CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 5 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of 17 private preschool insureds’ breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against their insurer, finding that they did not plausibly allege that there was an “actual illness” from COVID-19 at their insured facilities and never plausibly pleaded that Ohio’s shutdown order was “due directly” to anything that happened at their covered premises.
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Nov. 2 dismissed claims for unfair settlement practices, negligent misrepresentation, quasi-estoppel and punitive damages against an all-risk insurer after determining that the insured, seeking coverage for mold and other property damages caused by Hurricane Harvey, failed to show that the insurer misrepresented any facts or acted unfairly or in bad faith in handling the claim.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on Nov. 5 found that a lower court abused its discretion by not making findings and offering “a bare explanation” when it granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a snowstorm coverage lawsuit with prejudice for the insured’s failure to provide discovery pursuant to New Jersey Court Rule 4:23-5, vacating the dismissal order and reinstating the insured’s complaint.
MIAMI — A Florida judge on Nov. 4 allowed insurers to refund the entire $175,000 premium of a commercial property insurance policy for the benefit of the victims of the Surfside, Fla., condominium collapse, discharging insurers of and from all obligations under the insurance policy.
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 27 reversed a lower court’s order staying a breach of contract lawsuit against an insurer and compelling appraisal of a condominium association insured’s supplemental claim for damage caused by Hurricane Irma, finding that the directive was premature.
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 1 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a countercomplaint brought by the owner and operator of a network of nearly 80 restaurants throughout the country in a coronavirus coverage lawsuit, finding that the countercomplaint fails to state a claim for declaratory relief because there is no “actual controversy” as to the interpretation of “direct physical loss” pursuant to Georgia law.
SAN FRANCISCO — A retailer insured on Oct. 29 filed a petition for a rehearing en banc of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling earlier in the month that affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of its class complaint seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the recurring question of whether “physical loss or damage” includes the loss of use or function of property that is not structurally altered or damaged is of exceptional importance to California businesses “never more so than now.”
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 20 denied an insured’s motion to remand its suit against a commercial property insurer and an environmental liability insurer because the insured failed to show that there are any novel or unsettled issues of state law regarding its suit seeking a declaration that the insurers owe coverage for losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal court in Missouri on Oct. 28 entered judgment in favor of a commercial property insurer the same day a jury found in the insurer’s favor in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the owner of several Kansas City restaurants and bars that were forced to close or reduce their operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals court panel on Oct 15 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from the Boles wildfire, finding that the evidence does not create a triable issue of material fact regarding whether the policy entitled the insured to more than she actually spent to build her replacement house.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Seven months after dismissing an insurer’s motion to dismiss a consolidated class complaint seeking coverage for passes for ski resorts that were prematurely closed due to the coronavirus, a federal judge in California on Oct. 28 dismissed with prejudice a second amended class complaint filed by the multidistrict litigation insureds and found that the insureds’ expansive definition of “quarantined” is “patently unreasonable.”
LOS ANGELES — State Farm General Insurance Co. on Oct. 25 moved for a new trial or remittitur after a jury in a California federal court determined earlier this month that the insurer breached its homeowners’ insurance policy with actress Shannen Doherty and further breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in its handling of her Woolsey Fire claim and awarded Doherty more than $6.3 million, which includes amounts for remediation and living expenses.
SEATTLE— A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 7 denied a hotel owner’s motion to amend the judge’s prior judgment dismissing its lawsuit challenging an insurer’s denial of coverage for COVID-19-related losses, finding that even if the hotel owner’s scientific evidence that the coronavirus was airborne was “newly discovered evidence,” the claim would fail because the hotel owner could not show that the coronavirus causes lasting damage to property.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals panel on Oct. 18 held that a breach of contract complaint against an insurer fails to assert facts that are sufficient to establish the plaintiff’s standing to seek enforcement of any obligation arising from the insurance policy, affirming a lower court’s ruling in favor of the insurer in a lawsuit arising from fire and flood damage to a women’s retail clothing and accessory store.
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana appeals court on Oct. 20 affirmed a lower court’s judgment sustaining a general liability insurer’s exception of prescription in an insured’s lawsuit seeking $18,755 to replace the roof of its commercial office building that was allegedly damaged by wind and hail, finding that a previous action filed against the insurer could not have interrupted prescription from running against the present lawsuit.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 18 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an insured’s lawsuit arising from windstorm damage caused by Hurricane Irma, finding that the insured failed to state plausible claims for relief as to his specific performance, declaratory judgment and breach of contract claims.
BERGEN, N.J. — A New Jersey judge on Oct. 18 granted a health care property insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit brought by its health care provider insureds, finding that the insureds failed to satisfy their burden of demonstrating that there was a direct physical loss or damage to their property, and that the policy’s contamination exclusion bars all coverage.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After initially accepting jurisdiction to review whether a fiduciary can be a disinterested appraiser as a matter of law, the Florida Supreme Court on Oct. 18 decided to discharge jurisdiction of an appraisal dispute over Hurricane Irma damage.
SAN FRANCISCO — Small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams on Oct. 15 filed a petition seeking a panel rehearing or rehearing en banc of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ Oct. 1 ruling that affirmed a federal court’s dismissal of their breach of contract and declaratory judgment coronavirus coverage lawsuit brought against insurers, arguing that the panel “misapplied or overlooked key issues of fact and law regarding the doctrines of efficient proximate causation and regulatory estoppel.”
SAN FRANCISCO — In an Oct. 15 petition for panel rehearing of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ Oct. 1 ruling that affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of its putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and subsequent civil authority orders, the insured argued that the panel failed to answer “whether the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes ‘direct physical loss of or damage to property’ as that phrase is commonly used in all-risk property insurance policies.”