Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • 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).

  • April 12, 2017

    Federal Judge Rules In Insurers’ Favor In Suit Over Hurricane Irene, Sandy Damage

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 granted insurers’ motion for summary judgment in its insureds’ lawsuit seeking recovery for losses arising from Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy (Robert Jacobsen, et al. v. Hartford Insurance Company Flood & Home, et al., Nos. 14-3094, 13-6910 and 13-7160, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52591).

  • April 10, 2017

    Texas High Court Remands Coverage Dispute Over Hurricane Ike Wind Damage

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on April 7 held that a lower court erred when it disregarded a jury's answer to a question in a Hurricane Ike wind coverage dispute and the appellate court erred when it affirmed the trial court’s judgment, reversing the appellate court's judgment and remanding the case for a new trial (USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Gail Menchaca, No. 14-0721, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 361).

  • April 7, 2017

    Judge Interprets Leases For World Trade Center Buildings In Sept. 11 Dispute

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on April 6 interpreted four identical net leases for Buildings One, Two, Three and Four of the World Trade Center that were destroyed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to provide parameters for experts to express their opinions regarding the values of the leaseholds immediately following their destruction (In Re September 11 Litigation, Nos. 21 MC 101, 08 Civ. 3719, 08 Civ. 3722, S.D. N.Y.,   2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53129).

  • April 7, 2017

    State Law Claims Against Flood Insurer Are Preempted By Federal Law, Judge Rules

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on March 16 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a lawsuit brought by its insureds, finding that the insureds’ negligent misrepresentation and other state law claims are all preempted by federal law (Peggy Enriques Miranda, et al. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 16-12555, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37796).

  • April 6, 2017

    Federal Law Does Not Apply To State Law Procurement Claims, Insureds Tell 5th Circuit

    NEW ORLEANS — Insureds have asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer and the United States of America in a lawsuit arising from the insurer's cancellation of a federal flood insurance policy following Hurricane Ike (Robert Spong and Kerry Spong v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-41165, 5th Cir.).

  • April 6, 2017

    New Mexico Federal Judge Says Bad Faith, Breach Of Contract Claims Can Stand

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal judge on March 29 denied a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by insurers in a hail damage and theft coverage dispute after determining that the insured alleged sufficient facts in support of claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Sedillo Electric, et al. v. Colorado Casualty Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 15-1172, 16-43, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46442).

  • April 5, 2017

    Federal Judge Finds ‘Adjuster’ Was Not Improperly Joined, Remands Coverage Dispute

    DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on March 24 held that plaintiffs in a coverage dispute over storm damage have sufficiently asserted that one of the defendants was an "adjuster" engaged in the "business of insurance" and, as a result, a "person" pursuant to Texas Insurance Code, further finding the plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim for relief against the adjuster under the Texas Insurance Code (Ronald E. Cohen, et al. v. Seneca Insurance Co., Inc., et al., No. 15-1837, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43762).

  • April 5, 2017

    Federal Judge Rules In Flood Insurer’s Favor In Superstorm Sandy Dispute

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, rejecting the insured’s argument that bulletins from Federal Emergency Management Agency waived the proof-of-loss requirement and extended the time under which she could file her coverage lawsuit (Theresa Caivano v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 15-5791, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50490).

  • April 4, 2017

    Judge: Jury Must Decide If Enforceable Settlement Exists In Sandy Dispute

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 denied an insurer’s motions for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from wind damage caused by Superstorm Sandy (Coleman Enterprises Co. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 14-07533, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50078).

  • March 31, 2017

    New York Panel: Insurer Failed To Provide Timely Notice Of Its Denial Of Coverage

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York appeals panel on March 15 held that a commercial general liability insurer is estopped from disclaiming coverage under a policy exclusion because it failed to provide an additional insured timely notice of its denial of coverage on the basis of the exclusion, partly reversing a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a coverage dispute arising from a building collapse (Harco Construction, LLC, et al. v First Mercury Insurance Co., et al., [Index No. 16011/13] No. 2015-00839, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1766).

  • March 30, 2017

    Judge Rules On Insurer’s Duty To Hurricane Sandy Claims Based On Expert Testimony

    TRENTON, N.J. — After finding expert testimony on the scope and value of damages incurred by two supermarkets during Hurricane Sandy to be admissible, a New Jersey federal judge on March 28 granted in part and denied in part summary judgment to an insurer (MD Retail Corp. d/b/a Monmouth Beach Supermarket and MS Retail Corp. d/b/a Sea Bright Supermarket v. AmGuard Insurance Group, No. 14-6589, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44996).

  • March 28, 2017

    Insurers Sue Saudi Arabia Under Justice Against Sponsors Of Terrorism Act

    NEW YORK — Insurers on March 23 filed a new complaint against Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and/or the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina (SHC) in a federal district court, contending that facts and related evidence presented by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have taken on additional significance as a result of the U.S. Congress’ enactment of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) this past September (Underwriters Inc., et al. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, et al., No. 17-02129, S.D. N.Y.).

  • March 28, 2017

    Judge: Decision-Making Authority Does Not ‘Arise Out Of’ Tangible Property Damage

    HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on March 23 found that an insurance policy’s property damage exclusion does not bar directors and officers and entity liability coverage for at least two underlying claims against a homeowners association insured stemming from Hurricane Ike damage (The Landing Council of Co-Owners v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-1902, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42087).