LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Oct. 14 dismissed an international organization’s counterclaims against its insurers for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims after finding the organizations’ argument that it should be entitled to insurance coverage for properties shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic fails because the properties did not sustain physical damage.
BALTIMORE — An engineering firm insured on Oct. 5 moved for a Maryland federal court to dismiss two commercial general liability insurers’ lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying lawsuits brought by victims of the June 24 partial collapse of a Surfside, Fla., condominium high-rise, arguing that the insurers failed to join necessary and indispensable parties.
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Oct. 5 granted an insured’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of the insured’s claim for hail and windstorm damages because the homeowners insurer will not be prejudiced by the filing of the amended complaint.
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on Oct. 4 held that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial regarding whether an insurer will be subject to bad faith penalties and attorney fees under Louisiana Revised Statutes 22:1892 and 1973, refusing to dismiss the bad faith claims in a coverage dispute over Hurricane Laura damage.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 4 granted a condominium association insured’s motion to stay its breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer pending its completion of disputed post-loss conditions in a Hurricane Irma coverage dispute, finding that granting the stay will streamline the lawsuit toward appraisal and the insurer will not suffer prejudice or undue burden by the stay.
GULFPORT, Miss. — In a text only order issued on Oct. 7, a federal judge in Mississippi granted relators’ emergency motion and ordered State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. to reschedule its Federal Emergency Management Agency depositions after the completion of relevant documents to the relators in their 15-year-old qui tam suit accusing the insurer of filing false flood insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Golden Corral Corp. and Golden Corral Franchising Systems filed a notice in a North Carolina federal court on Oct. 6 indicating that they are appealing the court’s grant of an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of their bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for their financial losses arising from the suspension of their restaurant operations in response to the government orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
CHICAGO — The same day an insured filed a notice of voluntary dismissal, a federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 7 dismissed with prejudice the insured’s breach of contract lawsuit 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.
HOUSTON — An insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit against a homeowners insurer cannot proceed because the insured failed to provide her homeowners insurer with timely notice of her claim for damages allegedly caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, a Texas federal judge said Oct. 1.
LOS ANGELES — A jury in a California federal court on Oct. 4 determined that an 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, awarding Doherty more than $6.3 million, which includes amounts for remediation and living expenses.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an insured’s putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and subsequent civil authority orders, rejecting the insured’s contention 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.”
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a retailer insured’s 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, finding that its interpretation that the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to” insured property requires physical alteration of property is consistent with other policy provisions.
LOS ANGELES — A California judge on Oct. 1 overruled an insurer’s demurrer to an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage under a “Cancellation, Abandonment and Non-Appearance Insurance” policy for the postponement of the last six shows of Metallica’s South American tour in 2020, finding that the insurer “inadequately investigated” the claim and that the complaint adequately alleged that the coronavirus “is not the efficient proximate cause” of the concert cancellations.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit brought against insurers by small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams, finding that the virus exclusion bars business interruption coverage for their losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 22 affirmed a federal court’s ruling that granted a property insurer’s motion to dismiss an Ohio Italian restaurant’s coronavirus coverage lawsuit, finding there is no coverage because the restaurant has not been tangibly destroyed and the owner has not been tangibly or concretely deprived of any of its restaurant.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 17 granted the owner and manager of a residential development’s 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 Harvey damage while they petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review.
ERIE, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 28 granted plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel’s motion for relief from an earlier order requiring unanimous consent of all plaintiffs to file a consolidated amended class action in a coronavirus business interruption coverage lawsuit against Erie Insurance Co., allowing the one hold-out plaintiff to join the class action within 10 days of its filing or alternatively file a notice that it will not join the complaint.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 29 granted a commercial insurer’s petition for permission to appeal a lower federal court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of restaurant insureds in a coronavirus coverage dispute over lost business income, vacating the lower court’s ruling as to the coverage issue alleged in the breach of contract and declaratory judgment claims and remanding for further proceedings.
NEW ORLEANS — Finding that a policy’s flood deductible is ambiguous, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 reversed and remanded a federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of insurers in a general contractor’s bad faith lawsuit arising from flood damage at a hotel renovation.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Sept. 8 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissed Golden Corral Corp. and Golden Corral Franchising Systems’ bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for their financial losses arising from the suspension of their restaurant operations in response to the government orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insureds have not plausibly alleged tangible, physical harm to their covered property or a tangible loss of their covered property.