CHARLESTON, S.C. — A homeowners insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying an insured’s claim for water damage sustained in his home following a tropical storm because the policy’s exclusion for surface or flood water clearly bars coverage, a South Carolina federal judge said Aug. 8 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
MIAMI — In separate Aug. 10 filings in a Florida court, the class plaintiffs in the largely settled case over the June 2021 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South (CTS) condominium building in Surfside, Fla., filed a class notice that will inform members of an additional $53 million obtained in settlement funds and the receiver moved to strike claims by individuals believed to have no connection to the collapse.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California judge on Aug. 8 held that the National Hockey League (NHL) and 19 league clubs stated a claim based on their insurance policies’ communicable disease coverage, overruling an insurer’s demurrer to the insureds’ second amended complaint seeking coverage for their losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Restaurant insureds on Aug. 8 filed a petition asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s July 5 reversal of a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in their favor in a coronavirus coverage dispute, challenging the appeals court’s finding that governmental orders that temporarily restricted the scope of the insureds’ restaurant operations did not constitute direct physical loss or property damage to trigger coverage under their “all-risk” insurance policies.
RICHMOND, Va. — Finding “no reversible error,” the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of 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.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Aug. 10 held that the presence of COVID-19 and the subsequent government orders prohibiting indoor dining do not fall under a commercial property insurance policy’s “direct physical loss or damage” language to trigger coverage, answering “no” to a question certified from a federal district court.
SHERMAN, Texas — The dismissal of an insured’s common-law bad faith claim does not warrant the dismissal of the insured’s claim for violations of the Texas Insurance Code because the insured did not concede that the insurer never acted in bad faith in handling the insured’s storm damage claim, a Texas federal judge said Aug. 5 in partially denying the property insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on July 22 dismissed without prejudice a senior claims specialist from an insured’s coverage lawsuit over its wind and hail damage and granted in part and denied in part the insurer’s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings, allowing two claims for violations of Texas Insurance Code to proceed.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Granting a write-your-own insurer’s motion for summary judgment as to an insured’s claim that it breached a standard flood insurance policy, a federal judge in Florida on Aug. 8 held that the insured failed to strictly comply with the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) requirement to return a signed and sworn proof of loss of its flood damage within 60 days.
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 5 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss insureds’ extracontractual claims in a storm damage coverage dispute after determining that the insureds failed to provide any facts to support the claims.
NEW ORLEANS — A majority of a Louisiana appeals court on Aug. 8 refused to disturb its June 15 finding that an insurance policy is ambiguous and capable of more than one reasonable interpretation as to coverage for a French Quarter restaurant insured’s lost business income arising from the coronavirus pandemic, standing by its reversal of a lower court’s judgment against the insured and its holding that coverage exists for the insured’s loss or damage caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to” its premises as a result of COVID-19 contamination.
BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Aug. 5 extended the stay of 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 after the insurers reported that they “have been working diligently to finalize formal settlement documentation” and anticipate being able to file a notice of dismissal within 10 days.
MIAMI — A majority of a Florida appeals court panel on Aug. 3 affirmed dismissal of a wedding designer company insured’s lawsuit seeking commercial property insurance coverage for its loss of business income caused by the suspension of its operations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the recent case Commodore, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London is “indistinguishable” from the present case.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 affirmed a federal court’s ruling that no coverage is owed to insured restaurant owners for business losses incurred as a result of the governmental shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the restaurants did not sustain a direct physical loss to their properties, affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit seeking coverage and penalties for the insurers’ alleged bad faith denial of their coverage claim.
MIAMI — A Florida judge overseeing the more than $1 billion class settlement in the consolidated complaint over the June 2021 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South (CTS) condominium building in Surfside, Fla., issued a sua sponte order on Aug. 3 permitting attorneys helping class members present damage claims to apply to the court for attorney fees and costs but reminded the attorneys that no fees or costs may be requested from class members.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 28 dismissed a hotel operator insured’s appeal challenging a lower federal court’s denial of its post-trial motions and motion for a mistrial in an insurance dispute stemming from the insured’s alleged filing of a fraudulent Hurricane Irma commercial property damage claim, finding that it lacks jurisdiction.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A homeowners insurer did not breach its contract and act in bad faith in canceling an insured’s policy because the insurer was within its rights to cancel the policy based on the insured’s representation, whether true or not, that the rental property at issue was vacant, a Tennessee federal judge said July 19 in determining that the insurer owes no coverage for damages sustained to the rental property by a tornado.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A district court properly found that no coverage is owed to insureds for business interruption losses sustained as a result of the coronavirus because the virus does not qualify as a pollution condition under the premises pollution liability policy, the insurer maintains in a July 27 appellee brief filed in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 reversed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurance policy’s “ordinance or law” endorsement did not apply, finding that the endorsement covers the costs of replacing the roof on the insured’s shopping mall that was damaged by a tornado.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island justice on July 27 granted defendant insurers’ motion to stay their insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for their losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic pending resolution of a related New York action filed by an insurer, finding that New York is the proper venue to hear the instant matter.