TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether repairs resolved sinkhole activity in an insured home, a Florida federal judge ruled Jan. 2, denying summary judgment to an insurer on a breach of contract claim (Gerald Gagliardi, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-3354, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 267).
BOSTON - In a Dec. 29 brief to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Tom Scholz, who founded the multiplatinum-selling rock band Boston, argues that a former band member's use of the "Boston" trademark to promote his post-Boston musical endeavors breached a previous settlement agreement between them (David Thomas Scholz v. Barry Goudreau, No. 17-1264, 1st Cir.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Dec. 29 refused to grant summary judgment on a breach of contract claim asserted by insureds, finding that genuine issues of fact exist on when damage to a property's foundation occurred, but the judge found no evidence to support their claims for violation of Connecticut law or to show that the insurer acted in bad faith (Raymond G. Gabriel v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. No. 3:14-cv-01435, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213202).
NEW ORLEANS - After finding that a disability claimant raised a genuine dispute of material fact as to the cause of his disability, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 reversed a district court's ruling against the claimant on a breach of contract claim (David M. Cox v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company, No. 16-60831, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 27036).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Native American tribe lost its bid to pursue claims that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to charge the tribe Medicare-like rates for contracted services at a hospital, when a Michigan federal judge affirmed Dec. 27 that the statute of limitations bars the claims (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 211418).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Homeowners whose property was damaged in a fire on Dec. 20 sued a contractor and his company in a California court, asserting claims for breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to repairs that they paid for, which were allegedly never completed (Donna Miranda, et al. v. A's Contractor Inc., et al., No. 30-2017-000962524, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).
SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah federal judge on Dec. 19 dismissed a reinsurer and other related entities from a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit over denied coverage under a professional liability policy because there is no personal jurisdiction (Allegis Investment Services LLC, et al. v. Arthur Gallagher & Co., et al., No. 17-515, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209257).
SAN ANTONIO - A panel of the Fourth District Texas Court of Appeals on Dec. 20 affirmed judgment in favor of a country club and its contractors because a man who injured himself while golfing signed a contract barring his claims and did not present enough evidence showing that the course and its contractors committed gross negligence (Tom McCloskey v. The Clubs of Cordillera LP, et al., No. 04-17-00234-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 11772).
CHICAGO - An aviation maintenance technician's breach of contract class claims filed after his employer eliminated the program under which he was hired, affecting the speed at which he would achieve the top pay he was promised, are preempted by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 18, granting the defendant's motion to dismiss (Thomas Ballard, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 17-2534, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206948).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a company's claims against two lenders, finding that the lenders never agreed to sell the company a foreclosed-on property and that a contract between the parties did not exist (West Maui Properties LLC, v. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, et al., No. 17-1112, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25278).
NEW YORK - In a coverage dispute over asbestos litigation costs, the New York Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 ruled that one of its previous rulings did not establish a general rule that a reinsurance contract's total liability cap encompasses both indemnity and defense costs incurred by an insurer (Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co., No. CTQ-2016, 0005, N.Y. App., 2017 N.Y. LEXIS 3723).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 12 held that a franchisee's breach of contract, bad faith and unfair business practices in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, claims against a franchisor are untimely, further rejecting the franchisee's argument that the franchisor is estopped from relying on a statute of limitations defense (Power Quality & Electrical Systems, Inc., et al. v. BP West Coast Products LLC, No. 16-04791, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204410).
PITTSBURGH - An insured has failed to show that remand of his insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is necessary since he asserts only claims under state law and, thus, a federal district court lacks jurisdiction over the claims because the insured does not seek a declaratory judgment and because he seeks damages in excess of the statutory limits, a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania ruled Dec. 12 in denying the insured's motion (Adam Carney v. GEICO, No. 17-1486, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205042).
SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that the widow of a borrower, who obtained a reverse mortgage on a property that was later foreclosed on, sufficiently pleaded her claims for elder abuse and breach of contract, a California appeals court on Dec. 11 reversed a trial court's decision dismissing her claims against two lenders (Mary Aden v. OneWest Bank, N.A., et al., No. A146242, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).
AMARILLO, Texas - A trial court judge in Texas erred when dismissing a couple's construction defects and breach of contract suit against a builder for want of prosecution without providing proper notice, a state appeals court panel ruled Dec. 11 (Patrick Pence, et al. v. S&D Builders LLC, et al., No. 07-16-00005-CV, Texas App., 7th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 11501).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on Dec. 12 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's claims for bad faith and breach of contract arising out of the handling of two auto claims after determining that the insured alleged sufficient facts in support of the claims and properly relied on Oklahoma's Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act to support her claim for bad faith (Rachel Curtis, et al. v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., No. 17-1076, W.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203759).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 7 granted a bank's motion to dismiss claims for breach of contract and fraud asserted against it by a borrower who was attempting to enjoin foreclosure, finding that the property owner failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted (Alan Battle v. HSBC Bank USA, et al., No. 4:17-CV-02552, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202810).
CHICAGO - An insurance benefits company is entitled to a producer commission but not a marketer's fee for a health insurer's breach of an oral contract under a marketing agreement amended following the health insurer's termination of a reinsurance agreement, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed Dec. 7 (Insurance Benefit Group Inc. v. Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co., No. 1-16-2808, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 4th Div., 2017 Ill. App. LEXIS 763).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 7 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss after rejecting the insurer's argument that the potential indemnitor for underlying liabilities arising out of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls should be named as the defendant pursuant to a 1999 settlement between the insurer and the potential indemnitor because the coverage dispute is based on the insured's contracts with the insurer (Magnetek Inc. v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 17-3173, N.D. Ill.).
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Dec. 6 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim but granted the insurer's motion on a bad faith claim after determining that the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny the insured's claim for coverage of mold and water damages incurred to her home as a result of a hailstorm (Carrie Finch v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-169, S.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200934).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana appeals court panel on Dec. 6 affirmed a trial court judge's $1,125 award to a contractor accused of construction defects, finding that the evidence demonstrated that while the standards of the contractor's work were comparable to a "Volkswagen" rather than a "Cadillac," it did breach the terms of a construction contract (Calvin Paul Williams v. Vincent Alexander, Nos. CA-17-436, 17-437, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2017 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 377).
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 5 found that an insured's breach of contract and negligence lawsuit against an adjuster is time-barred by a two-year statute of limitations, granting the adjuster's motion for summary judgment in Hurricane Ike coverage dispute (Gracie Reese v. Aftermath Public Adjusters, Inc., et al., No. 16-273, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199527).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 4 dismissed insureds' claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract, finding that they failed to show that an insurer's termination of their life insurance policies was unreasonable (Arthur Avazian, et al. v. Genworth Life & Annuity Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:17-cv-06459, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199067).