LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on July 11 ruled that an insurer is not entitled to partial summary judgment on its claim that it is not obligated to reimburse an insured general contractor for costs incurred in underlying arbitration proceedings stemming from the contactor’s alleged failure to properly secure a building in advance of a hurricane for costs incurred before Feb. 5, 2020, because issues of fact remain as to whether the insurer was prejudiced by the contractor’s delay in notifying it of a counterclaim filed against the contractor.
ALBANY, N.Y. — The owner and operator of numerous restaurants on July 12 moved in the New York Court of Appeals for leave to appeal the First Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division’s ruling that affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of its commercial property coverage lawsuit arising from an alleged tens of millions of dollars in revenue loss prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the issue on appeal “is indisputably of statewide, public importance, representing one of the most consequential insurance law questions to arise under New York law in decades.”
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida judge on July 20 held that an insured has asserted sufficient facts to demonstrate a claim for declaratory relief and breach of contract against certain defendant insurers regarding their policies’ specialty coverages for “Closings Due to Death or Disease” and “Cancellation of Bookings Due to Contagious or Infectious Disease” but dismissed with prejudice the insured’s claims that the coronavirus physically damaged its property.
MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on July 20 reversed a lower court’s order that granted an insured’s motion to compel appraisal of his roof damage claim, finding that there were issues of fact regarding whether the insureds complied with their post-loss duties under their homeowners insurance policy and that the lower court erred by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals panel on July 19 affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a residential rental property owner’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its financial losses resulting from Dare County’s prohibition on entry to the county by nonresident visitors in response to the coronavirus pandemic, rejecting the insured’s contention that the policy’s dwelling and loss of use coverage provisions were triggered.
MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on July 6 held that an insured’s expert investigator's report was insufficient as a matter of law to create a genuine issue of material fact to overcome the prejudice that the insured caused to the insurer by waiting more than two years to report a Hurricane Irma claim, finding that the lower court was “eminently correct” in granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer.
HARTFORD, Conn. — An insurer on July 13 moved for judgment one month after a Connecticut judge granted its motion to strike the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority’s breach of contract and bad faith complaint seek coverage for its economic losses arising from the closure of the insured’s operations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 6 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurance policy’s contamination exclusion bars coverage for a power-conveyance and energy management solutions provider’s lawsuit seeking coverage under the policy’s time element provision for its business interruption expenses related to the coronavirus, finding that the policy’s plain language demonstrates that the exclusion applies to the time element section.
HOUSTON — An insured’s claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of a dispute for damages caused by Hurricane Harvey should not proceed because the claims are barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations, a Texas federal magistrate judge said June 27 in recommending that the insurer’s motion for summary judgment be granted based on the insured’s failure to file suit within two years after the claim file was closed.
NEW ORLEANS — After an insolvent homeowners insurer requested a stay pursuant to Louisiana law in a coverage dispute filed by a homeowner against the insurer, a Louisiana federal judge on July 13 granted the motion in accordance with Louisiana law providing for a six-month stay in all proceedings involving insolvent insurers, finding that though the insurer says the motion is opposed, the homeowner filed no opposition.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 6 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a business consulting company insured’s bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insureds have failed to assert the existence of a qualifying “communicable disease event."
SAN FRANCISCO — An insured on July 12 sued its insurer in a California federal court seeking coverage for property damage to its Napa County wineries caused by two separate wildfires, alleging that the insurer breached the policy by denying coverage for its claims for smoke/smoke taint damage to “Wine in Process,” limiting its amount of coverage and failing to fully pay its claims for business income and extra expense coverage.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals panel on July 5 reversed a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of restaurant insureds in a coronavirus coverage dispute, finding that governmental orders that temporarily restricted the scope of the insureds’ restaurant operations did not constitute direct physical loss or property damage to trigger coverage under their “all-risk” insurance policies.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower federal judge’s grant of insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract and bad faith coverage lawsuit arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insureds limited their dental services as a precautionary measure and not because the coronavirus was present on their insured premises.
RALEIGH, N.C. — An insured’s claims for bad faith and unfair claims practices in a water and mold damage coverage dispute cannot proceed because the insured failed to show that the homeowners insurer acted in bad faith or committed unfair claims practices in handling the claims, a North Carolina federal judge said July 8 in partially granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel said on June 20 that although it recognizes that the coronavirus pandemic “has caused overwhelming economic losses to untold businesses and individuals dependent on those businesses in our state, nation, and the world,” insureds’ claims at the center of six coverage lawsuits are restricted by their insurance policies’ “clear and plain meaning.”
ATLANTA —The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment in favor of an insurer in coverage dispute over storm damage, finding that the owner of a four-unit commercial property breached the policy’s notice provision by waiting six months to file its claim.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut judge on June 27 held that an insurance policy’s contamination exclusion precludes coverage for a private real estate investment management company insured’s more than $12 million in damages arising from the coronavirus pandemic, granting the insurer’s motion to strike the insured’s complaint.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A trial court did not err in granting a homeowners insurer’s motion for sanctions in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of coverage for damages caused by a wildfire because the insureds intentionally destroyed evidence despite having knowledge of a scheduled inspection by the insurer, the Third District California Court of Appeal said June 27.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri appeals panel on June 28 held that a homeowners insurer breached an insurance policy by improperly withholding $5,424.79 in labor costs from an actual cash value payment for property damage caused by a storm, affirming a lower court’s judgment in favor of the insured.