WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 16 found that an excess insurance policy is unambiguous and not illusory, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit over damage to the insured's New Orleans hotel (The Warwick Corporation, et al. v. Matthew Turetsky, et al., No. 4D16-2567, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11792).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A New York appeals panel on Aug. 16 reversed a lower court's dismissal of a private equity firm's fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty claims against an insurance broker, a professional liability insurer and its insurance agency but affirmed the lower court's refusal to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims against the insurer (Fox Paine & Company, LLC, et al. v. Houston Casualty Company, et al., No. 2014-11903, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6123).
BOSTON - A federal judge in Massachusetts on Aug. 16 trimmed some claims from a lawsuit brought by the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) against a chiropractic firm and its owners, finding that while the insurer's claims were timely and not barred by Massachusetts' Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) statute, the company's claims for civil conspiracy, money had and received, breach of contract and intentional interference with advantageous business relationships were not sufficiently pleaded (Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Barron Chiropractic & Rehabilitation, P.C., et al., No. 16-cv-10642-ADB, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130278).
PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of contract suit, an insurer moved for clarification on Aug. 11 with a Pennsylvania federal court to confirm that it is to produce only unredacted versions of documents previously produced with redactions based on proprietary material, reserves and "other reinsurance" information and additional documents reflecting the date when the insurer provided first notice of asbestos claims to other reinsurers of relevant policies (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS - Replacing drywall and insulation as a result of a subcontractor's faulty fire suppression system did not constitute an "accident" under a general liability insurance policy, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 11, affirming the dismissal of breach of contract and bad faith claims against an insurer (McShane Construction Company LLC v. Gotham Insurance Co., No. 16-2632, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14875).
SAN FRANCISCO - A company that provides vehicle service contracts (VSC), also known as extended warranties, cannot be held vicariously liable for telephone calls by telemarketers from All American Auto Protection Inc. (AAAP) that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because the telemarketers were not acting as its agents, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 9 (Charles A. Jones, et al. v. Royal Administration Services, Inc., No. 15-17328, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14671).
RICHMOND, Va. - A trial judge erred in applying the doctrine of judicial estoppel to hold that a "reinsurance participation agreement" (RPA) constituted an insurance contract under Virginia law, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 11, reversing in part a ruling and remanding for further proceedings (Minnieland Private Day School Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company Inc., No. 16-1511, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14916).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 7 denied a disability claimant's motion for partial summary judgment on the basis that the insurer did not breach its contract by enforcing the policy's offset provision when it reinstated the claimant's disability benefits (Benjamin McClure v. Country Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-2597, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123967).
CHICAGO - A breach of contract lawsuit filed by an assignee of certain reinsurance receivables rights from an insolvent insurer was untimely, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 7, finding that 215 Illinois Insurance Code Statute 5/206, 215 ILCS 5/206, does not provide that a liquidator may wait until the end to net the debits and credits (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Banco De Seguros Del Estado, No. 16-3499, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 14492).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Aug. 3 granted an insured's motion for partial summary judgment by declaring that it is entitled to independent counsel in an underlying trademark infringement lawsuit insofar as the underlying action involves claims for punitive damages, denying a commercial general liability insurer's motion to dismiss the insured's breach of contract suit (Med-Plus, Inc. v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, No. 16-2985, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123553).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Aug. 3 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss claims for breach of contract and fraud in relation to its denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits for a university employee, finding that all of the employee's claims were untimely (Laurel Davis v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 3:17-cv-00738, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122776).
PHILADELPHIA - In a breach of contract suit over asbestos insurance claims, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 1 ordered an insurer to produce to a reinsurer original, unredacted versions of documents concerning proprietary information, historical loss reserves and information related to other reinsurance companies (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120858).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on July 27 awarded a hair salon franchisor $26,900 in attorney fees and $8,649.42 in litigation expenses and court costs, less than the $62,344 the franchisor was seeking, in a case against a former franchisee alleging breach of contract, unfair competition and trademark and trade dress infringement, finding duplication of effort between the two law firms that worked on the case (Fantastic Sams Franchise Corporation v. Gerald Mosley, No. 16-2318, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177941).
DALLAS - A Texas appeals panel on July 24 affirmed a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from a $73,000 appraisal award for the insured's hailstorm damage (Floyd Circle Partners LLC v. Republic Lloyds, No. 05-16-00224, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6906).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Native American tribe cannot pursue claims that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to charge the tribe Medicare-like rates for contracted services at a hospital because the tribe waited too long to sue, a Michigan federal judge held July 21 (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan v. Munson Medical Center, No. 5:14-cv-11349, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113759).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on July 24 granted an insured's motion to intervene as the representative of 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 (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114779).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 21 affirmed a district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a loan servicer, finding that it did not breach a contract when it foreclosed on a property and that it did not fraudulently cancel an insurance policy on the foreclosed home (Ronald K. Webb v. Everhome Mortgage, No. 17-10243, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13194).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 21 granted a motion to dismiss the majority of the claims asserted against the owners and managers of several apartment complexes in relation to additional fees, but found that tenants sufficiently alleged that additional charges for laundry machines could constitute impermissible rent because they were not listed as an "appliance" in housing assistance payment contracts (HAP contracts) (Denika Terry, et al. v. Wasatch Advantage Group, LLC, et al., No. 2:15-CV-00799, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114301).