BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 9 certified three questions in an employment practices liability coverage dispute to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, noting that the outcome "could affect scores of insurance contracts in Massachusetts" (Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co. v. VisionAid, Inc. f/k/a H.L. Boulton Co. Inc., No. 15-1351, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10464).
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on June 6 substantially denied an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although the state does not recognize a claim for breach of fiduciary duty by an insurer, the insured has properly pleaded the remaining claims (Claire A. Hews v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-834, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73486).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on June 3 dismissed fraud and indemnification counterclaims filed by an insurer in a lawsuit over a contract payment dispute between a town's wastewater authority and the insurer (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. The Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport, No. 15-1319, W.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 6 held that an insured failed to demonstrate that securities violations claims against it fell under a directors, officers and corporate liability insurance policy's exception to the "insured v. insured" exclusion, affirming a lower federal court's dismissal of the insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer (AMERCO v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA, No. 14-16041, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10209).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The putative lead plaintiff in a suit alleging breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) against Google Inc. filed a motion for class certification in California federal court on June 3, alleging that privacy violations made via the Google Wallet feature affected millions of potential class members (Alice Svenson v. Google Inc., et al., No. 5:13-cv-04080, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER - In a June 2 complaint filed in Colorado federal court, the owners of the Vitamin Cottage chain of natural food and supplements stores sued their businessowners insurance provider, alleging breach of contract and bad faith for the insurer's failure to provide a defense in a putative lawsuit related to a 2015 data breach (Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc., et al. v. AMCO Insurance Co., No. 1:16-cv-01326, D. Colo.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Dismissal of claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because beneficiaries to a life insurance policy have failed to show that an employer was a party to the contract or that it acted in bad faith in failing to continue payroll deductions for payment of the insurance policy, a federal judge in Alabama ruled June 3 (Nicholas Vinson, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0885, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72611).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A trial judge erred in granting an abatement order in a breach of contract lawsuit between insureds and their homeowners insurer, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 1, quashing the order and remanding for further proceedings (Raymond Diaz and Surey Diaz v. Florida Peninsula Insurance Co., No. 4D15-3283, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 8341).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on May 31 held that the assignee of certain reinsurance recoverables' breach of contract claims against a Brazilian reinsurer are untimely under Illinois law (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Banco De Seguros Del Estado, No. 12-cv-06357, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70462).
TAMPA, Fla. - Dismissal of a statutory bad faith claim in a workers' compensation coverage dispute is not proper because abatement of the claim pending resolution of a breach of contract claim is appropriate, a federal judge in Florida ruled May 26 (DSK Group Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-1987, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69225).
ST. LOUIS - A surface water exclusion in a homeowners insurance policy precludes coverage for damage from a pipe leaking, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 27, affirming summary judgment to the insurer on a breach of contract claim (Michael Bull v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-1397, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9703).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 25 found that there is a factual dispute concerning an insurer's adjustment of a claim for hail-damaged soybean crops, reversing and remanding a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurer on the insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims (Bruhn Farms Joint Venture v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 15-2202, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9542).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 24 affirmed dismissal of ERISA and breach of contract claims against Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (BAH) arising from an employment dispute (Foster Rich v. Ralph W. Shrader, et al., No. 14-55484, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9488).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is not proper because insureds have shown that they have a "reasonable likelihood" of providing factual support for their claim, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled May 19 (Steven Daniels, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 16-360, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65964).
DALLAS - Because an insured failed to prove that a third-party administrator tortiously interfered with an insurance contract when handling underlying asbestos coverage claims on behalf of the insurer, a Texas federal judge on May 20 granted the third-party administrator's motion to dismiss and granted the insured's leave to amend its complaint to replead its claims against the third-party administrator (Celanese Corp. v. OneBeacon America Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-03822, N.D. Texas).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on May 19 granted professional liability insurers' joint motion to dismiss a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit brought by their psychologist insured, her spouse and their marital community property (Lana R. Staheli PH.D., et al. v. Chicago Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-0096, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66240).
CHICAGO - A group of lead plaintiffs argue in a May 18 brief that their putative class claims related to the breach of a digital smart toys maker's website should not be dismissed, telling an Illinois federal court that they properly alleged contractual claims based on the defendant's failure to keep their personally identifiable information (PII) secure (In re VTech Data Breach Litigation, No. 1:15-cv-10889, N.D. Ill.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on May 17 issued a report and recommendation in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, recommending that the district court deny an insurer's motion to dismiss so that it may file a motion for summary judgment and recommending that the insured in the action file a more definite statement regarding her bad faith claim (Sarah Long v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-2428, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65575).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Dismissal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because insureds failed to show that an insurer lacked a reasonable basis for denying their underinsured motorist coverage claims, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled May 16 (Steven Kiss, et al. v. State Farm Insurance Co., No. 15-6572, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64572).
DENVER - Improper maintenance contributed to a roof's collapse, and an insurer preserved its right to rely on the improper-maintenance exclusion by raising the issue in its reservation-of-rights letter, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held May 16, affirming summary judgment to the insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims (Eugene Gallegos and Diane Gallegos v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 15-1238, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9094).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - An Indiana federal judge on May 12 dismissed an insured's third-party claims filed in the Northern District of Indiana against a remediation company because the contract between the remediation company and the insurer included a forum-selection clause providing that any litigation related to the contract must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana or in the Marion County, Ind., Superior Court (Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Hartford Iron & Metal Inc., et al., No. 14-006, N.D. Ind.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62658).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge in Louisiana on May 13 denied Companion Life Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract suit, ruling that the insurer failed to show that the plaintiff intentionally misrepresented in his policy application that he had been previously diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (James McLin v. Companion Life Insurance Company, No. 14cv745, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63400).
TACOMA, Wash. - A copyright infringement dispute between a website development company and a chiropractic firm that retained the developer's services was dismissed May 6 by a Washington federal judge, who found that the developer "has failed to show any substantial contacts" by the company in Washington "beyond the existence of the contract" (Williams Business Services Inc. v. Waterside Chiropractic Inc., No. 14-5873, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60529).