DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge held May 9 that an underlying false advertising claim against a manufacturer insured does not constitute a personal and advertising injury under business and umbrella liability insurance policies, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract dispute (Vitamin Health, Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-10071, E.D. Mich., Southern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60858).
CHICAGO - A college professor who was accused of plagiarism in a published textbook failed to show that his termination constituted a breach of contract or was caused by age discrimination, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 6 (Joseph S. Roberts v. Columbia College Chicago, et al., No. 15-2079, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8445).
BALTIMORE - Evidence of conduct coming under valid government contracts satisfied the standard for removal. and a judge did not err in applying the frequency, regularity, proximity standard in a direct-evidence asbestos case, a federal appeals panel held May 6 (Ronald F. Hurley, et al. v. Alltite Gaskets, et al., No. 14-2049, Kevin Harper, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 14-2271, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8415).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 5 affirmed a trial court's judgment against an employer, which was named a defendant in a lawsuit filed by foreign workers who were ultimately awarded more than $14 million for their claims related to their recruitment and alleged treatment, in cross-claims it filed against the company and attorney it contracted with to recruit workers from overseas (Kurian David, et al. v. World Marin, L.L.C. v. Malvern C. Burnett, et al., No. 15-30464, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 8362).
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on May 3 held that an insurer committed breach of contract and acted in bad faith when it denied its insureds' Hurricane Irene claim, awarding the insureds $233,398 for their breach of contract claim and treble damages for their unfair and deceptive trade practices claim for a $700,194 total judgment against the insurer (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 13-21, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59461).
FRESNO, Calif. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is not proper because an insurer has shown that the amount in controversy exceeds the statutory limit, a federal judge in California ruled May 3 (See Lee, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-0465, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58933).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract lawsuit is proper, a federal judge in Alabama ruled May 2, because an insured failed to submit affidavits in support of its claim within the statutorily required timeframe (Barbara Brown v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-488, M.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57886).
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina on May 3 granted a motion to stay proceedings in a declaratory relief suit brought by an insurer, ruling that resolution of an underlying state court proceeding is necessary before the insureds can proceed with their counterclaims for, among other things, insurance breach of contract and bad faith (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. KB Home, et al., No. 13-0831, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58667).
SAN FRANCISCO - Because an insured suffered no "ultimate net loss" under an excess insurance policy and did not incur compensable property damage, the excess insurer did not breach its contract with the insured or its implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by failing to cover an underlying settlement of claims arising out of a construction project, a California federal judge ruled May 2 (Thompson Pacific Construction, Inc. v. American International Group, Inc., et al., No. 15-01091, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58237).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 28 denied a law firm insured's motion to remand to state court its breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking lawyers' professional liability coverage for an underlying legal malpractice action (Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., v. Westport Insurance Corp., et al., No. 15-322, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56571).
TULSA, Okla. - Dismissal of claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against an insurance agent is proper because it is an agent and did not write or issue the insurance policy at issue, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled April 29 (Christopher Wise v. CSAA General Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-0100, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57192).
ATLANTA - A letter stating the mortgage lender's required net payout amount for a short sale to proceed, which was nearly $300,000 less than the amount offered by the buyer, was clearly a clerical error and did not lead to the formation of a valid contract, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 28, upholding a trial court's decision denying the buyer's request to enforce the short sale contract and permitting the lender to proceed with a foreclosure (Victor W. Patterson, et al. v. CitiMortgage, Inc., et al., No. 14-14636, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7660).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A commercial general liability insurance policy does not extend basic coverage for a claim of breach of contract, a majority of the Arkansas Supreme Court held April 28, finding that there is no coverage and considering certified questions moot (Columbia Insurance Group Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Co. Inc. v. Cenark Project Management Services, Inc., et al., No. CV-15-804, Ark. Sup.; 2016 Ark. LEXIS 153).
TRENTON, N.J. - Summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because insureds' claims are barred pursuant to the anti-concurrent causation clause in their homeowners insurance policy, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled April 27 (Jerome Keelen, et al. v. QBE Insurance Corp., No. 13-6941, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55895).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 29 reversed a lower court's final judgment in favor of insureds in a sinkhole coverage dispute to the extent that it awarded money damages for subsurface repairs without requiring the insureds to enter into a contract for those repairs, further reversing the court's prejudgment interest award (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Migdalia Cabrera, et al., No. 2D14-4337, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 6529).
PHOENIX - A federal jury in Arizona on April 22 awarded a widow and her three children $17 million, including $8 million in punitive damages, in a case alleging that their decedent contracted mesothelioma after occupational exposure to asbestos (Sandra Brown Coulbourn v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., No. 12-8141, D. Ariz.).
BECKLEY, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on April 19 allowed breach of contract, negligence and fraud claims to proceed in a dispute over prize indemnity insurance coverage for a "hole-in-one" golf tournament contest, but dismissed the common-law and statutory bad faith claims (Talbot 2002 Underwriting Capital Ltd, et al. v. Old White Charities Inc., No. 15-12542, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52088).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on April 14 refused to dismiss a breach of contract claim against an excess insurer and bad faith and punitive damages claims against a primary insurer in a products liability coverage dispute involving the insured's da Vinci Surgical System product (Intuitive Surgical Inc. v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-04834, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51097).
PADUCAH, Ky. - After a federal judge in Kentucky denied a pair of insurers in rehabilitation's motion to stay a litigation brought by a policyholder, the insurers answered the complaint on April 14, generally denying the policyholder's allegations (Charles D. Tucker, M.D. v. American Network Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-cv-00013, W.D. Ky.).
NEW ORLEANS - Allegations of a subcontractor's defective work in the reconstruction of a high school after Hurricane Katrina raise the possibility of an insurer's duty to defend, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 15, denying an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims (Gootee Construction, Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 15-3185, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50911).
SCRANTON, Pa. - An insured has properly pleaded that his insurer unreasonably denied payment of benefits pursuant to an automobile insurance policy, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 18 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit (Justin Linko v. Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance, No. 15-2066, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51602).