BOSTON - A Massachusetts judge on Oct. 2 dismissed a retailer insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its management liability insurer after finding that the underlying claims made against the insured are barred from coverage because they are directly tied to, or a natural outgrowth of, the insured's employment and labor practices (The Talbots Inc. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-11107, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161619).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 29 determined that only one of two plaintiffs can proceed with a breach of contract claim against an insurer that issued long-term care policies because Florida law banning the use of a hospital confinement provision includes the policy issued to only one of the plaintiffs (Maybelle Z. Smith v. Continental Casualty Co., d/b/a CNA Insurance, No. 16-616, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161558).
PHILADELPHIA - A commercial general liability insurer did not breach its insurance contract nor did it act in bad faith in denying a claim, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 29 because "deleterious substances" exclusion precluded coverage for grout dust from construction work that led to property damage (Collin R. Ginther v. Preferred Contractors Insurance Company Risk Retention Group LLC, No. 16-686, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161720).
SAN DIEGO - Granting a business owners liability insurer's motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a California federal judge on Sept. 29 found that a third-party complaint against an insured arising from a patent infringement lawsuit failed to trigger coverage (WAWGD, Inc., doing business as Foresight Sports v. Sentinel Insurance Company, No. 16-2917, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161361).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York appeals court on Sept. 29 rejected a motion seeking reargument and declined a man's request for leave to further appeal a decision that a contract governing the construction of coke oven batteries involves materials, work and labor rather than a product for product liability purposes (In the matter of the Eighth Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Donald J. Terwilliger, et al. v. Beazer East Inc., et al., No. 85 CA 16-00947, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dist., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6836).
HARTFORD, Conn. - An insurer did not breach its contract when it denied coverage for damages to a home's foundation walls because the loss was not sudden and accidental as required for coverage to exist under the policy's collapse provision, a Connecticut federal judge said Sept. 27 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Glenn R. Carlson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 15-1045, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159155).
PHILADELPHIA - In response to an insurer's breach of contract counterclaims, a reinsurer on Sept. 27 filed an amended answer in a Pennsylvania federal court, asserting a statute of limitations defense and that it did not agree to reinsure an excess umbrella policy (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - An insurer sufficiently alleged claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence/gross negligence and negligent misrepresentation against a bank for its role as trustee of a reinsurance trust with an insolvent insurer, a South Carolina federal judge ruled Sept. 28, refusing to dismiss the claims (Accident Insurance Company Inc. v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al., No. 16-2621, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159628).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A federal judge in Missouri on Sept. 21 dismissed with prejudice a claim for breach of contract asserted against the owners of a general contracting business, finding that they were not parties to the agreement (Robert A. Myers, et al. v. KNS Development Corp., et al., No. 17-cv-04076-NKL, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153738).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court Appeals on Sept. 25 found that a homeowners insurer's method of determining an insured's estimated "actual cash value" does not breach its replacement cost contract, further finding there is no basis to certify a class of insureds who incurred "unique, individual covered losses" and no basis to sustain a special master's "burdensome classwide discovery orders" in a hailstorm coverage dispute (In re: State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Nos. 16-3185 and 16-3562, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18457).
AUSTIN, Texas - According to its Sept. 22 pronounced orders, the Texas Supreme Court refused to disturb a lower court's finding that a church insured take nothing on its breach of contract, bad faith and conspiracy allegations against its insurer and a claims adjuster in a dispute over coverage for hailstorm damage to the roofs of two of its buildings (Richardson East Baptist Church v. Philadelphia Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-0347, Texas Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer argues in a Sept. 20 reply brief that a Pennsylvania federal court should allow it leave to amend its answer to an insurer's breach of contract counterclaims so that it can assert a statute of limitations defense and that it did not agree to reinsure an excess umbrella policy (R&Q Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1473, E.D. Pa.).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 19 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss as it pertained to the insured's claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the insured presented sufficient evidence that she sustained damages as a result of the insurer's conduct in the handling of her property damage claim (Jennifer Pratts v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-2385, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151650).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - No coverage is afforded for damages to an insured's property caused by the collapse of liquid propane tanks into a sinkhole because the sinkhole was caused by excess rainfall, which is clearly precluded under the policy's flood exclusion, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Sept. 18 in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on claims of breach of contract and bad faith (Heller's Gas Inc. v. International Insurance Company of Hannover Ltd., et al., No. 15-1350, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151072).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 18 affirmed a ruling in which a district court found that a motorman who was injured while working aboard a vessel must arbitrate his claims against his employer in the Philippines pursuant to his employment contract (Rodrigo R. Pagaduan v. Carnival Corporation, et al., No. 16-465, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17981).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A cosmetics company is not entitled to summary judgment on a woman's claim that she contracted a methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) infection from a makeover at one of the company's stores, an Ohio federal judge held Sept. 15 after finding that the opinions of the woman's causation experts are sufficiently reliable to be admitted at trial (Susan Welch Kelly, et al. v. Bare Escentuals Beauty, Inc., et al., No. 2:14-cv-1359, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150060).
CHICAGO - A disability insurer did not breach its contract or act unreasonably by terminating a claimant's total disability benefits because the evidence shows that the claimant was able to undertake a number of mentally and physically demanding activities, an Illinois federal judge said Sept. 14 (Henry G. Fiorentini v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., No. 15-3292, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149392).
MACON, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Sept. 15 denied a homeowners insurer's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it committed breach of contract by refusing to assess and pay for the diminished value of the insureds' home caused by wind and/or hail damage (Tonya Long v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 17-28, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149594).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Sept. 14 denied a developer's request to disqualify counsel hired by a tenant who asserts claims for breach of contract and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to two leases, finding that the counsel did not complete any ongoing work for the developer after obtaining the tenant as a client (Regal Cinemas Inc. v. Shops at Summerlin North LP, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02854, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149497).
STANTON, Ky. - A Kentucky Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 15 vacated certification of a class of customers suing United Propane Gas Inc. for breach of contract and other violations, finding the trial court's certification was deficient under Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure 23.01, 23.02 and 23.03 (United Propane Gas, Inc. v. Faye Purcell, et al., No. 2016-CA-001037-MR, Ky. App., 2017 Ky. App. LEXIS 523).