Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • October 16, 2019

    Magistrate Awards Attorney Fees In Breach Of Contract Suit Over Hurricane Irma

    MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge on Oct. 10 awarded a condominium association insured $743,086.04 in attorney fees in its breach of contract lawsuit over Hurricane Irma property damage that resulted in a $743,086.04 judgment against the insurer, rejecting the insured’s request for a fee multiplier (St. Louis Condominium Association, Inc. v. Rockhill Insurance Company, No. 18-21365, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177287).

  • October 09, 2019

    Florida Insureds Sue Insurer For Breach Of Contract Over Hurricane Irma Damage

    MIAMI — Insureds on Sept. 12 sued their insurer in a Florida court, alleging that it breached an insurance policy when it denied their claim seeking coverage for damage caused by Hurricane Irma (Avrohom Liberman, et al. v. Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Company, No. 95590062, Fla. Cir.)

  • October 09, 2019

    1st Circuit Set To Hear Arguments In Breach Of Contract Dispute

    BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral argument on Oct. 8 in an insurance dispute in which plaintiffs contend that their insurer “mistreated” them by failing to address their claim and then providing false information regarding the payment of the claim “in deliberate bad faith” (River Farm Realty Trust, et al. v. Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, No. 19-1188, 1st Cir.).

  • October 09, 2019

    Federal Court ‘Misread’ $3.5M Arbitration Award, Insureds Argue To 9th Circuit

    SEATTLE — In a recently filed reply brief, insureds ask the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of insurers in a coverage dispute over an underlying $3.5 million arbitration award arising from property damage that occurred on 11,000 acres of forest lands (Campbell Global LLC, et al. v. American States Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-35337, 9th Cir.).

  • October 08, 2019

    High Court Denies Review Of Court’s Refusal To Remand Coverage Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied an insured’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling affirming a court’s denial of an insured’s motion to remand his lawsuit alleging that an insurer underpaid his claims for personal property and real estate damage (William Mauldin v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No 18-1456, U.S. Sup.).

  • October 07, 2019

    Panel Reverses Attorney Fee Award In Coverage Dispute Over Superstorm Sandy Damage

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on Oct. 4 held that a lower court’s award of attorney fees and costs to an excess insurer under the state’s frivolous litigation statute was “a mistaken exercise of discretion,” reversing in part in a lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damage (Fedway Associates, Inc. v. Engle Martin & Associates, Inc., et al., No. A-0297-18T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2048).

  • October 07, 2019

    Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Alleging Insurer, Brokers Concocted ‘Kickback’ Scheme

    HONOLULU — In four separate orders, a federal judge in Hawaii on Sept. 26 dismissed insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for property damage stemming from the May 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano, rejecting the insureds’ assertion that a homeowners insurer and brokers conducted a deceptive “kickback” scheme that resulted in their purchase of “essentially worthless” coverage (Stephen G. Aquilina, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's Syndicate #2003, et al., No. 18-00496, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165863).

  • October 04, 2019

    Sinkhole Collapse Exception To Earth Movement Exclusion Does Not Trigger Coverage

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Sept. 30 held that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that an insured’s collapse claim was not covered under an insurance policy, granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment as to the insured’s breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims (Blissful Enterprises, Inc. v. Cincinnati Insurance Company, No. 18-1221, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169768).

  • October 03, 2019

    Judge Dismisses Without Prejudice Irma Suit Against Lender-Placed Homeowners Insurer

    MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 30 held that plaintiffs have failed to state a plausible breach of contract claim against a lender-placed homeowners insurer, granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss the Hurricane Irma dispute without prejudice to provide the plaintiffs “one more opportunity” to assert a claim as simple loss payees pursuant to the policy (Julio Bajduan, et al. v. Integon National Insurance Company, No. 19-21924, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170293).

  • October 03, 2019

    Insured:  Motion To Dismiss Hurricane Maria Suit Is ‘Exercise In Misdirection’

    BOSTON — An insured in an Oct. 1 motion opposes an insurer’s motion to dismiss its bad faith lawsuit alleging that the insurer has made no payment on almost half of its 228 claims for a total of $39.6 million in damage caused by Hurricane Maria, arguing that the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction “is an exercise in misdirection away from” its contacts with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Capital Crossing Servicing Company LLC v. MAPFRE Praico Insurance Company, No. 19-11157, D. Mass.).

  • October 02, 2019

    Insured Withdraws Appeal Of Take-Nothing Judgment In Superstorm Sandy Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — In a mandate issued Sept. 23, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced that an insured and the Federal Emergency Management Agency filed a stipulation withdrawing the insured’s appeal of a lower federal court’s dismissal of his 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. 18-3520, 2nd Cir.).

  • October 01, 2019

    Mediation Notice Filed In Federal Flood Insurance Coverage Dispute

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — Counsel for an insured on Sept. 25 filed notice of a Dec. 3 mediation of their client’s lawsuit alleging that a federal flood insurer failed to pay covered repairs for damage caused by a Sept. 10, 2017, flood (Yanetsi Collier v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 19-49, M.D. Fla.).

  • September 30, 2019

    Federal Judge Remands Flood Coverage Suit To West Virginia Court

    WHEELING, W. Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on Sept. 17 granted insureds’ motion to remand their flood coverage dispute to a West Virginia court, finding that a homeowners insurer failed to satisfy the amount in controversy requirement under 28 U.S. Code Section 1332(a) (John A. Hamilton, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 19-241, N.D. W. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158263).

  • September 27, 2019

    Louisiana Panel Reverses Penalty Award In Coverage Suit Over Hurricane Isaac Damage

    NEW ORLEANS —A Louisiana appeals panel on Sept. 25 affirmed a lower court’s judgment awarding an insured $40,414 in covered Hurricane Isaac damages under a homeowners insurance policy subject to the hurricane deductible but reversed the judgment as to bad faith penalties and amended the judgment to properly reflect the attorney fee award (Warren Dudenhefer v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, et al., No. 2019-CA-0387, La. App., 4th Cir., 2019 La. App. LEXIS 1635).

  • September 27, 2019

    Judge:  Fact Issues Preclude Summary Judgment On Bad Faith, Punitive Damages Claims

    OKLAHOMA CITY — In a dispute over whether an earthquake or poor construction and soil changes caused insureds’ property damage, a federal judge in Oklahoma on Sept. 24 found that there are issues of material fact that preclude a summary judgment ruling in favor of the homeowners insurer on claims for bad faith and punitive damages (Sean Smith, et al. v. CSAA Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, No. 17-01302, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163068).

  • September 26, 2019

    Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims To Be Adjudicated In Federal Court

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against a homeowners insurer will remain in South Carolina federal court while the insured’s negligence and other tort claims alleged against contractors who performed work on the insured’s home will be remanded to South Carolina state court, a South Carolina federal judge said Sept. 20 in granting the insurer’s motion to sever and remand the claims against the other co-defendants (Stella Black v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 18-2479, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160483).

  • September 25, 2019

    Judge Refuses To Reconsider Finding That There Are 2 ‘Premises’ In Irma Dispute

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 23 denied an insured’s motion for reconsideration of an earlier ruling that held that there are two "premises" for purposes of the Golf Course Outdoor Grounds Coverage in a coverage dispute over Hurricane Irma damage (Grey Oaks Country Club, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 18-639, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161559).

  • September 25, 2019

    Judge: Insured’s Argument To Retain Court Costs Claim In Flood Suit ‘Misses The Mark’

    MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 20 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s claims for attorney fees, consequential damages, prejudgment interest and court costs in a flood coverage dispute, rejecting as premature the insured’s contention that his court costs claim should proceed because “costs under federal law are generally awarded to the prevailing party” (Elias P. De La Torre III v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 19-10134, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162209).

  • September 24, 2019

    Policy Coverage For Roadwork Dust At Issue In 11th Circuit

    ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel will consider whether an insurance policy covers cleaning costs required to remediate dust damage from nearby roadwork after briefing wrapped up earlier this year (Mama Jo’s Inc. d/b/a Berries v. Sparta Insurance Co., No. 18-12887, 11th Cir.).

  • September 24, 2019

    Insured Attributes Differences Between Affidavit, Testimony To ‘Memory Difficulties’

    MIAMI — An insured recently asked a Florida appeals court to reverse a lower court’s finding that she perpetrated a fraud on the court by providing materially false information in her affidavit in a water damage coverage dispute, arguing that the discrepancies between the affidavit and her  live testimony “can be explained by her memory difficulties and by understanding that the date she discovered the loss is not the date of loss or the date of the weather event causing the loss” (Irma Perez v. Safepoint Insurance Company, No. 3D18-1588, Fla., App., 3rd Dist.).