HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 20 conditionally granted a homeowners insurer’s petition for writ of mandamus and directed a lower court to vacate its ruling denying the insurer’s motion to compel appraisal in a Hurricane Harvey coverage dispute (In Re QBE Specialty Insurance Company, No. 01-19-00164, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 8275).
EASTLAND, Texas — A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 16 affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a commercial business insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from hailstorm damage, finding that the insurer's payment of the insured’s roof damage claim does not excuse the insured from segregating covered from noncovered losses (Prime Time Family Entertainment Center, Inc. v. Axis Insurance Company, et al., No. 11-18-00241, Texas App., 11th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 8216).
TULSA, Okla. — An insured’s suit seeking coverage for storm-related damages and alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith against two insurers must be remanded to Oklahoma state court because diversity of citizenship does not exist, an Oklahoma federal judge said Oct. 16 (Regent Preparatory School of Oklahoma v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al., No. 20-0512, N.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192073).
NEWARK, N.J. — The owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton on Oct. 12 sued their all-risk commercial business insurer in a federal court in New Jersey for breach of contract and reformation, alleging that physical loss and damage caused by the novel coronavirus “directly led” to their subsequent $40,798,390 in economic damages (Manhattan Partners LLC, et al. v. American Guaranty and Liability Insurance Company, No. 20-cv-14342, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK — An insured real estate development company contends in an Oct. 9 complaint filed in New York federal court that its environmental insurer breached its contract by denying coverage for losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and state shutdown orders because the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, constitutes a pollutant under the policy (JEMB Realty Corp. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 20-8537, S.D.N.Y.).
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 9 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor an insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith suit stemming from a wildfire damage claim after determining that the insureds failed to present a genuine dispute of material fact regarding the alleged physical damage to their home (Jensen Shirley, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 19-56066, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32069).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Oct. 8 granted an insurer’s motion for a protective order and denied without prejudice the insured’s motions for partial summary judgment and to compel certain discovery in a coverage dispute over the insured’s tobacco product losses caused by Hurricane Matthew (U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, No. 19-430, E.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186908).
SAN ANTONIO — A magistrate on Oct. 7 issued a report recommending that a Texas federal court grant a dental office insured’s motion to remand its coronavirus coverage lawsuit to Texas court, finding that the insured has properly stated a claim against one of the defendants for her conduct as an individual insurance adjuster (Louis G. Orsatti, DDS, P.C v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-00840, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185935).
DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 7 granted an “all risk” commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss its restaurant insured’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for its losses arising from the novel coronavirus, allowing the insured to replead (Vandelay Hospitality Group LP v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-01348, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185581).
MIAMI — A theater operator voluntarily dismissed a French reinsurance company on Oct. 5 from its proposed class action in a Florida federal court for pandemic loss more than a month after the reinsurer sought dismissal on the basis that it was not a party to the all-risk insurance policy at issue (Actors Playhouse Productions, Inc. v. SCOR SE, et al., No. 20-22981, S.D. Fla.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware insureds on Sept. 22 asked the state's highest court to reverse a lower court's ruling that granted a homeowners insurer's motion for summary judgment, arguing that coverage exists for a pedestrian bridge and wall that was damaged during a rainstorm (Eric Monzo, et al. v. Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 199,2020, Del. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Oct. 2 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss a restaurant's coronavirus coverage lawsuit, finding that the insured failed to plausibly assert that it incurred a "physical loss of or damage to" its restaurant and that the policy's virus exclusion further bars all coverage (Mark's Engine Company No. 28 Restaurant, LLC v. The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, et al., No. 20-04423, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Oct. 2 created only one insurer-specific multidistrict litigation to centralize lawsuits seeking business interruption coverage for losses arising from governmental closure orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and refused to create specific MDLs against four other insurers (In re: Society Insurance Company COVID-19 Business Interruption Protection Insurance Litigation, No. 2964, JPMDL).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Oct. 2 granted parties' request for the creation of defendant-specific MDLs against two insurers in lawsuits seeking coverage for passes for ski resorts that were prematurely closed due to the novel coronavirus, finding that the suits "involve common questions of fact" and that centralization against one insurer in the U.S. Western District of Missouri and the other insurer in the U.S. Northern District of California "will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation" (In Re: National Ski Pass Insurance Litigation, No. 2955, JPMDL).
SAN FRANCISCO — The franchisee of Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California and its parent and affiliated companies on Sept. 29 sued an insurer in a California federal court, alleging that an all-risk insurance policy unambiguously provides coverage for its "direct and/or imminent physical loss" and property damage related to the novel coronavirus (Out West Restaurant Group Inc., et al. v. Affiliated FM Insurance Company, No. 20-06786, N.D. Calif.).
BOSTON — A federal chief judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 30 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment as to an insured's breach of contract claim in a lawsuit seeking coverage for its lost energy-generating income during a mandated shutdown of its solar panels but granted the insurer's motion as to the bad faith and unfair business practices claims (NextSun Energy Littleton, LLC v. Acadia Insurance Company, No. 18-11180, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179965).
CHICAGO — An Illinois panel on Sept. 30 found that a lower court should have denied an all-risk insurer's motion for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) in the insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for property loss to the floor of one of its freezer rooms, reversing and remanding for the lower court to reinstate a $544,366 jury verdict in favor of the insured (4220 Kildare, LLC v. Regent Insurance Company, No. 1-18-1840, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 3rd Div., 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 683).
LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Sept. 30 reversed an insured's attorney fees award because a lower court's application of the confession of judgment doctrine ignored the limitations on Florida Insurance Guaranty Association's (FIGA) obligations for the insured's pursuit of a sinkhole claim not covered by a policy (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Yanicet Reyes, No. 2D19-2173, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2020 Fla. App. LEXIS 13696).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Sept. 29 held that an insured has not been made whole for the actual cash value of her roundtrip flight to Miami from where her cruise was scheduled to depart before it was canceled due to the novel coronavirus, partially denying a travel insurer's motion to dismiss her putative class action lawsuit in finding that the policy "requires full reimbursement in the event of a trip cancellation occasioned by illness or quarantine, either of which plausibly applies" (Christine V. Dowding v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, No. 20-4118, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179207).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 16 granted a motion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to dismiss Ocean County insureds' breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking to enforce a $56,000 settlement agreement over Superstorm Sandy property damage, finding that the federal court lacks jurisdiction because FEMA is immune from the lawsuit (Joseph Flammia, et al. v. National Flood Insurance Program, No. 18-13474, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170471).