LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana appeals court panel on Dec. 6 affirmed a trial court judge's $1,125 award to a contractor accused of construction defects, finding that the evidence demonstrated that while the standards of the contractor's work were comparable to a "Volkswagen" rather than a "Cadillac," it did breach the terms of a construction contract (Calvin Paul Williams v. Vincent Alexander, Nos. CA-17-436, 17-437, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2017 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 377).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 5 found that an insured's breach of contract and negligence lawsuit against an adjuster is time-barred by a two-year statute of limitations, granting the adjuster's motion for summary judgment in Hurricane Ike coverage dispute (Gracie Reese v. Aftermath Public Adjusters, Inc., et al., No. 16-273, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199527).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 4 dismissed insureds' claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract, finding that they failed to show that an insurer's termination of their life insurance policies was unreasonable (Arthur Avazian, et al. v. Genworth Life & Annuity Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:17-cv-06459, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199067).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A financial services company abandoned reliance on reinsurance agreements in its lawsuit seeking to recover a $26 million arbitration award directly from reinsurers, a credit insurer argues in a Dec. 1 reply brief to a District of Columbia federal court, seeking dismissal of the breach of contract lawsuit (Vantage Commodities Financial Services I, LLC v. Assured Risk Transfer PCC, LCC, et al., No. 17-01451, D. D.C.).
HONOLULU - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 30 affirmed a district court's decision that denied a Korean corporation's motion to compel an estate's negligence claims related to the death of a seaman to arbitration in South Korea, finding that the corporation was not a signatory to the arbitral agreement in an underlying employment contract (Esther Margarita Limia Suarez Viuda De Yang, et al. v. Majestic Blue Fisheries LLC, et al., No. 15-16881, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24308).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel of 12 judges on Dec. 4 overruled its decision in Barnes v. Andover Co., L.P. and held that where a seafarer freely enters a union contract, courts may not review that contract piecemeal unless there is evidence that the collective bargaining process was unfair (James L. Joyce v. Maersk Line Ltd., No. 16-3553, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24433).
NEW YORK - A power company's contracts with its contractors requires indemnification only after the establishment of liability, a New York justice held in denying reargument in an asbestos case in an opinion posted Nov. 30 (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation Michael Koulermos and Marian Koulermos v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190406/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4530).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania judge found that a lower court erred in finding that a commercial umbrella liability insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured against $2.6 million in punitive damages that it paid to settle an underlying wrongful death and survival action, vacating and remanding for an entry of summary judgment in favor of the insured on the breach of contract claim and for reinstatement and further proceedings on the bad faith claim (Bensalem Racing Association, Inc., et al. v. Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 530 EDA 2017, Pa. Super.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 29 partially granted a motion filed by property investors who were unable to obtain a mortgage to dismiss a counterclaim by a seller for breach of contract for liquidated damages, finding that a liquidated damages provision in a modification to a purchase agreement was unenforceable (Randall Ewing, et al. v. 1645 W. Farragut LLC, No. 16-cv-9930, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196197).
SEATTLE - Finding that a long-term-care insurance policy unambiguously defines the requirements of receiving nursing home benefits versus assisted living facility benefits, a Washington federal judge on Nov. 30 affirmed a lower court's finding that the insurer did not breach the contract when it denied a request for nursing home benefits (Mike Howisey, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., No. 17-00009, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197220).
MIAMI - An aviation industry expert can testify about whether the training received by a worker who was injured in an aircraft-moving tractor from an employee of the company that made the tractor was adequate but cannot offer opinions on the sales contract for the tractor because doing so involves issues of law, a Florida federal magistrate judge held Nov. 30 (Roy Maltez v. Trepel Airport Equipment GMBH, No. 16-24465, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196458).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge in a Nov. 29 text order granted a joint motion to stay a class action alleging that a homeowners insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Jean Heckmann v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 29 held that an indemnification arrangement involving Target Corp. and hamper suppliers is not an "insured contract" pursuant to an insurance policy issued to one of the suppliers, affirming a lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a coverage dispute over an alleged eye injury caused by a pop-up laundry hamper that was purchased at Target in 2010 (Northern Insurance Company of New York v. Target Corporation, et al., No. 16-2222, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24156).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on Nov. 27 an 18-month extension of the special transition period for the Fiduciary Rule's Best Interest Contract Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption as well as the applicability of certain amendments to Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24.
SHERMAN, Texas - Because insureds failed to offer evidence supporting their claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of an insurer's denial of coverage for a water damage claim, a Texas federal judge on Nov. 29 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Jon and Leslie Young v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., No. 17-87, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196094).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 27 granted a homeowners insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for flood damage caused by a May 2015 storm in Houston, finding that the policy excluded flood damage from coverage (Ali Ekhlassi v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1257, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194467).
NEW YORK - In a dispute over claims stemming from the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 27 recommended that insurers be awarded $221.5 million but that their claims arising out of reinsurance contracts be denied (In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, No. 03-MDL-1570, Continental Casualty Co. v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army, No. 04-5970, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196192).
ALBANY, N.Y. - An insured adequately asserted a third-party breach of contract claim against an insurance broker based on the broker's failure to learn of an insurer's liquidation proceeding, a New York appeals panel ruled Nov. 22, finding that a trial justice erred in dismissing this claim (Mary Jean Muncil v. Widmir Inn Restaurant Corp. v. Carter-MGM Insurance Agency LLC, et al., No. 524856, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8276).
LOS ANGELES - Nebraska Uniform Arbitration Act (NUAA) Section 25-2602.01(f) applies to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) and renders an arbitration provision unenforceable, a California appeals panel held Nov. 22, finding that a trial judge did not err in refusing to compel arbitration in a breach of contract dispute (Citizens of Humanity, et al. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. B276601, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 1038).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A bad faith claim stemming from an auto insurance dispute must be dismissed because the claim cannot be adjudicated until after the breach of contract claim is resolved, a Florida federal judge said Nov. 27 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (James Robert Wadsworth, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-502, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194254).