CHICAGO — The owner of theWit hotel in Chicago on Jan. 27 sued an “all-risk” insurer in an Illinois court for breach of contract and bad faith, accusing the insurer of leveraging the novel coronavirus pandemic “to wipe out coverage for other catastrophic losses and business closures,” including its $14,826,973 in business interruption loss resulting from the civil unrest events in response to the death of George Floyd.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 29 reversed a lower court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute over wind damage, finding that the insurer failed to demonstrate that there were no genuine issues of material fact because the sole affidavit that it relied on to support its motion for summary judgment was insufficient under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510(e).
OLYMPIA, Wash. — In response to the “devastating impact” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Washington senators on Jan. 26 introduced Senate Bill 5351, which would codify the interpretation of “loss” and “damage” in the context of business interruption insurance policies and give insureds additional time to challenge insurers’ denial of their business interruption insurance claims.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 27 held that a plaintiff lacked standing as a third-party beneficiary under a force-placed insurance policy to sue the insurer for declaratory relief, affirming a lower court’s ruling that granted the insurer’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irma damage.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 affirmed rulings awarding summary judgment to an insurer and denying a contractor’s motion to stay the lawsuit pending the appraisal of Hurricane Irma damage to an apartment complex, finding that the insurer was not required under a policy issued to a homeowners association to pay the contractor the estimated $4.9 million it would cost to replace the buildings because the contractor did not complete repairs and waived its request for an appraisal.
CHICAGO — The owner and operator of an Illinois pancake restaurant on Jan. 24 sued its commercial property insurer in an Illinois federal court for breach of contract and bad faith and sought a declaration that its expected more than $400,000 in business interruption losses in connection with the governmental closure orders arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic are covered under its policies.
TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Supreme Court on Jan. 27 held that a $100 million flood sublimit does not apply to New Jersey Transit Corp.’s water damages that were caused by Superstorm Sandy and, therefore, the insured is entitled to coverage up to the full $400 million policy limits, affirming the lower courts.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an insured’s breach of contract claim against its federal flood insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute but vacated the ruling to the extent the court dismissed the negligence claim and remanded for further proceedings.
GRETNA, La. —A condominium owner and his consulting group on Dec. 9 asked a Louisiana appeals court to reverse a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a condominium association and its insurer in a lawsuit arising from damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, arguing 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.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Jan. 21 entered a judgment administratively closing a coronavirus coverage lawsuit two days after certifying to the Ohio Supreme Court the question of whether “the general presence in the community, or on surfaces at a premises, of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2” constitutes “direct physical loss or damage to property; or does the presence on a premises of a person infected with COVID-19 constitute direct physical loss or damage to property at that premises?”
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 19 awarded summary judgment to an insurer that denied a company’s claim for damages that allegedly resulted from Hurricane Harvey, finding that the insured failed to provide any evidence showing that defects in the construction and repair of the building’s roof were not the actual cause for water intrusion .
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a dispute over attorney fees, an insured in a Dec. 23 brief seeks Florida Supreme Court review of a lower appellate court’s decision that the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc. (FIGA) is not responsible under a Florida statute for the fees because it never denied the insured’s hurricane damage claim before the insured pursued litigation.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 20 held that a lower court erred in ruling that the issue of coverage for Hurricane Irma damage must be determined before appraisal, reversing and remanding for the lower court to issue an order compelling appraisal and exercise its discretion regarding whether to allow the appraisal to proceed on the “dual-track approach” that was approved in American Capital Assurance Corp. v. Leeward Bay at Tarpon Bay Condominium Ass'n.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In response to a certified question from an appeals court, the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 21 held that state law does not allow an insured to recover extracontractual, consequential damages in a first-party breach of contract lawsuit over Hurricane Frances property damage, quashed the appeals court’s ruling and remanded for further proceedings.
WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island judge on Jan. 19 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in finding that the policy’s pollution exclusion bars coverage for third-party defendants in a dispute arising from hundreds of gallons of home heating oil that was delivered to the wrong location and caused environmental damage to a dental practice.
SAN ANTONIO — Efforts to exclude an expert who will testify that hail caused substantial damage to roofs of car dealerships failed Jan. 15 when a federal judge in Texas denied the insurance company’s motion to exclude.
LONDON — A majority of the United Kingdom Supreme Court held Jan. 15 that a variety of insurance policy wordings cover policyholders’ business interruption losses resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent public health measures taken by authorities.
MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 13 granted in part an appraiser’s petition for writ of certiorari seeking to quash a trial court's discovery order, quashing the order to the extent that it requires the appraiser to produce personal financial records because they are irrelevant to the Hurricane Irma coverage dispute.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 18 denied in part a motion for partial summary judgment and to strike an insurance company’s affirmative defenses filed by the assignee of an insured who was denied coverage for damages stemming from Hurricane Irma, finding that the insurer provided sufficient evidence to support its defense that defects in repairs to a building’s roof may have been present before the storm.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 10 denied a dental provider insured’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling that the insured failed to allege a “direct physical loss” to trigger coverage for its financial losses as a result of the novel coronavirus closure orders, further finding that it would be futile to allow the insured to amend the complaint.