ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A subrogation waiver clause included in a heating oil agreement sent to an insured by the heating oil company contravenes public policy because the average consumer does not have the chance to negotiate the provisions in residential heating oil contracts, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 5 in finding that an insurer is not barred from asserting negligence claims, as the subrogee of its insured, against the heating oil company (State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., et al. v. Petroleum Heat & Power Co. Inc., et al., No. 13-6732, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138479).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Oct. 7 dismissed with prejudice Foo Fighters LLC's breach of contract lawsuit seeking full policy benefits for 11 shows that were canceled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and an injury singer and guitarist Dave Grohl suffered during a performance one day after the band and its insurers and brokers filed a stipulation for dismissal (Foo Fighters LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al., No. 16-cv-04208, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Oct. 5 ordered Foo Fighters LLC to show cause in writing why their breach of contract lawsuit seeking full policy benefits for 11 shows that were canceled in the wake of the terrorist attacks should not be dismissed for lack of prosecution (Foo Fighters LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al., No. 16-cv-04208, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - Ruling that certain declarations sought in an insured's motion for partial summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract bad faith lawsuit "seemingly rest upon disputed factual determinations and assessments of witness credibility that remain reserved to the trier of fact - a jury," a federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 denied the insured's motion (AMA Discount Inc., et al. v. Seneca Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-2845, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137349).
DALLAS - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is not proper because an insured has failed to show that an adjuster is liable for any of the claims against him, a federal judge in Texas ruled Oct. 4 (Ministerio Internacional Lirios del Valle v. State Farm Lloyds, et al., No. 16-1212, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137453).
BOISE, Idaho - An insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in its handling of an insured's claim for water damages, an Idaho federal judge said Sept. 30 after determining that the insured failed to provide any support that the insurer breached its contract (Kim Peck v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 14-500, D. Idaho; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136465).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 30 ruled that the City of Cincinnati's requirements for the award of construction contracts for water works jobs are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because they impact the uniformity of the structure and administrative practice for ERISA plans and create "an impediment to uniform benefit administration" (Allied Construction Industries v. City of Cincinnati, No. 1:14cv450, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S Dis. LEXIS 135758).
SAN ANTONIO - An insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying coverage under a term accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy because no genuine issue of material fact exists regarding whether an insured's diabetes contributed to an amputation after stepping on a nail, a federal judge in Texas ruled Oct. 3 (Randy Price v. Dearborn National Life Insurance Co., No. 15-0369, W.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137289).
NEW ORLEANS - A sharply divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 30 affirmed certification of a class of individuals who signed up to sell utility contracts to others but now seek to recover the money they lost, alleging that they were part of a fraudulent pyramid scheme (Juan Ramon Torres, et al. v. S.G.E. Management, L.L.C., et al., No. 14-20128, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17746).
GALVESTON, Texas - In a Sept. 30 minute order, a Texas federal judge denied an application for declaratory and injunctive relief by four U.S. states that sought to halt the transfer of the U.S. government's trusteeship of certain name and addressing functions for the Internet domain name system (DNS) under its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a newly formed private entity (State of Arizona, et al. v. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00274, S.D. Texas).
SAN DIEGO - Potential conflicts of interests between an insurer and an additional insured do not require the appointment of independent counsel in an underlying construction defects lawsuit, a California federal judge ruled Sept. 29, also granting summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims (St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co. v. McMillin Homes Construction Inc., et al., No. 15-1548, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134972).
FRESNO, Calif. - Dismissal of claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit are proper because the claims are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 30 (April Powell v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 16-1197, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136311).
MINNEAPOLIS - A membership-owned and member-governed fraternal benefit society of Christians on Sept. 29 filed a lawsuit in Minnesota federal court against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez seeking judicial review of the DOL's issuance of regulations promulgating a new definition of investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which it says could expose it to breach of contract and class action lawsuits (Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. Thomas E. Perez, et al., No. 0:16-cv-03289, D. Minn.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Because an insured failed to first preserve her claims against an underinsured motorist (UIM) before filing her insurance breach of contract and bad faith claims, those claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, a federal judge in South Carolina ruled Sept. 27 (Jodi A. Whitehead v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of America, No. 15-4200, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131957).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee federal judge on Sept. 20 granted a federal flood insurer's motion to dismiss a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent inducement and intentional and negligent misrepresentation lawsuit against it, finding that the claims are preempted by federal law (D&S Remodelers Inc. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Services LLC, et al., No. 15-59, M.D. Tenn., Nashville Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128135).
TRENTON, N.J. - Counterclaims of contributory copyright infringement were rejected Sept. 22 by a New Jersey federal judge as barred by the economic loss doctrine because the allegations giving rise to the counterclaim are not "separate and distinct" from a related breach of contract counterclaim (Air Express International d/b/a DHL Global Forwarding Corporation v. LOG-NET Inc., No. 12-1732, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129409).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 21 issued a summary judgment ruling that leaves for a January jury trial the question of whether a Florida plaintiffs law firm breached its contract with an Ohio plaintiffs' law firm and owes it $1.3 million in referral fees for Prempro (hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) cases (Misny & Associates Co. v. Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, No. 15-681, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129239).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dismissal of claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because reinsurers have failed to state a claim for relief against the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. (FCIC) regarding its modification of the methodology that sets crop premiums, a federal judge in Washington ruled Sept. 20 (ACE American Insurance Co., et al. v. Federal Crop Insurance Corp., et al., No. 14-1992, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128123).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Sept. 15 denied an insurer's motions to dismiss and for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer failed to plead, in detail, each of an insured's claims it seeks to dismiss (David Giboney v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., No. 15-3073, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125440).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a putative class complaint filed Sept. 12 in California federal court, a New York man alleges breach of contract and unfair competition against Apple Inc. for its purported failure to live up to its pledge to annually furnish the latest models of iPhones to members of its "iPhone Upgrade Program" (Emil Frank v. Apple Inc., No. 5:16-cv-05217, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 9 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a condominium association insured and a general contractor's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from wind and hail damage (Sable Cove Condominium Association, et al. v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 15-1261, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16567).
ASHLAND, Ky. - An insurer is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because insureds failed to show that the insurer breached the terms of a homeowners insurance policy by failing to pay on claims within 30 days of receiving the proof of loss, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Sept. 7 (Billie W. Hamm v. American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida, No. 14-39, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120567).