LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Florida High Court: Statutory Immunity Shields Insurer From Bad Faith Claim

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on May 14 found that a first-party bad faith cause of action under Section 624.155(1)(b), Florida Statutes, does not fall under the willful tort exception to the immunity granted to a nonprofit insurer by the Florida Legislature, quashing an appellate court's ruling in favor of the insured and answering a certified question in the affirmative in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Ivan (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Perdido Sun Condominium Association Inc., etc., No. SC14-185, Fla. Sup.; 2015 Fla. LEXIS 1053).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: It Is Time To Close Final Chapter Of Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Story

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge on May 1 found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' construction, expansions, operation and failure to maintain a 77-mile-long navigational channel caused subsequent storm surge that was exacerbated during Hurricane Katrina and other storms and caused flooding on property that effected a temporary taking under the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment (St. Bernard Parish Government v. The United States, No. 05-1119, Fed. Clms.; 2015 U.S. Claims LEXIS 526).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Factual Overlap Makes Joinder Proper In Hurricane Isaac Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - There is sufficient factual overlap to make joinder proper because an insured's claim against a roofing company and its owner implicates preaccident repairs that were a factor in an insurer's adjustment of a Hurricane Isaac claim, a Louisiana federal judge ruled April 21, granting the insured's motion to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (David R. Fine v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-80, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52205).

Mealey's Insurance - Trial Court Erred In Compelling Appraisal, Florida Panel Says In Reversal

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on April 1 found that a lower court erred in issuing an order that compelled appraisal in a coverage dispute over a supplemental claim for Hurricane Wilma damage (State Farm Insurance Co. v. Efrain Xirinachs, et al., No. 3D14-1212, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 4681).

Mealey's Insurance - Coverage Owed For Debris Removal, Not Repairs To Oil Pipeline, Texas Panel Says

HOUSTON - A trial court did not err in determining that coverage is owed only for debris removal associated with repairs to an oil pipeline that was damaged during Hurricane Rita in 2005, the First District Texas Court of Appeals said March 26 (Prime Natural Resources Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al., No. 01-11-00995, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 2947).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Affirms, Modifies Judgment In Insured's Favor In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit

BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 19 affirmed a lower court's judgment in favor of an insured as modified in a coverage dispute over damage caused by Hurricane Ike (National Lloyds Insurance Co. v. Latosha A. Lewis, No. 09-13-00413-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1573).

Mealey's Insurance - Louisiana Panel Affirms Business Interruption, Bad Faith Awards Against Insurer

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on Feb. 11 held that there there is sufficient evidence to support a jury's finding that the owner and operator of three radio stations sustained covered losses of $5,906,988 caused by Hurricane Katrina, further affirming a $2,953,494 bad faith ruling against the insurer (Citadel Broadcasting Corp., et al. v. Axis U.S. Insurance Co. a/k/a Axis Reinsurance Co., No. 2014-CA-0326, La. App., 4th Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Refuses To Exclude Contractor's Report, Opinions, Testimony In Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 5 denied a federal flood insurer's motion to exclude the report, opinions and testimony of a general contractor hired by the insured to inspect property damage caused by Hurricane Isaac, finding that the contractor's estimate is "reliable and relevant" (Ricarlo Alleyne v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 13-5657, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14005).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Refuses To Exclude Contractor's Report, Opinions, Testimony In Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 5 denied a federal flood insurer's motion to exclude the report, opinions and testimony of a general contractor hired by the insured to inspect property damage caused by Hurricane Isaac, finding that the contractor's estimate is "reliable and relevant" (Ricarlo Alleyne v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 13-5657, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14005).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Failed To Submit Proof Of Loss With Independent Adjustor's Report

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 6 held that because an insured did not submit a signed, sworn proof of loss with an independent adjustor's report on his supplemental Hurricane Isaac claim, he failed to comply with his federal flood insurance policy's proof of loss requirement (A.C. White v. Allstate Ins. Co., et al., No. 13-5634, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14669).

Mealey's Insurance - Louisiana Majority Rejects Appeal In Hurricane Katrina Coverage Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court denied an insured's appeal challenging an appeals court's ruling that an insurer's exception of lis pendens was properly sustainedas to five of the insured's claims, according to a Feb. 6 news release (Lionel Harris Sr., et al. v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Co., No. 2014-C -2484, La. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hurricane Wilma Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on Feb. 4 found that a lower court properly granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer because the insurer participated in the appraisal process after a lawsuit compelling it to engage in arbitration was filed but not because of the lawsuit and nothing remained to be done as to the insured's requested relief for windstorm damage caused by Hurricane Wilma (Susan I. Pedersen v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, No. 4D12-4264, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1426).

Mealey's Insurance - Relator Lacks Standing To Sue Under False Claims Act, Federal Judge Rules

HOUSTON - An independent adjuster lacks standing to sue under the False Claims Act (FCA) because he is not an original source, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 29, dismissing his qui tam lawsuit alleging that various insurers and adjusters committed fraud in responding to damage claims involving hurricanes Katrina and Ike (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).

Mealey's Insurance - Mississippi High Court Majority Agrees To Hear Hurricane Katrina Casino Barge Suit

JACKSON, Miss. - A majority of the Mississippi Supreme Court on Jan. 22 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an insured seeking to reverse an appeals court's rejection of her bad faith and negligence lawsuit arising from her alleged loss caused by a casino barge that collided with her home during Hurricane Katrina (Cherri R. Porter v. Grand Casino of Mississippi Inc., et al., No 2010-CT-00307-SCT, Miss Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds' Collapse Loss From Water Damage Is Not Covered, Panel Says

TRENTON, N.J. - A policy's anti-sequential clause and the exclusionary language for earth movement and water damage did not cover insureds' loss from a partial collapse of their building following Hurricane Irene, a New Jersey appeals panel affirmed Jan. 20, finding that water seepage caused soil erosion (Ashrit Realty LLC and Bhavika Realty LLC v. Tower National Insurance Co., No. A-1647-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 107).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Amends Judgment In Hurricane Isaac Suit To Prevent Double Recovery

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 12 denied a homeowners insurer's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute but granted its alternative motion to amend a jury's award for dwelling damages from $70,000 to $69,448.89 to prevent the insureds from receiving $551.11 in double recovery (Tracey Arcement, et al. v. GeoVera Specialty Insurance Services Inc., No. 13-5436, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3902).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Failed To Give Timely Notice Of Hurricane Wilma Loss, 11th Circuit Affirms

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 8 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insured failed to give timely notice of its loss caused by Hurricane Wilma, further finding that there is no material issue of fact as to whether the insured rebutted the resulting presumption of prejudice to the insurer (The Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Condominium Association Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., Nos. 13-12486, 13-15581, 13-15842, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 293).

Mealey's Insurance - FEMA Waiver Limited To $7,000 Approved By Adjuster, Magistrate Judge Rules

GALVESTON, Texas - A waiver by the Federal Emergency Management Agency was limited to $7,000 of the $112,000 sought by an insured in his third proof of loss (POL) over Hurricane Ike flood damage, a Texas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 7, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Jason Fennelly v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 12-024, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1290).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Issues New Trial On Code Upgrade Damages In Partial Reversal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals panel on Jan. 7 ordered a new trial regarding code upgrade damages in a coverage dispute over hurricane damage but affirmed the lower court's finding that a primary insurance policy was a blanket policy with a $2.5 million per-occurrence limit and no sublimit for business income damage (Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Pin-Pon Corporation, et al., Nos. 4D12-3997 & 4D12-4002, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 189).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Rejects Suit Seeking Additional Coverage For Hurricane Irene Damage

RALEIGH, N.C. - Finding that an insured failed to submit a timely and properly documented amended proof of loss for additional Hurricane Irene damage, a North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 26 granted summary judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer on the insured's breach of contract claim (Gladys Greene v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-255, E.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165951).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Insured Not Entitled To Full Payment For Hurricane Isaac Claim

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 17 found that an insured has failed to demonstrate that it submitted a properly documented proof of loss as required under its Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), granting a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac damage (Construction Funding, LLC v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-5630, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161414).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Hurricane Irene Flood Dispute For Insufficient Proof Of Loss

RUTLAND, Vt. - A Vermont federal judge on Nov. 13 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's lawsuit seeking additional coverage for flood damage caused by Hurricane Irene (Abend Family Limited Partnership v. NGM Insurance Co., No. 5:13-cv-8, D. Vt.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160574).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Hurricane Irene Suit For Insured's Failure To Comply With Policy

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Finding that an insured did not comply with the terms of his standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) because he failed to submit a signed and notarized proof of loss for all of his claimed Hurricane Irene flood damages, a Connecticut federal judge on Nov. 12 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the insured's breach of contract lawsuit (Moshe Azoulay v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 3:12-cv-1693, D. Conn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159177).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Subcontractor's Scope Of Work Was Not But-For Cause Of Flash Fire Injuries

NEW ORLEANS - An agreement between a contractor and a subcontractor did not obligate the subcontractor to test the liquid propane (LP) detector in Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers delivered and installed after hurricanes Katrina and Rita; therefore, neither the agreement nor any act or omission on the part of the subcontractor was a but-for cause of flash fire injuries, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 11 in an indemnification dispute between two insurers (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-30541, 5th Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge: Insurer Underpaid Building Damage In Hurricane Isaac Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 4 found that a federal flood insurer underpaid its insured's building damage by $14,341.02, ordering the insurer to pay the amount in a coverage dispute over Hurricane Isaac damage (Everage Tuircuit III v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 13-6268, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156386).