Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • 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).

  • May 17, 2017

    Expert Testimony Gets In Due To Missed Deadline, Mississippi Federal Judge Rules

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on May 15 rejected competing requests to exclude evidence and testimony in an insurance coverage dispute over storm property damage claims, allowing two experts to testify for the property owner and saying laypersons can testify about the period of restoration for the property and the owner’s loss of income (Corinthian Court Holdings, LLC v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., Nos. 2:15-cv-111, 2:16-cv-18, S.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73395).

  • May 15, 2017

    Panel Orders FIGA To Pay Actual Repair Costs Up To Combined Statutory Cap

    LAKELAND, Fla. — On remand, a trial judge should enter a corrected judgment to show that an insured must contract for repairs within damages awarded by a jury and that the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) is required to pay actual repair costs to the contractors up to the combined statutory cap, a Florida appeals panel ruled May 12 (Maria Pupo v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 2D15-3901, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 6775).

  • May 12, 2017

    Insured May Be Able To Recover Against Adjuster In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

    DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on May 10 ruled that remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is warranted because an insured has shown that it may recover against the adjuster for failing to offer a fair settlement on a commercial property insurance claim (Arlington Heights Memorial Post No. 8234 Veterans Of Foreign Wars of the United States, Fort Worth, Texas, v. Covington Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3112, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71125).

  • May 5, 2017

    Texas Panel Refuses To Revisit Ruling In Favor Of Insurer, Adjuster

    FORTH WORTH, Texas — A Texas appeals panel on May 4 denied insureds’ motion to reconsider a Feb. 9 ruling that found they failed to produce competent evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether their property damage loss occurred during their homeowners insurance policy period (Richard Seim, et al. v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, et al., No. 02-16-00050, Texas App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 4068).

  • May 5, 2017

    Issues Of Fact Exist In Water, Mold Damage Suit, 10th Circuit Majority Says

    DENVER — The majority of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 agreed with an insured that a Utah federal magistrate judge erred in granting judgment in an insurer’s favor because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether water and mold damage occurred over an extensive period of time and whether the damage was caused by a sudden and accidental escape of water (Thomas Wheeler v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4159, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7954).

  • May 5, 2017

    Claims In Hurricane Irene Dispute Are Time-Barred, 4th Circuit Says In Reversal

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 3 held that a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a federal flood insurer arising from Hurricane Irene damage is barred by the one-year statute of limitations pursuant to its Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), reversing a lower court’s ruling that awarded the insureds $233,398 for breach of contract, $700,194 for bad faith and $63,962.50 in attorney fees (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., Nos. 16-1935 and 16-2018, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7862).

  • May 4, 2017

    Bad Faith, Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claims Severed In Coverage Suit

    NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on April 25 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss but stayed the insured’s claims for bad faith and breach of fiduciary duty until the insured’s declaratory judgment and breach of contract claims are resolved after determining that staying those claims will better help to manage the case  (Port Liberte Homeowners Association Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 16-7934, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63394).

  • May 4, 2017

    N.J. Panel: Broker Had No Duty To Provide Quotes For Higher Policy Limits

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey panel on May 1 rejected a tool manufacturer insured’s argument that its insurance broker breached a duty to provide additional flood quotes for its Harrison, N.J., commercial facilities, affirming a lower court’s ruling in favor of the broker in a dispute arising from Superstorm Sandy flood damage (C.S. Osborne & Co., Inc. v. The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. A-2182-15T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1051).

  • May 3, 2017

    Judge Certifies Class In Dispute Over Application Of Deductible In Hailstorm Loss

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on May 1 granted insureds’ motion for class certification in a dispute over whether a homeowners insurer should have applied a deductible to the actual cash value (ACV) payment it issued the insureds for their hail damage loss (David Bond, et al. v. Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 15-04236, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65701).

  • April 28, 2017

    8th Circuit Rejects Marina Owner’s Appeal Arising From Damages To Floating Docks

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that damages to a series of floating docks were caused by a flood and there were no genuine issues of material fact that should have been left for a jury to decide (Hudson Enterprises, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London Insurance Companies, No. 16-2846, 8th Cir.).

  • April 27, 2017

    New York Justice Rules In Insurer’s Favor In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    JAMAICA, N.Y. — Finding that insureds failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the predominant cause of their Superstorm Sandy loss was wind or wind-driven rain, a New York justice on March 1 ruled in favor of their homeowners insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit (Martin J. And Ingrid Ain v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 706068/13, N.Y. Sup., Queens Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1420).

  • April 25, 2017

    State Farm Tells Texas Supreme Court ESI Protocol Is Burdensome

    AUSTIN, Texas — In an April 21 brief to the Texas Supreme Court, filed in response to a post-oral argument brief by the real parties in interest in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) in an insurance coverage lawsuit, an insurer argues that a trial court’s requirement that ESI submission be in the form requested by the plaintiffs did not properly balance relevance, needs and burdens under Texas law (In re State Farm Lloyds, No. 15-0903, Texas Sup.).

  • April 24, 2017

    Insurer Did Not Impermissibly Depreciate Labor Costs, 10th Circuit Affirms

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that a homeowners insurer did not violate its policy when it depreciated labor costs in determining the actual cash value of an insured’s loss following hail and water damage (Margaret Graves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-3187, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6980).

  • April 21, 2017

    New York Justice Dismisses Appraisal Dispute Stemming From Superstorm Sandy Damage

    NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 7 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a dispute over a $170,129.96 appraisal award for Superstorm Sandy damage, rejecting the insured’s argument that the appraisal award was an instrument for the payment of money only and further finding that the insured failed to file its lawsuit before the policy’s two-year limitations period expired (MZM Real Estate Corp. v. Tower Insurance Company Of New York, No.: 452741/2015, N.Y. Sup., N.Y. Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1292).

  • April 20, 2017

    Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Storm Damage Dispute, 10th Circuit Affirms

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 19 rejected insureds’ argument that an insurer acted in bad faith by unreasonably delaying an appraisal and by failing to conduct an adequate claim investigation, affirming a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of the insurer (Hayes Family Trust, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty, No. 15-6231, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6713).

  • April 18, 2017

    Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of Insurer In Flood Coverage Dispute

    TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on April 18 entered judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer one day after finding that the insured’s failure to file a timely sworn proof of loss bars any recovery for his alleged flood damage (Jorge Abreu Sosa v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 16-1283, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58066).

  • April 17, 2017

    In Remanded False Claims Act Suit, Discovery Limited To Identified Properties

    GULFPORT, Miss. — In a case concerning an insurer’s False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties’ motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).

  • April 17, 2017

    Texas Federal Judge Says Insurer Had Reasonable Basis For Denying Claim

    WACO, Texas — Because a property insurer had a reasonable basis to deny an insured’s claim for roof damages incurred as the result of a hailstorm, a Texas federal judge on April 6 granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment as it pertained to the insured’s claims for bad faith and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Stephen Hahn v. United Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-218, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53178).

  • April 14, 2017

    Oklahoma Federal Judge Says Insureds’ Bad Faith Claim Is Not Supported By Facts

    TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on April 7 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss claims of bad faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress alleged by insureds seeking coverage for damages to their home sustained by high winds after determining that the insureds failed to provide any facts in support of either claim (Lance W. Hightower, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-274, N.D ..Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53645).