ALBANY N.Y. — An Albany County, N.Y., Supreme Court justice on July 26 granted an all-risk commercial insurer’s motion to transfer an insured’s coronavirus coverage lawsuit to New York County, rejecting the insured’s argument that the current venue is proper under the policy’s forum selection clause.
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on July 23 denied a yacht owner insured’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion to review a magistrate’s judge’s order compelling discovery in an insurer’s lawsuit alleging the insurance policy was void ab initio because the insured breached the warranty under the Hurricane Questionnaire/Plan, finding that the ambiguous policy language raises an issue of material fact regarding the parties' intentions as to the scope of the policy and that the insurer has sufficiently alleged a breach by the insured.
NEW YORK — Twenty days after issuing a one-page order dismissing Northwell Health Inc.’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking $1.25 billion in coverage for its property and business interruption losses and decontamination costs arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in New York on July 27 entered a judgment in favor of two commercial property insurers after finding that Northwell’s arguments for coverage under “a litany of possible provisions” “are unpersuasive.”
ATLANTA — American Property Casualty Insurance Association on July 21 filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London in a coronavirus coverage suit, arguing to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that commercial property insurance policies “do not—and were never intended to—provide coverage for economic losses untethered to physical loss or physical damage.”
VENTURA, Calif. — A California appeals panel on July 21 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that denied an insured’s petition to vacate an appraisal award in a flood damage coverage dispute and remanded with instructions for the trial court to affirm the award, finding that the appraisers did not exceed the scope of their authority.
PHILADELPHIA — An expert opining on the origins of a house fire meets the standards set in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled July 8, denying a manufacturer’s motion to exclude in a subrogation action filed by the homeowners’ insurer.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal jury in West Virginia on July 16 awarded an insured seeking coverage for property damages caused by the collapse of its silo almost $33 million after determining that the collapse of the silo was not caused by wear and tear, an excluded cause of loss under the policy.
DALLAS — A Texas appeals panel on July 20 rejected an insurer’s appeal of a lower court’s order appointing an umpire in an underlying insurance coverage dispute over hailstorm damage, finding that it lacks jurisdiction over the appeal.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on July 7 granted two commercial property insurers’ motion to dismiss Northwell Health Inc.’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking $1.25 billion in coverage for its property and business interruption losses and decontamination costs arising out of the coronavirus pandemic and denied as moot Northwell’s motion for partial summary judgment.
LOS ANGELES — One day after a motion picture company insured and its insurer filed a joint stipulation of dismissal, a federal judge in California on July 16 dismissed without prejudice the insured’s lawsuit alleging that its insurer refused to extend its “film producers risk” insurance policy when the production of the movie “Hypnotic” starring Ben Affleck was delayed by risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 dismissed insureds’ appeal of a Louisiana federal court’s grant of their businessowners insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in their lawsuit seeking coverage for their alleged losses prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the appellants failed to timely file their brief and record excerpts.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An insurer involved in a disputed claim for property damage caused by a wildfire lost its bid to exclude two experts retained to testify on the scope of the damage and costs associated with the repairs after a Tennessee federal judge on July 15 found that the experts are qualified and based their conclusion on reliable information.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York justice on July 15 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for the plaintiff’s alleged business income losses arising from the governmental restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the policy terms “serve to utterly refute” the breach of contract claims.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a boat owner insured, finding that Florida law applies to the insured’s claims for damage caused by Hurricane Michael under its maritime insurance policy.
GULFPORT, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi should deny an insurer’s motion to compel arbitration of claims under the False Claims Act (FCA) and stay all proceedings in relators’ 15-year-old qui tam suit accusing the insurer of filing false flood insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina because the motion is frivolous and the insurer failed to address “obvious issues” in its motion, waiting instead to address them in a forthcoming reply brief, the relators argue in a May 27 opposition brief.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A portion of a new Florida property insurance law that bans “written or electronic communication that encourages, induces or instructs someone to contact a contractor or public adjuster for the purpose of filing an insurance claim for roof damage” violates First Amendment rights, a federal judge in Florida ruled July 11 in granting a preliminary injunction that prohibits the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation from enforcing the law as it pertains to “prohibited advertisements.”
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 12 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment rulings in favor of a federal flood insurer and a homeowners insurer in a Louisiana insured’s lawsuit arising from 2016 flood and a 2017 motor vehicle accident, finding that the insured’s failure to discernibly challenge the lower court’s rulings forfeits any challenge to the orders and that the lower court committed no reversible error.
LOS ANGELES — Allegations of construction defects, mismanagement of subcontractors and water damage caused by failure to properly secure a building in advance of a hurricane are sufficient in regard to a substantially completed garage for an insurer to have a duty to defend a general contractor, a federal judge in California ruled July 1, granting partial summary judgment in the contractor’s favor on a breach of contract claim.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A trial court did not err in concluding that a homeowners insurer must turn over a number of requested documents to an insured because the documents at issue are relevant to the insured’s bad faith claim, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal said June 30.
MIAMI — The owner of a Surfside, Fla., condominium that was destroyed in a June 24 collapse that killed at least 60 people filed a class action in a Florida court on July 7 against the condominium association and its insurers, seeking a declaratory judgment as to the parties’ rights and obligations under the policies for the property owners’ losses arising from the collapse.