SAN FRANCISCO — A Georgia couple and a company that own homes in Florida filed a class action in federal court in California on Dec. 2 against the maker of hurricane straps that were attached to their homes, alleging that the straps are defective because they prematurely corrode and do not protect homes against damages caused by hurricane-force winds (Cary W. Cooper, et al. v. Simpson Strong-Tie Co. Inc., et al., No. 19-cv-7901, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — A New York appeals court on Dec. 5 unanimously reversed a lower court’s dismissal of an insured’s bad faith counterclaim in its insurers’ lawsuit seeking a declaration that the insured’s business interruption loss arising from a fire that destroyed its manufacturing plant is limited to $15.1 million (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al. v Bioenergy Development Group LLC, et al., No. 10505 655792/17, N.Y. Sup., App., Div. 1st Dept.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An insurer on Dec. 10 asked a federal court in Florida to dismiss its insureds’ amended breach of contract complaint arising from Hurricane Irma damage to their St. Augustine, Fla., residential property, arguing that the express language of the lender-placed insurance policy unambiguously bars the plaintiffs from bringing the breach of contract claim as either named insureds or intended third-party beneficiaries to the policy (Jeffrey G. Meyer, et al. v. Integon National Insurance Company, No. 19-1397, M.D. Fla.).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on Dec. 10 allowed an expert to testify in an insurance coverage dispute about what caused damage to a roof, finding the expert’s reasoning and methods “sufficient” under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Employers Mutual Casualty Company v. SportChassis Holdings, Inc., No. 5:18-cv-766, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212589).
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 26 reversed the portion of a lower court’s judgment awarding treble damages for an insurer’s “knowing violations of the Texas Insurance Code” and interest related to the award in a lawsuit arising from Hurricane Rita damage to the insured’s wells and pipelines, further reversing the part of the judgment that awarded Texas Insurance Code Prompt Payment damages on a December 2007 partial payment made by the insurer and related prejudgment interest (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al. v. Prime Natural Resources, Inc., No. 01-17-00881, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10275).
MIAMI — An insured and a federal flood insurer on Dec. 3 filed a joint stipulation of voluntary dismissal with prejudice of a Hurricane Irma coverage dispute in a federal court in Florida after the parties filed a notice last month that a settlement has been reached (Guy Attia v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 18-24065, S.D. Fla.).
AUSTIN, Texas — A school district tells the Texas Supreme Court in an Oct. 30 merits brief that an appeals court majority erred when vacating a trial court judge’s rulings awarding summary judgment to it regarding causation and property damage based on an appraisal of wind damage caused by Hurricane Ike, arguing that its insurer did not challenge the findings of the appraisal before trial and that the appraisal specifically said the damages were the result of wind from the hurricane (Dickinson Independent School District v. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, No. 18-1092, Texas Sup.).
LAS VEGAS — A homeowners insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in handling an insured’s claim for roof damage and water and mold damages because the insurer promptly investigated the claim and timely paid the insured for the repairs to the home, a Nevada federal judge said Nov. 25 (Patricia Lombardo v. Property & Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, No. 17-2242, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205352).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 19 denied an insured’s motion to compel appraisal of its property damage caused by Hurricane Irma, finding that the insured waived its right to compel appraisal by acting in a manner that is “inconsistent with its appraisal rights” (Tamiami Condominium Warehouse Plaza Association, Inc. v. Markel American Insurance Company, No. 19-21289, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200255).
MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 13 vacated and remanded a lower court's finding that an insured perpetrated a fraud on the court by providing materially false information in her affidavit in a water damage coverage dispute, noting that this is a “teaching point and a caution that a client's personal knowledge, however imperfect, is not to be gilded, excessively bolstered, or embellished by her counsel in the hope of improving a case” (Irma Perez v. Safepoint Insurance Company, No. 3D18-1588, Fla., App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 17010).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 19 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a property damage coverage dispute, noting that liability under Massachusetts Chapter 176D is “not imposed for mere negligence” and the insureds “simply failed to produce evidence in support of its assertions” (River Farm Realty Trust, et al. v. Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, No. 19-1188, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34360).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on Nov. 18 denied an insured’s motion to remand a breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that complete diversity exists because the insured’s claims against the nondiverse defendant cannot be maintained (Srikant Jonnada v. Liberty Insurance Corp., et al., No. 19-456, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199645).
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that a hotel insured’s failure to file a signed and sworn proof of loss defeats its claim for flood damage (Surfsand Resort LLC v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-35607, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 34258).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on Nov. 18 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a $100 million flood sublimit does not apply to an insured'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 (New Jersey Transit Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al., Nos. A-1026-17T1 and A-1027-17T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2019 N.J. Super. LEXIS 163).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on Nov. 14 affirmed and adopted a magistrate’s denial of an insurer’s motion to amend its answer in a Hurricane Irma coverage suit, finding that the insured’s failure to refer back to its answer during the litigation and discover the error demonstrates a lack of diligence (Aligned Bayshore Holdings v. Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company, No. 18-21692, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197164).
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of insurers in a coverage dispute over an underlying $3.5 million arbitration award arising from property damage that occurred on 11,000 acres of forest lands (Campbell Global LLC, et al. v. American States Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-35337, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33852).
LOS ANGELES — A law firm representing 23 public entities on Nov. 13 issued a press release announcing that a $360 million settlement in principle has been reached with Southern California Edison for taxpayer losses arising from the 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein Fires and 2018’s Montecito Debris Flows and Woolsey Fire.
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on Nov. 8 announced that parties indicated that a settlement has been reached with the last remaining defendant in an insured’s lawsuit alleging that his flood damage was exacerbated by nearby street repairs (Matthew Spector v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-8806, E.D. La.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Partly granting an insurer’s motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Florida on Nov. 8 held that a bad faith claim against an insurer in a Hurricane Irma coverage dispute is premature but allowed the claim for declaratory relief to proceed (Massey Construction Group, Inc. v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, No. 19-708, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194620).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Reinsurers on Nov. 8 joined an opposition brief arguing to a Puerto Rico federal court that an insurer’s liquidator can be bound to arbitration clauses in the insurer’s reinsurance agreements in a dispute over $150 million in losses from two hurricanes (Integrand Assurance Co. v. Everest Reinsurance Co., et al., No. 19-01111, D. Puerto Rico).