CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on March 31 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss without prejudice a hospitality support agency’s putative class action alleging the insurer wrongfully denied coverage for its losses caused by the government-ordered shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, finding that no coverage exists under the policy’s business income, extra expense and civil authority provisions.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 31 denied cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings by a commercial property insurer and commercial landlord insured in a coronavirus coverage suit, finding that judgment on the pleadings as to the policy’s “contamination” and “loss of market or loss of use” exclusions is inappropriate at this stage.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 30 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a consolidated class action complaint seeking coverage for passes for ski resorts that were prematurely closed due to the coronavirus, allowing the multidistrict litigation insureds to file an amended complaint no later than April 12.
GULFPORT, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi on March 26 denied in part State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s motion to dismiss certain claims in relators’ second amended complaint in their 15-year-old qui tam suit accusing the insurer of filing false flood insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina, finding that the relators have plausibly and sufficiently asserted express and implied false certification claims.
LAKE CHARLES, La. — An insurer breached the terms of a homeowners insurance policy and acted in bad faith in failing to properly conduct necessary property inspections and pay coverage for hurricane damage losses sustained to an insured’s home, the insured alleges in a March 26 complaint filed in Louisiana federal court.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — An insured filed a class action lawsuit in a federal court in California on March 25 for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, frustration of purpose and violations of California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws, alleging that although “many companies, industries, and individuals have suffered financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, auto insurers like GEICO have scored a windfall.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 29 denied a Florida insured’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of whether construction dust and debris constitutes “direct physical loss” to its restaurant to trigger coverage under an “all-risk” insurance policy and whether a court erred in excluding three of its causation experts under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its progeny.
ATLANTA — The owner of a Florida restaurant on March 25 filed a notice of appeal in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of a Florida federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
CHICAGO — An insured on March 23 sued two of its insurers for breach of contract in a federal court in Illinois, seeking event cancellation coverage for its alleged several million dollars in losses arising out of its “necessary and unavoidable cancellation” of the May 2020 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago due to circumstances that were created by the coronavirus pandemic.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Affirming a lower court’s ruling in favor of a homeowners insurer, a Florida panel on March 24 found that there were no issues of material fact as to an insured’s claim for Hurricane Irma damage and there is no ambiguity in the policy regarding the insured’s plumbing leak claim.
WINCHESTER, Tenn. — A federal magistrate judge in Tennessee on March 16 granted a joint motion for a protective order filed by a homeowners insurer and insureds, defining what constitutes confidential information in the insureds’ breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from their tornado property damage.
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on March 19 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a coronavirus coverage dispute, finding that a franchisee of Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California and its parent and affiliated companies have failed to plausibly allege “direct physical loss of or damage to” their property to trigger coverage under the policy.
PASADENA, Calif. — An insured in a Feb. 25 brief asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and the subsequent civil authority orders, arguing that pursuant to California’s rules of policy interpretation, the lower court had a duty to adopt the insured’s reasonable interpretation of the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to property."
AUSTIN, Texas — A majority of the Texas Supreme Court on March 19 reversed a lower court’s ruling in favor of a homeowners insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from hailstorm damage, finding that the insurer was not entitled to summary judgment because it did not pay the amount that “must be paid” on the insured’s claim before the statutory deadline.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 18 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a hospital insured’s class action lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief as to coverage for its losses caused by the coronavirus and the subsequent governmental orders, finding that the insured failed to establish an initial right to coverage and the policy’s virus exclusion further bars recovery.
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on March 17 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton, finding that the insureds’ “general statements that the COVID-19 virus was on surfaces and in the air at their properties is insufficient to show property loss or damage.”
NEW YORK — Two commercial property insurers on March 11 asked a New York federal court to dismiss Northwell Health Inc.’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking $1.25 billion in coverage for its property and business interruption losses and decontamination costs arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the purported presence of the COVID-19 virus in the insured’s facilities did not cause any physical damage to its property and did not cause it to treat a less profitable mix of patients (Northwell Health, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Company, et al., No. 21-01104, S.D. N.Y.).
ATLANTA — An insurer in a March 12 response asks the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reject an insured’s motion to consolidate its appeal of a lower court’s dismissal of its lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic with two related appeals for oral argument, contending that “consolidation would prejudice the parties by risking confusion of the unique and complex factual and legal issues in each case.”
LAKE CHARLES, La. — Insured Sonya Breda on March 13 filed one of 18 lawsuits seeking coverage for damage caused by hurricanes Laura and Delta in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, arguing that the insurer failed to timely and reasonably adjust her loss and respond to her satisfactory proof of loss.
SEATTLE — The owner and operator of the Space Needle in Seattle on March 12 sued its insurer for breach of a contract and declaratory judgment in a federal court in Washington, seeking to recoup the “millions of dollars in revenues” it lost when its busines was interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic.