MIAMI — After previously reversing a lower court’s ruling in favor of a homeowner in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on Oct. 18 reversed the lower court’s ruling on remand in favor of the insurer, finding that a genuine issue of material fact remains regarding whether a letter from the insurer constituted a denial of coverage (Haim Michel Ifergane, Appellant, vs. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D16-1142, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14745).
OXFORD, Miss. — Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because an insured has shown that the amount in controversy in the action will not exceed statutory limits, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled Oct. 17 in granting the insured’s motion to remand (Strawberry Missionary Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation Inc., No. 17-155, N.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171545).
NEW YORK — Ruling on an insured’s motion for summary judgment, a New York justice on Oct. 10 held that fact issues remain in a Superstorm Sandy excess flood coverage dispute (Great American Insurance Company of New York v. L. Knife & Son Inc., et al., Index No. 157164/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3888).
WAUSAU, Wis. — A Wisconsin appeals panel on Oct. 11 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy’s $2 million aggregate limit applied in a coverage dispute over a forest fire that burned thousands of acres of land, but reversed and remanded for a factual determination on the issue of damages relevant to coverage under the logging company’s umbrella insurance policy (Secura Insurance v. Lyme St. Croix Forest Company, LLC, et al., No. 2016AP299, Wis. App., Div. 3, 2017 Wisc. App. LEXIS 791).
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the second time in less than one month, an Alabama federal judge on Oct. 11 denied an insured’s motion to alter or amend an earlier judgment that found that a federal flood insurer does not owe coverage for the insured's claim for land and relocation damages arising from a heavy rain that caused a local river to flood (Crawford Nixon v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-00186, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167866).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on Sept. 18 granted insurers’ motions for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for the insureds’ purported participation in kickback schemes involving force-placed insurance, finding that the fee arrangement (FA) exclusion bars coverage and that the legal costs sought by the insureds are not covered losses (QBE Americas, Inc., et al. Ace American Insurance Company, et al., No. 653442/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3543).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal magistrate judge recently issued an order administratively terminating an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a federal flood insurer arising from Superstorm Sandy damage after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Brian R. McDowell, Plaintiff, v. USAA General Indemnity Co., No. 14-4529, D. N.J.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge recently signed an insured’s and an insurer’s stipulation to dismiss the insured's breach of contract lawsuit stemming from Superstorm Sandy damage after the parties announced that they reached a tentative settlement (Thomas Tennis v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5801, D. N.J.).
PHILADELPHIA — An insured has asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s finding that a federal flood insurer's letter rejecting its insured's proof of loss for Superstorm Sandy damage constituted a written denial of the claim and, therefore, triggered a Standard Flood Insurance Policy's (SFIP) one-year statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit (Anthony Migliaro v. Fidelity National Indemnity Ins. Co., No. 17-1434, 3rd Cir.).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 granted a homeowners insurer’s petition for a writ of mandamus seeking a venue transfer of the insured’s breach of contract lawsuit arising from hail damage, vacating the lower court’s denial of the insurer’s motion to transfer venue and remanding (In re: Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-3243, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19535).
GULFPORT, Miss. — In an Oct. 2 rebuttal brief supporting its motion to compel discovery related to its computer fraud counterclaims in a decade-old false claims suit related to Hurricane Katrina claims, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. calls its discovery requests “straightforward,” while arguing that the counterdefendants failed to show that the requests are burdensome or cover privileged material (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 27 determined that an insured’s claims for punitive damages and attorney fees should be withheld from a jury but that evidence related to how long the insurer took to process the insured’s claim is relevant for the jury to hear as it pertains to the insured’s claim for bad faith arising out of a dispute for lost business property and income caused by the contamination of the insured’s property and business with lead dust (Jordan Mozer & Associates Ltd. v . General Casualty Company of Wisconsin, No. 14-10264, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159518).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Sept. 26 agreed with a magistrate’s report that found that an insurance policy unambiguously excluded coverage for the damage floodwaters caused to a facility as a result of Superstorm Sandy, adopting the magistrate’s report and recommendation in its entirety (Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, d/b/a The Madelaine Chocolate Co. v. Great Northern Insurance Co., No. 15-5830, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157821).
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on Sept. 26 denied a motion to bifurcate and stay discovery of the extracontractual claims at issue in a property damage coverage dispute because bifurcation would prolong the case and the insurer would not be prejudiced if the claims were tried together (Welcome Properties 201 LLC v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1301, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157541).
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.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey judge held Aug. 24 that a $100 million flood sublimit does not apply to an insured’s water damages that were caused by the named windstorm Superstorm Sandy, ruling against excess insurers (New Jersey Transit Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al., No. ESX-L-006977-14, N.J. Super., Essex Co., Law Div.).
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).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota appeals panel on Sept. 5 reversed in part a lower court’s ruling in favor of a tenant in a commercial landlord insurer’s subrogation lawsuit arising from a flood that damaged the tenant’s restaurant (North Star Mutual Insurance Co. v. Al Juan Huang, et al., No. A17-0216, Minn. App., 2017 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 796).
WICHITA, Kan. — An insured seeking coverage for hailstorm damage to two commercial buildings is permitted to amend its complaint to add claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the addition of the claims would not be futile and the insurers will not be prejudiced as a result of the amendment, a Kansas federal judge said Sept. 8 (Flex Financial Holding Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC et al., No. 15-7205, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145349).