Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • October 19, 2017

    Florida Panel Reverses Hurricane Wilma Coverage Suit For 2nd Time

    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).

  • October 19, 2017

    Bad Faith Suit Over Property Insurance Claim Remanded To State Court

    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).

  • October 18, 2017

    New York Justice: Fact Issues Remain In Superstorm Sandy Flood Coverage Dispute

    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).

  • October 16, 2017

    Panel Reverses Ruling As To Excess Coverage In Dispute Arising From Forest Fire

    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).

  • October 12, 2017

    Motion To Alter Is Untimely, Federal Judge Rules In Dispute Over Flood Damage

    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).

  • October 11, 2017

    Fee Arrangement Exclusion Bars Coverage, New York Justice Rules

    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).

  • October 11, 2017

    Magistrate Administratively Terminates Superstorm Sandy Suit After Parties Settle

    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.).

  • October 11, 2017

    Judge Dismisses Superstorm Sandy Suit After Parties Announce Tentative Settlement

    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.).

  • October 10, 2017

    Insured Challenges 1-Year Statute Of Limitations In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    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.).

  • October 9, 2017

    8th Circuit Grants Insurer’s Petition In Venue Dispute Over Hailstorm Coverage Suit

    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).

  • October 5, 2017

    State Farm Defends Motion To Compel Discovery For Computer Fraud Claims

    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.).

  • October 3, 2017

    Illinois Federal Judge Decides Admissible Evidence In Bad Faith Coverage Dispute

    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).

  • October 3, 2017

    Judge: Wind Endorsement Does Not Alter Unambiguous Language That Bars Flood Coverage

    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).

  • September 27, 2017

    Bifurcation Is Not Warranted In Property Damage Coverage Dispute, Federal Judge Says

    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).

  • September 25, 2017

    Panel: Method Of Calculating Estimated ‘Actual Cash Value’ Does Not Breach Contract

    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).

  • September 25, 2017

    Texas High Court Refuses To Revisit Take-Nothing Judgment In Hailstorm Coverage Suit

    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.).

  • September 21, 2017

    New Jersey Judge: $100M Flood Sublimit Does Not Apply In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    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.).

  • September 18, 2017

    Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Diminished Value Suit Arising From Hail/Wind Damage

    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).

  • September 13, 2017

    Panel: No Evidence To Support Finding That Tenant Is Third-Party Beneficiary To Lease

    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).

  • September 13, 2017

    Kansas Federal Judge Allows Insured To Add Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims

    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).