LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Dealer Did Not Breach UCL In Charging Fees, Federal Judge Rules

OAKLAND, Calif. - After finding that the lessor of a vehicle failed to show that a dealership breached a lease agreement with him, a California federal judge on Sept. 1 dismissed his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and dismissed cross-claims asserted by another dealer that was alleged to have accepted assignment of the lease contract (Weerachai Chaiwong v. Hanlees Fremont Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-04074, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142318).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Claims Based Solely On Faulty Workmanship Do Not Amount To 'Occurrence'

PHILADELPHIA - Granting commercial general liability insurers' motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Aug. 31 that underlying construction defects claims against insureds fail to amount to an "occurrence" under the policies and that the "real estate development activities-completed operations" exclusion further bars coverage (Northridge Village LP, et al. v. Travelers Indemnity Co. of Connecticut, et al., No. 15-1947, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140541).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Affirms Judgment, Corrects Order In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a lower court's final judgment but remanded with instructions to enter a corrected order reflecting that when the insured provides his homeowners insurer with a signed contract to complete the necessary subsurface repairs, the insurer shall pay that amount instead of tendering the policy limits (Joseph Ringelman v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 5D16-260, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 12567).

Mealey's Insurance - Connecticut Federal Judge Finds No Coverage Owed For Foundation Damages

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 29 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims in a suit seeking coverage for a cracked foundation after determining that the cause of the foundation loss was not sudden and accidental as required for coverage to exist under the policy (Sandra Miller v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-2059, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140023).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - DOL Proposes Extension Of Transition Rule Period For Fiduciary Rule Exemptions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration on Aug. 31 published in the Federal Register a proposed 18-month extension from Jan. 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019, of the special transition period for the fiduciary rule's Best Interest Contract Exemption and the Principal Transactions Exemption and certain amendments to Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24.

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Failing Concrete Walls Not Covered In Home's Insurance Policy

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insurer did not breach its contract when it refused to pay to correct structural concrete issues caused by a chemical reaction because under the policy a home's walls must actually fall, a federal judge in Connecticut held Aug. 28 (Barry Agosti, et al. v. Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co., et al., No 16-1686, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137411).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Did Not Show That Insurer Conducted Bad Faith Investigation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Insureds failed to show that their automobile insurance provider acted in bad faith or breached its contract with the insureds in its handling of an underinsured motorist claim, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled Aug. 25 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for relief (Hanan Endrawes, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Co., No. 17-0929, M.D. Tenn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137040).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Faith Claim, Lets Breach Of Contract Claim Stand In Coverage Dispute

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 28 held that despite the court's rejection of a homeowners insurer's coverage position regarding concrete wall cracks in the insureds' basement, the evidence on record is insufficient for a reasonable jury to find that the insurer denied the insureds' claim in bad faith (Michael Roberts v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-0435, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137412).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Refuses To Reconsider Ruling In Credit Life Insurance Bad Faith Suit

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Aug. 21 denied a credit life insurer's motion for reconsideration and motion to certify questions to the Ohio Supreme Court in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit after determining that the insurer failed to offer any new evidence that there was any error or manifest injustice in the court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insured (Sheela K. O'Donnell v. Financial American Life Insurance Co., No. 14-1071, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133377).

Mealey's Insurance - 9th Circuit Reverses Ruling In Water Damage Suit, Says Questions Of Fact Exist

SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 reversed and remanded a district court's ruling that no coverage is afforded for water damage to a California couple's home after determining that the lower court abused its discretion in excluding relevant evidence that, if properly considered, raises genuine issues of material fact on the breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against the insurer (Neda Raschkovsky, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-55093, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16006).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 8th Circuit: Scottrade Hacking Victims Have Standing, Failed To State Claims

ST. LOUIS - A trial court erred when it ruled that customers of a hacked securities brokerage firm lacked standing to bring at least their contract-related class claims after the theft of their data; however, the plaintiffs' claims fail because they did not state claims upon which relief can be granted, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 21 (Matthew Kuhns, et al. v. Scottrade, Inc., Nos. 16-3426, 16-3542, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15857).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 5th Circuit Finds Yahoo Owes $4.4 Million In NCAA Contest Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - Reversing a $550,000 judgment in favor of Yahoo! Inc., a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 21 found instead that Yahoo owed $4.4 million for breaching the cancellation terms of its contract with a promotions firm related to an online NCAA contest (SCA Promotions Inc. v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 15-11254, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15845).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Affirms Ruling In Excess Insurer's Favor In Dispute Over Hotel Damage

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).

Mealey's Insurance - New York Panel Partly Reverses Ruling In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Trims Some Of GEICO's Claims From Fraudulent Billing Suit

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Insurer Seeks Clarification On Discovery To Reinsurer In Breach Of Contract Suit

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.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Insurer Seeks Clarification On Discovery To Reinsurer In Breach Of Contract Suit

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Seeks Clarification On Discovery To Reinsurer In Breach Of Contract Suit

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - 8th Circuit: Faulty Fire System Is Not An 'Accident' Under Insurance Policy

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Extended Warranty Company Deemed Not Liable For Marketing Calls That Violated TCPA

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Finds Error In Ruling That Reinsurance Agreement Is An Insurance Contract

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Disability Insurer Did Not Breach Contract By Enforcing Offset Provision

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Assignee's Breach Of Contract Suit Against Reinsurer Is Untimely

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).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Potential For Punitive Damages Creates Conflict Of Interest, Federal Judges Rules

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Potential For Punitive Damages Creates Conflict Of Interest, Federal Judges Rules

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).