Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • June 23, 2017

    Federal Judge Won’t Dismiss Insurer From Bad Faith Suit Over Storm Damage Claim

    TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 13 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, rejecting the insurer’s claim that, at this time, it is not a party to the insurance contract at issue (Ranchers Pipe & Steel Corp. v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-0192, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90278).

  • June 23, 2017

    Panel Vacates Dismissal Of Insurance Claims, Affirms Dismissal Of Indemnity Claims

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 found that a lower court erred in dismissing insurance claims in a dispute over coverage for a maritime collision in the Gulf of Mexico, vacating the lower court in part and remanding for the court to review the insurance policies and determine their scope (International Marine, L.L.C., et al. v. Integrity Fisheries, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-30456, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11041).

  • June 23, 2017

    Texas Federal Judge Grants Insured’s Motion To Remand, Dismisses Adjuster From Suit

    SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 20 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation that an insured’s motion to remand be denied because complete diversity of citizenship exists as the insured’s complaint does not specifically allege any claims against the insurer’s adjuster, who also is a resident of Texas (Max Wang v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana et al., No. 17-158, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94255).

  • June 20, 2017

    9th Circuit: Dispute Over Phrase ‘Direct Supplier’ Is Question Of Fact For Jury

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 found that whether a manufacturer of hard-disk drives provided to a set-top box company was a direct supplier of a satellite television provider is a question of fact to be resolved by a jury, reversing and remanding a lower court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a business interruption coverage dispute arising from the Thailand flood (DirecTV v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-55313, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10787).

  • June 16, 2017

    California Panel Affirms No Coverage For Dentist’s Claim For Lost Practice Income

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals panel on June 13 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a dispute over coverage for an individual dentist’s claim for lost dental practice income due to a sewage backup (William A. Gilbert v. The Dentists Insurance Company, Inc., No. C075959, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4041).

  • June 16, 2017

    Panel Denies Rehearing Of Ruling On Joint Reinsurance Association’s Duty To Costs

    SAN FRANCISCO — Denying a petition for rehearing, a California appeals panel on June 14 upheld its earlier ruling that an insurance industry placement facility and joint reinsurance association is obligated by California Insurance Code Section 2051 to pay the costs to repair an insured’s home, less depreciation, even if the amount exceeds the fair market value of her home (California Fair Plan Association v. Marlene Garnes, No. A143190, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 552).

  • June 15, 2017

    Panel: Court Did Not Err In Granting State’s Exception Of No Right Of Action

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana appeals panel on June 14 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that granted the State of Louisiana’s exception of no right of action maintaining that it was not liable for a contractor’s alleged negligence in elevating the insureds’ home following Hurricane Katrina, rejecting the homeowners insurer’s argument that the state’s administration of the elevation program sufficiently negated the exception of no right of action (Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., v. LAA Shoring, et al., No. 2016-CA-1136 consolidated with No. 2016-CA-1137, La. App., 4th Cir.).

  • June 13, 2017

    Texas High Court Deems Hailstorm MDL Attorney Fee Info Protected As Work Product

    AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas Supreme Court majority on June 9 granted an insurer’s petition for mandamus in a discovery dispute, finding that a trial court and an appeals court abused their discretion by granting a group of insured’s request for billing records from other cases in the same multidistrict litigation because such records are protected from discovery as work product (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 522).

  • June 12, 2017

    Judge Dismisses All But Breach Of Contract Claim In Suit Arising From Flood Damage

    FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 8 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings seeking dismissal of an insured’s extracontractual claims in a flood coverage dispute, further exercising its discretion to dismiss the insured’s declaratory judgment claim (Mike Farhat v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 16-1175, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87766).

  • June 9, 2017

    Insurance Adjuster Not Properly Joined In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

    DALLAS — Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is not proper because an insurance adjuster was improperly joined in the litigation, a federal judge in Texas ruled June 1 (Jesus Gutierrez v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-0636, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84253).

  • June 8, 2017

    Panel: Insured’s Liability Expert Provided No Authority To Support His Opinion

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on June 7 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of an insurer and an insurance agency in an insured’s negligence and professional malpractice lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irene damage, finding that the insured’s liability expert was properly excluded because he offered no authority to support his opinion (Satec Inc., et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., et al., No. A-5103-14T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 68).

  • June 7, 2017

    Insureds Challenge Choice Of New York Law In Superstorm Sandy Coverage Dispute

    PHILADELPHIA — Insureds have asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling that granted an insurer’s motion to compel arbitration in their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damage, arguing that New Jersey law applies (Fin Associates, et al. v. Hudson Specialty Ins. Co., 16-3541, 3rd Cir.).

  • June 7, 2017

    Louisiana Panel Lowers Statutory Penalties Award, Vacates Attorney Fees Award

    GRETNA, La. — A Louisiana appeals panel on May 31 decreased a lower court’s award of bad faith penalties against an insurer from $32,162.46 to $8,040.61 in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute and vacated the lower court’s $12,864.98 attorney fees award in favor of the insured (Mary Williams v. Security Plan Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-CA-714, La. App., 5th Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 1004).

  • June 6, 2017

    Federal Judge Terminates Breach Of Contract Suit Arising From Superstorm Sandy

    NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on May 31 issued a 90-day order administratively terminating an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit stemming from Superstorm Sandy damage after the insured and the insurer announced that they reached a tentative settlement (Thomas Tennis v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5801, D. N.J.).

  • June 2, 2017

    Judge Dismisses Suit Against Insurers, Mortgagee Arising From 2 Lightning Strikes

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on May 24 granted insurers and mortgagee’s motions to dismiss a coverage dispute arising from two lightning strikes and a power surge (Robin Guthrie Brown and Michelle Guthrie Brown v. American Modern Home Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-16289, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80057).

  • May 31, 2017

    ‘Proportionality Is The Polestar,’ Says Texas High Court In Discovery Dispute

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on May 26 found that neither an insurer nor its insureds have a unilateral right to specify the format of discovery under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 196.4, Texas R. Civ. P. 196.4, denying the insurer’s request for mandamus relief without prejudice in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) (In re State Farm Lloyds, Nos. 15-0903 and 15-0905, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 482).

  • May 30, 2017

    Judge Rejects 2 Equitable Apportionment Methods In Dispute Over ‘Moonlight Fire’

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on May 22 found that neither the "policy limits" approach nor the “relative fault” analysis is an appropriate equitable apportionment method in a coverage dispute arising from damage caused by the September 2007 “Moonlight Fire” in California (American States Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-01489, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79103).

  • May 26, 2017

    Policy Limits Flood Coverage To $1M, Majority Says In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    TRENTON, N.J. — A majority of the Supreme Court of New Jersey on May 25 reversed an appeals court’s ruling that held that an insured is owed $207,961.28 for debris removal in addition to $1 million in flood coverage under a surplus lines insurance policy, reinstating a lower court's partial summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (Oxford Realty Group Cedar v. Travelers Excess and Surplus Lines Co., No. A-85-15, 077617, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 570).

  • May 25, 2017

    Justice Stays Hurricane Coverage Suit Pending Insurer’s Rehabilitation

    NEW YORK — A New York trial justice on May 17 stayed an insured’s coverage action against its insurer over damages from Hurricane Irene pursuant to a rehabilitation order against the insurer (25 Bay Terrace Associates, L.P., v.  Public Service Mutual Insurance Co., No. 150345/2013, N.Y. Sup., Richmond Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1822).

  • May 17, 2017

    Adjuster Was Improperly Joined To Coverage Dispute Over Storm Damage, Judge Says

    SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on May 16 denied insureds’ motion to remand their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that they failed to allege a claim that is plausible on its face against an insurance adjuster (Hidden Cove Park and Marina, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-00193, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74097).