Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • February 26, 2021

    Florida Panel Reverses, Remands To Stay Hurricane Suit And Compel Appraisal

    MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 24 held that post-loss requirements have been met by both a homeowners insurer and an insured and the issue as to hurricane damage is ripe for appraisal, reversing and remanding with directions to stay the coverage lawsuit and compel appraisal under the policy.

  • February 25, 2021

    Judge Allows Business Interruption Claims To Proceed In COVID-19 Bellwether Cases

    CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 22 refused to dismiss business interruption coverage and bad faith claims brought against an insurer in three bellwether lawsuits arising from the governmental shutdown of hospitality businesses in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that a reasonable jury can find that the insureds suffered “a direct ‘physical’ loss of property on their premises.”

  • February 24, 2021

    Insurers Request Dismissal Of California Camp Fire Suit Against PG&E

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four insurers standing in the shoes of their Butte County, Calif., insureds on Feb. 2 requested that a California court dismiss with prejudice their lawsuits alleging that PG&E Corp. and/or Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s “well-documented disregard for safety regulations and risk management practices” and “blind eye towards the use of effective maintenance and inspection practices for their facilities and equipment” triggered various factors that caused and/or contributed to causing the “most destructive and deadly wildfire California has ever experienced."

  • February 23, 2021

    5th Circuit Dismisses Insured’s Appeal In Hailstorm Suit For Want Of Jurisdiction

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 22 dismissed an insured’s appeal of a federal court’s finding that it failed to provide a sworn proof of loss that was a prerequisite for invoking the policy’s appraisal provision, finding that the lower court “ostensibly” entered a final judgment without resolving the insured’s counterclaims against the insurer or expressly ordering a partial final judgment in an appraisal dispute over hailstorm damage.

  • February 23, 2021

    Potential Coverage Exists For Challenge To McDonald’s Steps To Contain COVID-19

    CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 22 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit brought by McDonald’s Corp. and former and current franchise owners seeking coverage for an underlying class action injunction alleging that they are taking inadequate steps to contain COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • February 23, 2021

    Judge:  Dentist Fails To State Claim Against Insurer In COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 18 granted in part a commercial insurer’s motion to dismiss a dentist insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its lost income arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured fails to state a claim, but allowed the insured to amend his complaint and conduct discovery into his alter-ego theory.

  • February 22, 2021

    Minor League Baseball Teams Seek Reversal Of Dismissal Of COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — Small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams on Feb. 8 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of their breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their losses arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

  • February 19, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses Ohio Restaurant Owner’s Coverage Suit Arising From COVID-19

    AKRON, Ohio — Granting an insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 17 held that although a restaurant owner insured plausibly alleged that governmental shutdown orders and the possible or actual presence of the novel coronavirus interfered with its intended use of its restaurant properties, the properties were not materially or perceptibly destroyed, harmed or ruined and remain in the insured’s possession.

  • February 18, 2021

    New York Justice Dismisses Bus Contractor’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit Against Insurer

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — A New York justice on Feb. 12 dismissed a bus contractor insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage under an “all risk” commercial property insurance policy for its business interruption losses and extra expenses incurred as a direct result of governmental shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that under state law, there is no “business income/extra expense” coverage in the absence of “direct physical loss or damage” to the insured’s premises.

  • February 18, 2021

    Judge Rules For Insurers In Dental Practices’ Class Action Over COVID-19 Coverage

    ST. LOUIS — A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 16 held that “the great weight of authority supports” insurers’ argument that “direct physical loss of” requires that “some physical event” occurs on the insureds’ properties, granting the insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract and bad faith coverage lawsuit arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

  • February 16, 2021

    Judge: HVAC Units Not ‘Personal Property,’ No Coverage Owed For Hail Damage

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Granting a commercial property insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment, a federal judge in Kentucky on Feb. 16 held that no coverage is owed for a restaurant insured’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units that were damaged by a hailstorm because the units were not “leased personal property” that the insured had a “contractual responsibility to insure.”

  • February 16, 2021

    Insurer, Amicus Submit Briefs In Retailer’s Appeal Of Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — One day after an insurer filed an answering brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a retailer insured’s appeal of a federal judge’s dismissal of its class complaint seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, United Policyholders on Feb. 9 said its amicus support is “especially vital” in the case “because the issues implicated by this case are far-reaching and of critical importance, as they may affect the fate of insurance recoveries for small businesses throughout California.”

  • February 12, 2021

    Federal Judge Denies WYO Insurer’s Motion To Exclude Insureds’ Designated Expert

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Feb. 10 denied a Write-Your-Own (WYO) insurer’s motion to exclude the plaintiffs’ designated expert in a consolidated flood coverage dispute, finding that the insured’s motion is “substantively identical” to another insurer’s motion in limine in lawsuits that present common questions of fact and law and arise out of the same flood.

  • February 11, 2021

    New York Justice Dismisses Movie Theater’s COVID-19 Suit Against Insurer, Brokers

    MINEOLA, N.Y. — A New York justice on Feb. 8 dismissed an insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the closure of its movie theater in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, concurring “with the majority view” that the insured’s loss of use of its premises because of the coronavirus-related shutdown orders does not constitute “direct physical loss of or damage to the property” under the policy and further noting that the insured fails to assert that it inquired about insurance coverage for government closures related to a pandemic.

  • February 10, 2021

    Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Losses, Judge Determines

    NEWARK, N.J. — No coverage is owed for business losses sustained by an ophthalmology practice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because a virus exclusion in the applicable policy applies as a bar to coverage, a New Jersey federal judge said Feb. 8.

  • February 10, 2021

    Insurance Advocates Say Policy Wasn’t Meant To Cover Coronavirus

    ST. LOUIS — Property insurance policies are written to protect against damage and do not extend to business interruption caused by the likes of the novel coronavirus, two insurance advocacy groups told an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a Jan. 20 amicus curiae brief.

  • February 10, 2021

    Louisiana Federal Judge Allows Expert In Insurance Contract Breach Dispute

    BATON ROUGE, La. — An insurer’s arguments to exclude an expert witness in a breach of contract suit involving a flood insurance policy go to weight of the evidence, not its admissibility under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., a Louisiana federal judge ruled Jan. 28, denying the motion.

  • February 10, 2021

    Federal Judge Grants Property Insurer’s Motion To Dismiss COVID-19 Bad Faith Suit

    DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Feb. 9 granted a commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss its restaurant insured’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for its losses arising from the novel coronavirus after determining that the insured failed to allege facts in support of its breach of contract and bad faith claims; however, the judge said the insured is permitted to file a third amended complaint.

  • February 10, 2021

    Insured: Court’s Ruling Threatens To Cause ‘Grave’ Harm To Small Business Community

    ATLANTA — An insured on Feb. 2 asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses that were “directly caused” by government “stay-at-home” orders in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the lower court’s “ruling threatens to cause grave and in many cases irreparable harm to Florida’s small business community already suffering from the pandemic’s impact.”

  • February 10, 2021

    Magistrate Recommends Denying Summary Judgment Motions In Hurricane Dorian Dispute

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal magistrate judge on Feb. 5 recommended that a Florida federal court deny motions for summary judgment by an insured and its insurer in a coverage dispute arising from damage to 61-foot yacht caused by Hurricane Dorian, finding that neither party has demonstrated whether the insured’s breach of the Captain Warranty "increased the hazard by any means within the control of the insured.”