LAKELAND, Fla. — An insured asks a Florida appeals court in a March 23 motion to rehear her dispute over attorney fees related to her sinkhole claim with the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA), substituting for an insolvent insurer, because the court misapprehended a 2016 decision by the Florida Supreme Court (Phylis Heid v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 2D18-737, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
LAKELAND, Fla. — Citing a recent decision, a Florida appeals panel on March 25 reversed an attorney fees award in favor of insureds and against Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) in a sinkhole claim dispute involving an insolvent insurer (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Jose Valdez, et al., No. 2D18-3789, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 3844).
LAS VEGAS — Small businesses in Nevada and Illinois on March 23 filed a class action lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China and its various government entities, alleging that they engaged in a cover-up of the novel coronavirus pandemic that caused and will continue to cause class members to suffer reduced revenues and profits and/or the closure of many small businesses throughout the United States (Bella Vista LLC, et al v. The People’s Republic of China, et al., No. 20-00574, D. Nev.).
CINCINNATI — Citing its decision last week in Perry v. Allstate Indem. Co., -- F.3d --, (6th Cir. Mar. 18, 2020), the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held on March 23 that an Ohio insurer may not deduct the costs of labor depreciations because its actual cash value insurance policy did not expressly provide for labor-cost depreciation deductions, reversing and remanding a lower court’s ruling that dismissed an insured’s class complaint (Charles Cranfield v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, No. 19-3004, 6th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on March 4 dismissed with prejudice insureds’ claims alleging that their homeowners insurer’s undervaluation of insurance policy values was negligent, fraudulent and the product of a conspiracy with the developers of two software programs that were used to determine their initial insurance policy value and the cost to rebuild or repair their property following wildfire damage (Brian Sheahan, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-cv-06186, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37590).
NEW ORLEANS — A French Quarter restaurant on March 16 sued its insurer, the state of Louisiana and the governor in a Louisiana court, seeking a declaration that its “all risk” insurance policy “extends coverage from direct physical loss and/or from a civil authority shut-down due to a global pandemic virus” and provides business income coverage if the coronavirus contaminates its restaurant (Cajun Conti LLC, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, et al., No. 20-02558, La. Civ. Dist., Orleans Parish).
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on March 13 held that a lower court “departed from the essential requirements of the law” when it ordered a homeowners insurer to produce its investigator’s photographs that were taken during a home inspection related to the insureds’ hurricane water damage claim, quashing the portion of the lower court’s order related to the production of the photographs and remanding with instructions to allow the insurer to file a privilege log within a reasonable time (Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Lee Jones, et al., No. 2D19-243, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 3361).
FLORENCE, S.C. — No coverage is owed under a business interruption insurance policy for losses incurred as a result of a civil authority evacuation order issued prior to Hurricane Florence because the civil authority order was not issued because of damage or destruction of an adjacent property as required by the policy, a South Carolina federal judge said Feb. 24 (Kelaher, Connell & Conner P.C., v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 19-693, D. S.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31081).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court refused to review an appeals court majority’s finding that reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling awarding summary judgment in favor of a school district insured as to causation and property damage based solely on a $10.8 million appraisal award in a Hurricane Ike coverage dispute, according to its March 13 orders pronounced (Dickinson Independent School District v. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, No. 18-1092, Texas Sup.).
WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island judge on March 11 granted summary judgment as to an insured’s breach of contract claim against its insurer, finding that coverage is not barred by a pollution exclusion, but denied summary judgment as to its bad faith claim because questions of fact remain (Dutchman Dental LLC v. The Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. KC-2016-1281, R.I. Super., Kent Co., 2020 R.I. Super. LEXIS 23).
LAKELAND, Fla. — An insured is not entitled to attorney fees and costs connected to testing for sinkhole loss in her lawsuit with the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA), substituting for an insolvent insurer, a Florida appeals panel ruled March 6, noting that a trial court misconstrued the panel’s previous ruling in a similar case (Phylis Heid v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 2D18-737, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 2858).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 12 adopted a magistrate’s memorandum and recommendation to dismiss without prejudice the insureds’ Hurricane Harvey lawsuit against their federal flood insurer for want of prosecution (Cabot-Chase LTD, et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Services, LLC, et al., No. 19-258, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25784).
BEAUMONT, Texas — Adopting a magistrate’s report and recommendation that a federal flood insurer has met its burden in establishing that insureds did not comply with the Standard Flood Insurance Policy’s proof-of-loss condition precedent to filing a breach of contract lawsuit over Hurricane Harvey damage, a federal judge in Texas on Feb. 28 entered a judgment that insureds take nothing against the insurer (Eric Blue, et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-499, E.D. Texas).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Insurers recently asked the Delaware Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s $33 million final judgment against them for an insured’s claim for additional business interruption coverage, arguing that a lower court erred in permitting the insured to present damages that were not allowed by the policy and offer expert testimony that was “wildly unreliable” (XL Insurance America, Inc., et al. v. Noranda Aluminum Holding Company, No. 444,2019, Del. Sup.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A senior federal judge in New York on March 5 entered final judgment in favor of an insurer on an insured’s claims for breach of contract and vicarious liability for an insurance agency's negligence in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, finding that the insurer “did everything it was required to do with respect to providing renewal notice” of the standard flood insurance policy (Robert Toussie v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-2705, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38691).
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on March 4 that insureds have not demonstrated that their Write-Your-Own insurer owes any additional payment for their flood damage caused by Hurricane Irma, entering final judgment in favor of the insurer (Henry Yaniz, Jr., et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-10273, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38876).
BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on March 5 found that a hotel’s damage caused by a windstorm, excluding the damage to its defective roof, is an ensuing loss under an insurance policy and, therefore, an insurer owes coverage for the hotel’s water damage and loss of business income (Bethany Boardwalk Group LLC v. Everest Security Insurance Company, No. 18-3918, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38427).
SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge in Texas on March 2 ruled that an insured failed to show that his homeowners insurer acted unreasonably in denying his claim for damages to his clay tile roof from alleged hail and wind damage because the undisputed evidence shows that the insurer sufficiently inspected the damage prior to denying the claim (Jorge A. Alvarez v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 18-1191, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35921).
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 20 entered a judgment voluntarily dismissing without prejudice insureds’ Hurricane Michael federal flood coverage dispute, one day after noting that the insureds plan to refile after submitting their proof of loss and choosing, as a matter of discretion, not to award court costs to the insurer (Joe Morales, et al. v. American Strategic Insurance Corp., No. 19-254, N.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27918).
MIAMI — One day after a federal judge in Florida granted a commercial insurer’s motion for leave to amend its answer and affirmative defenses in a breach of contract lawsuit, the insurer on Feb. 11 filed the amended answer, alleging that the insured breached the policy’s “Concealment, Misrepresentation or Fraud” provision when it claimed Hurricane Irma damages of “approximately $30,000,000 despite knowledge that necessary repairs could be completed for significantly less” (Southpoint Condominium Association, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Company, No. 19-61365, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23247).