SAN FRANCISCO — The owner and manager of a residential development ask the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Sept. 1 motion to stay the issuance of its mandate affirming a district court’s order compelling arbitration of an insurance coverage dispute against English underwriters for $5.66 million in hurricane damage while they petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review, writing that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling created a circuit split.
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on Aug. 31 dismissed an insured’s amended complaint seeking coverage for business interruption losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic after determining that the insured failed to show that it sustained a direct physical loss to any of its properties as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 1 denied an insurer’s motion seeking to preclude the insured from presenting testimony, evidence and argument regarding the insurer’s alleged bad faith conduct in handling the insured’s claim for tornado damages because questions of fact exist as to whether the insurer’s conduct was reasonable.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Aug. 31 dismissed an insured’s suit seeking coverage for business income losses sustained as a result of the shutdown orders issued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic after determining that no coverage is afforded because the insured did not sustain any direct physical loss or damage as required by the policy.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 30 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a homeowners’ insurer acted in bad faith in handling a homeowner’s claim for damages caused by a hailstorm because the insurer did not prove that it had a reasonable basis to deny coverage for the damages and repairs.
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s breach of contract, bad faith and negligence claims after determining that the policy’s contractual limitations provision is unenforceable under Mississippi law.
CHICAGO — An Illinois judge on Aug. 23 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by automotive dealerships after finding that their alleged business losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown orders are not covered, noting that unlike asbestos, “COVID-19 dissipates on its own without intervention.”
ATLANTA — An insured on Aug. 17 defended its appeal asking 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, contending that as much as the insurer “would like Florida law to support its arguments, the fact remains that it does not.”
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Aug. 19 denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings of a woman’s claim that an insurer and underwriter violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by not refunding her post-departure travel insurance premiums for a policy on a cruise that was canceled due to COVID-19 but granted the defendants’ motion as to some of her state law claims.
LAKE CHARLES, La.— A Louisiana appeals panel on Aug. 4 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of a homeowners insurer in an insured’s bad faith lawsuit arising from a roof damage claim, finding that the court was within its discretion in qualifying two witnesses as experts.
MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 18 held that if a commercial property insurer wished to require a condominium association insured to record meeting minutes as a condition of policy coverage, “it could have easily so provided,” declining to disturb a lower court’s ruling that granted the insured’s motion to compel appraisal in a coverage dispute over hurricane damage.
GRETNA, La. — A Louisiana appeals court on Aug. 18 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment rulings in favor of a condominium association and its insurer in a lawsuit arising from damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, rejecting a condominium owner’s argument that he is a direct beneficiary of the insurance policy and is entitled to enforce his right to a portion of the proceeds that were already paid to the association.
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Aug. 18 held that lower federal courts erred in weighing factors that are relevant to the exercise of discretion pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA), vacating the lower courts’ orders denying insurers’ motions to remove restaurant insureds’ coverage lawsuits arising from the coronavirus and remanding for renewed consideration of all relevant factors.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An insurance company on Aug. 5 failed in its bid to exclude a “costing expert” in an insurance benefits recovery suit when a New Mexico federal judge found that the expert meets the qualifications set under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and that the insurer’s objections can be resolved through cross-examination.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania judge on Aug. 4 denied commercial insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a minor league baseball team owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured has sufficiently asserted “‘direct physical loss or damage’ to its property under the ‘physical contamination’ theory as a necessary condition to business interruption coverage."
MIAMI — A Florida judge on Aug. 12 directed a commercial insurer to issue a $31,357,400 payment to a receiver to deposit in his attorney trust account, discharging the insurer “of and from all further liability regarding the insurance claim and payment of the insurance proceeds under the Policy” in a consolidated class action arising from the June 24 partial collapse of a Surfside, Fla., condominium high-rise.
PITTSBURGH — A majority of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Aug. 10 partly reversed a lower court’s order coordinating coronavirus coverage lawsuits against Erie Insurance Exchange in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, noting that Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 213.1 limits coordination to “pending” lawsuits.
NEW HAVEN, Conn.— The homeowners insurance provider of a woman whose home was damaged in a 2018 microburst storm must provide certain documents pertaining to its relationship with a purportedly unlicensed contractor, a Connecticut federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 9, finding the documents to be relevant to the insured’s claim that the insurer engaged in a practice of lowballing repair estimates for coverage purposes.
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 5 dismissed insureds’ claims against an insurance agent and breach of fiduciary claims against an insurance broker in a Hurricane Harvey coverage dispute, allowing their claims for common-law misrepresentation, negligence and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Insurance Code against the broker to survive.
ATLANTA — Less than one week after a church insured withdrew its appeal challenging a Georgia federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of its insurer on a bad faith claim and a jury verdict in favor of the insurer on a breach of contract claim in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Matthew water damage, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 dismissed the lawsuit.