MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on June 24 reversed a lower court’s ruling that granted insureds’ motion to compel the parties to proceed with an appraisal in a Hurricane Irma coverage dispute and remanded for an evidentiary hearing on the motion to compel appraisal to conclude whether the insureds complied or substantially complied with the homeowners insurance policy's post-loss obligations (People's Trust Insurance Company v. Orlando Ortega, et al., No. 3D19-1153, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 8913).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 14 said the court will defer ruling on an insured’s motion for summary judgment in a novel coronavirus coverage dispute until after ruling on a motion to certify a class to “avoid the potential unfairness to” the insurer (Windber Hospital v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 20-00080, W.D. Pa.).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from hailstorm damage to 31 townhomes that were managed by the insured, finding that the insurer is not liable for holdback depreciation for the townhome roofs under the unambiguous policy terms (Canyon Springs At Soaring Eagles Townhome Owners Association, Inc., v. Country Mutual Insurance Company, No. 19-1386, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 21549).
CINCINNATI — An insured on July 6 responded to an insurer’s motion to certify to the Ohio Supreme Court three questions as to whether the presence of the novel coronavirus constitutes direct physical loss, arguing that the questions “do not involve novel or intricate questions of state law nor do they affect vital state interests” and “are not unique to Ohio policyholders and, in reality, are not even questions of Ohio law in any meaningful sense” (Troy Stacy Enterprises Inc. v.The Cincinnati Insurance Company, No. 20-00312, S.D. Ohio).
PHILADELPHIA — Three minor league baseball teams on July 2 sued their insurer in a Pennsylvania court for breach of contract and declaratory relief, seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Nostalgic Partners LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 200700054, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan judge granted an insurer’s motion for summary disposition during a July 1 hearing broadcasted on the judge’s personal meeting room on YouTube, finding that an insured’s complaint alleging loss of business due to shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus contains “no allegations of direct, physical loss of or damage to” its restaurants (Gavrilides Management Company LLC, et al. v. Michigan Insurance Co., No. 20-000258-CB, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of two San Francisco restaurants have failed to state any claim for relief in arguing that their insurer breached the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for losses the restaurants suffered as a result of stay-at-home orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic because they have failed to sufficiently show that their losses fall within the policies’ business income or civil authority additional coverages, the insurer argues in a June 29 motion to dismiss in California federal court (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH — A restaurant and tavern operator filed a class action against its “all-risk” commercial property insurer for breach of contract and declaratory relief in a federal court in Pennsylvania on June 11, arguing that its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders “arise from direct physical loss or damage” and that the policy’s virus exclusion does not apply (1 S.A.N.T., Inc. v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., et al., No. 20-862, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A Manhattan law firm on June 29 filed a class action in a federal court in New York alleging that its “all risk” commercial property insurer breached their contract by refusing to pay claims related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insurance policy “exemplifies the broken promise from insurance companies across the country” (Siegel & Siegel, et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-04993, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES — A law firm insured on July 6 replied to a business owners insurer’s opposition to its earlier motion asking a federal court in California to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that the presence or suspected presence of the novel coronavirus does not constitute “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage for the insured’s claimed loss of income (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, No. 20-03619, C.D. Calif.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on July 6 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that it suffered no prejudice for the insured’s failure to comply with the insurance policy’s conditions precedent (SFR Services, LLC v. Lexington Insurance Company, No. 19-229, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117987).
PHILADELPHIA — A property insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith in using a pollution exclusion to deny coverage for business interruption and extra expenses arising out of the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an insured contends in a June 24 complaint filed in Pennsylvania court (Fegley Management & Energy, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 200601426, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
SEATTLE — A dentist insured argues in a June 26 reply that stay of his class action seeking coverage for losses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is warranted in “the interest of judicial economy, potential cost savings, and because there will be little, if any, prejudice” to the insurer “during the anticipated short duration of the requested stay” (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on July 1 denied a homeowners insurer’s petition to rehear its reversal of a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer on insureds’ bad faith and punitive damages claims after finding that it cannot determine that it is undisputed that the insurer’s basis for denying the insureds’ supplemental wildfire damage claims was reasonable (Leonard Fadeeff, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. A155691, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2).
PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on July 2 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of their breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A chiropractor insured filed a class action complaint in a Michigan federal court challenging insurers’ “systematic and uniform refusal to pay insureds” for their losses arising from Michigan’s March 24 executive order and related actions that suspended business operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Turek Enterprises, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-11655, E.D. Mich.).
BOSTON — An operator of day care centers sued its commercial property insurance provider in Massachusetts federal court on June 29, alleging that the insurer breached its contract with the insured and acted in bad faith in failing to provide business interruption coverage after the day care centers were forced to limit their business operations to families of first responders in response to the commonwealth’s implementation of a stay-at-home order in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Pakachoag Acres Day Care Center Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 20-40083, D. Mass.).
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia restaurants on June 19 sued their insurers for breach of contract and bad faith in a Pennsylvania court, contending that they “have had to incur expenses in cleaning up the pollution and contamination caused by the novel coronavirus and this clean-up continues to the present and likely will continue into the foreseeable future” (The Marathon Grill Inc., et al. v. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 200600918, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 26 issued an order indicating that it will hear oral arguments on July 30 to determine whether the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania or the Northern District of Illinois is the better forum to transfer lawsuits seeking business interruption coverage for losses arising from governmental closure orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic (In re: COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Litigation, No. 2942, JPMDL).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner on June 25 moved a Pennsylvania federal court to stay its class action breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment complaint against its all-risk commercial insurer for “swiftly” denying its claim for coverage for its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the insurer will suffer no prejudice if the lawsuit is stayed pending the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s resolution of two motions to transfer “this and nearly 200 other related cases in 38 federal districts” “for centralized pretrial proceedings” (Richard Kahn, et al. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-00781, M.D. Pa.).