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Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • October 17, 2018

    Panel Amends, Affirms Judgment In Coverage Suit Arising From Louisiana Flood

    SHREVEPORT, La. — A Louisiana appeals panel on Sept. 26 amended a lower court’s judgment in favor of an insured to reflect that interest on the attorney fees award should begin to accrue from the date of the final judgment and awarded the insured an additional $1,500 in attorney fees for the insurer’s appeal in a coverage dispute over flood damage to the insureds’ vehicles (Michael J. Jacobs v. Geico Indemnity Company, No. 52,372-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir., 2018 La. App. LEXIS 1833).

  • October 17, 2018

    New York Justice: Water Exclusion Bars Coverage For Superstorm Sandy Claim

    NEW YORK — A New York justice on Oct. 5 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit over Superstorm Sandy damage, finding that the policy’s water exclusion bars coverage (The Glazier Group, Inc., et al. v. Nova Casualty Company, et al., No. 159101/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4591).

  • October 17, 2018

    Judge: Proof Of Loss For Nor’Easter Damage Fails To Satisfy Policy’s Requirement

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 16 held that insureds’ supplemental proof of loss seeking $248,750 in additional Storm Jonas damages “falls short of an affirmative acknowledgment of perjury” and does not satisfy the “signed and sworn” requirement under their Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) (Hagstotz, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, No. 17-2491, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177218).

  • October 17, 2018

    Payment For Hurricane Irma Damage Was ‘Woefully Inadequate,’ Insureds Argue

    MIAMI — Insureds on Oct. 10 filed a breach of contract lawsuit against their federal flood insurer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, asserting that the insurer underpaid their loss caused by Hurricane Irma (Joan Rodriguez Grau, et al. v.  Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 18-24188, S.D. Fla.).

  • October 16, 2018

    Insurer ‘Wrongfully Denied’ Hurricane Harvey Claim, Texas Insured Argues To Court

    GALVESTON, Texas — In a breach of contract lawsuit brought against a federal flood insurer in a Texas federal court on Oct. 11, an insured alleges that the adjuster that was dispatched by the insurer to estimate his Hurricane Harvey damage failed to abide by the insurance policy terms, the insurer’s general claims handling standards and/or with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims manuals (Morgan Harris v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-00329, S.D. Texas).

  • October 16, 2018

    Insured Sues Federal Flood Insurer Over Hurricane Irma Structural Damage

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida insured filed suit in a federal district court on Oct. 11, alleging that his federal flood insurer failed to adequately compensate him for his structural building damage caused by Hurricane Irma (Keith Chatman v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-01204, M.D. Fla.).

  • October 15, 2018

    Insurer Seeks Dismissal Of Breach Of Contract Suit, Says Flood Claim Is Untimely

    NEWARK, N.J. — A federal flood insurer on Sept. 25 moved for a New Jersey federal court to dismiss an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit, contending that the insured’s flood damage claim involving its commercial warehouse is untimely (Hakim International Trading, et al. v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-02874, D. N.J.)

  • October 11, 2018

    Texas Federal Judge Says Insurer Must Produce Claim Investigation File

    EL PASO, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Oct. 9 granted an insured’s motion to compel production of the insurer’s claim investigation file regarding one of the insured’s properties for which coverage was provided after determining that the file is relevant to the insured’s claims that the insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith by denying coverage for another of the insured’s properties that was damaged on the same day by the same storm (Gary B. Crossland d/b/a Gold Cross Properties v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 18-85, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173878).

  • October 11, 2018

    Texas Insureds Sue Insurer In Federal Court Over Hurricane Harvey Flood Damage

    HOUSTON — Texas insureds on Oct. 8 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleging that their federal flood insurer committed breach of contract in its handling of their flood damage claim arising from Hurricane Harvey (Justin And Rebecca Blumberg v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-3659, S.D. Texas).

  • October 11, 2018

    Claims Trimmed In Insurance Bad Faith Suit Over Sinkhole Coverage

    TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 9 ruled that insureds in a homeowners insurance dispute failed to show that their insurer acted in bad faith in denying their claim for coverage because the insurer relied on information provided by two engineers showing that property damage to the home was not covered under the insurance policy (Natalie Orban, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-3050, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173212).

  • October 11, 2018

    Chief Judge: Insurer Fails To Prove It Suffered Prejudice From Insured’s Late Notice

    DENVER — A Colorado chief federal judge on Sept. 18 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that at the very least, there is a genuine dispute of fact regarding whether the insurer suffered any prejudice by the insured’s late notice of its hail damage claim (Hiland Hills Townhouse Owners Association, Inc. v. Owners Insurance Company, No. 17-1773, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160024).

  • October 8, 2018

    Amici Ask Texas High Court To Reject Exception To Attorney-Client Privilege

    AUSTIN, Texas — In an Oct. 2 brief submitted after oral arguments, two attorney organizations urge the Texas Supreme Court to find that communications between counsel and a party’s employee who is acting as an expert witness are still protected by attorney-client privilege in a dispute over Hurricane Ike insurance coverage (In re Dickinson, No. 17-0020, Texas Sup.).

  • October 8, 2018

    Insured Asks Texas High Court To Reverse Ruling In Hail, Wind Coverage Dispute

    AUSTIN, Texas — An insured recently told the Texas Supreme Court that its lawsuit seeking recourse against its insurer pursuant to the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act (TPPCA) is important to the state’s jurisprudence because it invites the high court to explain how the principles of USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca apply when an insurer invokes appraisal after the onset of litigation (Barbara Technologies Corporation v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-0640, Texas Sup.).

  • October 5, 2018

    Take-Nothing Judgment Entered Against Insured In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Sept. 28 entered a take-nothing judgment against an insured after adopting in its entirety a magistrate's report that recommended dismissal of the insured’s lawsuit alleging that he was wrongfully denied $141,274.50 in insurance proceeds for Superstorm Sandy damage to his Long Beach, N.Y., home (David Clutter v. William B. Long, et al., No. 17-4833, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171038).

  • October 5, 2018

    Texas Majority Stands By Ruling In Insurer’s Favor In Hurricane Ike Dispute

    HOUSTON — A majority of a Texas appeals court on Oct. 4 refused to reconsider its May 31 finding that a school district insured failed to establish causation and damages as a matter of law based solely on a $10.8 million appraisal award in a Hurricane Ike coverage dispute (Texas Windstorm Insurance Association v. Dickinson Independent School District, No. 14-16-00474, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 8083).

  • October 4, 2018

    Federal Judge: Genuine Issue Of Fact Exists As To Cause Of Insureds’ Floor Damage

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 26 held that because of conflicting evidence in the record, there is a genuine issue of fact regarding the cause of insureds’ floor damage following an August 2016 rainfall in East Baton Rouge Parish, denying dueling motions for summary judgment on breach of contract claims against a homeowners insurer and a federal flood insurer (Eric Graham, et al. v. Republic Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-00505, M.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166934).

  • October 3, 2018

    Judge: Federal-Question Jurisdiction Defeats Remand Of Hurricane Harvey Dispute

    HOUSTON — A Texas chief federal judge on Sept. 28 denied insureds’ motion to remand their lawsuit arising from Hurricane Harvey damage, finding that federal-question subject matter jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S. Code Section 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (Younas Chaudhary, et al. v. Chubb & Son, Inc., et al., No. 18-2179, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167496).

  • October 1, 2018

    Panel: No Coverage Owed For Damaged Limestone Slabs Following Hurricane Irene

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on Sept. 25 affirmed a lower court’s finding that an insurer owes no coverage for the discoloration of limestone slabs that were stored outdoors at the appellants’ property following Hurricane Irene, noting that despite the flood-prone nature of the appellants’ neighborhood, they “admittedly chose not to purchase flood insurance coverage” (Emerald Bay Developers, LLC, et al. v. Lenyk Automotive, Inc., et al., No. A-2875-16T1, N.J. Super. App. Div., 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2125).

  • September 28, 2018

    Texas Majority Grants Writ Of Mandamus Petition Seeking Appraisal In Wind/Hail Suit

    SAN ANTONIO — A majority of a Texas appeals court on Sept. 26 conditionally granted a commercial property insurer’s petition for writ of mandamus ordering the parties to engage in the appraisal award process and abate its insured’s breach of contract lawsuit pending appraisal (In Re Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 04-18-00231, Texas App., 4th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 7795).

  • September 19, 2018

    Magistrate Judge Finds Relator’s Request For Metadata From State Farm Premature

    GULFPORT, Miss. — Requests for metadata from State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s claims database and for spoliation sanctions sought by a plaintiff in a False Claims Act suit accusing the insurer of submitting false claims for flood damage following Hurricane Katrina were deemed premature by a federal magistrate judge in Mississippi on Sept. 18, after he found that the plaintiff’s request for additional information from the insurer should stem from the claims files it has produced (United States of America, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 06cv433-HSO-RHW, S.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158641).