the particularity requirement pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal judge in Florida ruled Jan. 9 (Fred Fox, et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., No. 16-3254, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2678).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Says No Coverage For Roofing Subcontractor's $6.6M In Faulty Work Damage

CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurance policy does not cover a roofing subcontractor over faulty work claims that resulted in more than $6.6 million in damages to townhomes, an insurer says in its Jan. 4 complaint to an Illinois federal court (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Classic Roofing Inc. and Custom Roofing Contracting Ltd., No. 17-45, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Certain Testimony In Breach Of Contract Suit Between Gun Companies

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Jan. 4 excluded in part various testimony offered by a gun manufacturer in a breach of contract dispute with two gun stores because the expert did not meet qualification and reliability standards for some of the testimony (Signature Marketing Inc. d/b/a Signature Manufacturing v. New Frontier Armory LLC and EXTAR LLC, No. 15-7200, D. Kan.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1130).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Denies Allegations Made In Breach Of Contract Suit Filed By Reinsured

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A reinsurer told a federal court in Alabama on Jan. 2 that its reinsured submitted a reinsurance loss bill under a different agreement than the one listed in the reinsured's complaint (Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 16-cv-00948, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Unambiguous Policy Language Shows Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The term "flood" in a homeowners insurance policy is not ambiguous under South Carolina law and, as a result, an insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying coverage under the policy because it contained a water damage exclusion that precluded coverage for the damages insureds sought, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled Dec. 29 in granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Stephen F. Morris, et al. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-0880, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179715).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Window Components Maker Not Liable For Indemnification, Contribution

MINNEAPOLIS - A window components manufacturer need not indemnify or contribute to an arbitration award a plaintiff company must pay to a school district for windows that needed to be remediated, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled Dec. 30, finding that the manufacturer was not liable under contract or tort law (All Metro Glass v. Tubelite Inc., No. 15-140, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180520).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Policy Bars Flood Damage, Judge Says; Breach Of Contract Claim Fails

COLUMBIA, S.C. - An insurer's policy excludes coverage for flood damage to the insureds' home, a South Carolina federal judge ruled Dec. 29, granting the insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to claims for breach of contract, breach of contract with fraudulent intent and bad faith refusal to pay (Stephen F. Morris and Martha Morris v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-00880, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179715).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer: Arguments Made By Reinsurer Regarding Jurisdiction Are Invalid

SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer argued in a federal court in California on Dec. 20 that its reinsurer's "first-to-file" argument is invalid because the reinsurer did not raise that defense in a previous motion to dismiss the insurer's breach of contract suit (The American Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 16-3044, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge: No Bad Faith Claim Without Showing Of Breach Of Contract

MIAMI - An insured cannot bring claims against its insurer for bad faith until it has first shown that the insurer breached the terms of its insurance policy with the insured, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled Dec. 19 in granting the insurer's motion to abate the insurer's bad faith claims (Katchmore Luhrs LLC v. Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty, No. 15-23420, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175004).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Excludes Testimony In Breach Of Contract Suit Over Supply Of Crude Oil

HOUSTON - In a breach of contract lawsuit, a Texas federal judge on Dec. 20 excluded in part testimony from both parties involved in a dispute over an agreement for the supply of crude oil (Musket Corp. v. Suncor Energy [U.S.A.] Marketing Inc., No. 15-100, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175601).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Premera Seeks Dismissal Of Fraud, Contract Claims In Data Breach Class Action

PORTLAND, Ore. - In a December 20 reply brief in Oregon federal court, Premera Blue Cross says that fraud-based and contract-based claims brought against it in a putative class action over a 2014 data breach incident merit dismissal because the plaintiffs have not met their burden of individually stating plausible claims under their respective contracts with the insurer (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02633, D. Ore.).

Mealey's Insurance - Contract Claims Are Not Covered Under Insurance Policy, Federal Judge Says

HONOLULU - Claims based in contract do not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Hawaii federal judge ruled Dec. 16, dismissing counterclaims for breach of contract and reformation against two insurers in a coverage dispute over defects in a construction project (American Automobile Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. v. Hawaii Nut & Bolt Inc. and Safeway Inc., No. 15-00245, D. Hawaii; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174243).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - California High Court Reverses Remand Of Class Action For Recalculation Of APRs

LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Dec. 15 partially reversed a judgment by a court of appeal to the extent it directed the trial court to hold further proceedings on a class's claims under the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act, but affirmed a decision that a dealership's practice of backdating contracts did not violate the Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA) (Raceway Ford Cases, Nos. E054517, E056595, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 842).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Rules Subcontractor In Chemical Injury Case May Sue Environmental Consultant

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 14 ruled that a subcontractor could file a fourth-party complaint against an environmental contractor for breach of contract in relation to an underlying lawsuit in which a worker seeks damages for exposure to toxic chemicals while working on an excavation project (Johnnie Parker v. John Moriarty & Associates v. Strittmatter Metro LLC v. Environmental Consultants and Contractors Inc., No. 15-1506, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172688).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California High Court Reverses Remand Of Class Action For Recalculation Of APRs

LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Dec. 15 partially reversed a judgment by a court of appeal to the extent it directed the trial court to hold further proceedings on a class's claims under the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act, but affirmed a decision that a dealership's practice of backdating contracts did not violate the Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA) (Raceway Ford Cases, Nos. E054517, E056595, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 842).