AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas discovery rule requiring the production of a testifying expert’s materials does not apply to any that properly qualify as privileged, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Feb. 15, chiding a Texas city for “seek[ing] to broaden the scope of expert discovery to include material that is otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege” in a Hurricane Ike insurance coverage dispute (In re Dickinson, No. 17-0020, Texas Sup., 2019 Tex. LEXIS 165).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge on Feb. 15 granted a bank’s motion to dismiss insureds’ negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims in a lawsuit arising from a 2010 Tennessee flood (Michael H. Harris, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., et al., No. 11-00412, M.D. Tenn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25192).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on Feb. 11 granted an excess flood insurer’s motion seeking dismissal of insureds’ attorney fees and costs, consequential damages and punitive damages against in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (Great American Insurance Company of New York v. L. Knife & Son, Inc., No. 157164/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 522).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that an appellant is not entitled to coverage under a maritime comprehensive liability insurance policy or a bumbershoot policy for its negligence liability arising from a maritime collision in the Gulf of Mexico (International Marine, L.L.C., et al. v. Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. 18- 30392, 5th Cir, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4222).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida insureds “should not be rewarded for racing to the courthouse to commence litigation in lieu of participating in appraisal,” an insurer argues to a Florida appeals court in a Hurricane Irma coverage dispute in an effort to allow it to pursue its injunctive relief counterclaim or, in the alternative, specific performance of its right to compel appraisal and its concomitant right to repair (People’s Trust Insurance Company v. Parvin Nowroozpour, et al., No. 4D18-2810, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
MIAMI — A homeowners insurer recently asked a Florida appeals court to reverse a lower court’s ruling in favor of its insured in a Hurricane Wilma dispute, arguing that the lower court erred in compelling appraisal, denying its motion to vacate the appraisal award and granting summary judgment “predicated on an appraisal award that should never have existed” (Gulfstream Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. David Coley, No. 3D18-0476, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).
CINCINNATI — A trial court correctly found that a building owner’s delay in informing its insurer of a rain storm damage claim voided its coverage, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 8, also affirming a finding that documents withheld from discovery by the insurer were prepared in expectation of litigation and, therefore, privileged (South Fifth Towers LLC v. Aspen Insurance UK Ltd., et al., No. 18-5440, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3939).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate on Feb. 6 recommended that an insurer’s motions for leave to amend its answer to include certain counterclaims, to compel and for sanctions be granted and that the insureds’ motion to file a second amended complaint be denied in a coverage dispute following Superstorm Sandy (Robert and Laura Toussie v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 15-5235, E. D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20309).
NAPLES, Fla. — A Collier County, Fla., condominium association on Feb. 8 sued its insurer in a Florida court for breach of contract and sought a declaration as to coverage for its property damage caused by Hurricane Irma, contending that the property remains in an “unfinished and damaged” condition as a result of the insurer’s refusal to provide it full compensation for its damages (Waterford Condominium Association Of Collier County, Inc. v. Empire Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 18-3753, Fla. Cir., Collier Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Jan. 23 denied insureds’ motion for summary judgment in their breach of contract lawsuit against their federal flood insurer, finding that their two proofs of loss for flood damage failed to comply with the requirements of their standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) (William T. Clark, III, et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No 18-4852, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11231).
FRESNO, Calif. — An insured on Feb. 8 filed a notice to dismiss with prejudice his putative class lawsuit against his life insurer a little more than two weeks after a California federal judge granted the insurer's motion to dismiss his claims for unfair business practices and financial elder abuse (Gerald B. Rhinehart v. Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-01391, E.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal magistrate judge on Feb. 7 dismissed claims alleging fraud, misrepresentation and bad faith against an insurer after determining that the insured, seeking coverage for water damages caused by burst pipes, failed to allege sufficient facts in support of the claims (Propitious LLC, et al. v. Badger Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-1405, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19582).
AUSTIN, Texas — An insured recently asked the Texas Supreme Court to determine whether a homeowners insurer’s payment of an appraisal award for hailstorm damage operates as a contractual bar to damages available to him under Texas contract law and the Texas Insurance Code, contending that a policy’s appraisal provision “has morphed into a compelled arbitration provision with no ability to recover costs associated with the process of enforcing a policyholder’s rights” (Oscar Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-1048, Texas Sup.).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands — A Virgin Islands insurance commissioner in a Feb. 6 petition asks a Virgin Islands federal court to appoint him and successors as Real Legacy Assurance Company Inc.’s ancillary receiver (Tregenza A. Roach v. Real Legacy Assurance Company Inc., No. 19-00007, D. Virgin Islands).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana chief federal judge on Jan. 29 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion to dismiss insureds’ claims for attorney fees and expenses in a coverage dispute over property damage caused by Louisiana’s “Great Flood” in August 2016, rejecting the insureds’ argument that they are entitled to attorney fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (Mickey J. Bercegeay, et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 18-524, M.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13646).
CINCINNATI — An Ohio appeals panel on Feb. 6 affirmed a lower court’s finding that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against an underlying public nuisance lawsuit over landslide damage but found the lower court improperly awarded attorney fees for the insured's consultation with a criminal defense firm because the policy specifically barred coverage for damages that are caused by the insured's criminal acts (City of Cincinnati, et al. v. Metropolitan Design & Development, LLC, et al., No. 170708, Ohio App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 389).
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court on Feb. 1 affirmed an appeals court majority’s finding that an insurance policy's "electrical currents" exclusion precludes coverage for damage to equipment caused by arcing at an electrical substation owned by the city of West Liberty, Iowa, finding that coverage is excluded even though a squirrel triggered the arcing in this “story that probably would not have been written by Beatrix Potter” (West Liberty v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, No. 16-1972, Iowa Sup., 2019 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 6).
OROVILLE, Calif. — The Town of Paradise, Calif., sued PG&E Corp. and its subsidiary in a California court on Jan. 24 seeking liability for damages and injuries that the town incurred in the Nov. 8 “Camp Fire,” contending the defendant’s “long history of failing to adequately fund its public safety, vegetation management, and/or infrastructure maintenance programs” has resulted in wildfires, explosions and other devastating events (Town of Paradise v. PG&E Corp., et al., No. 19-00259, Calif. Super., Butte Co.).
KEY WEST, Fla. — A federal judge on Jan. 25 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion to dismiss Florida insureds’ claims for diminished value, consequential damages, attorney fees, costs, loss of use and interest in a Hurricane Irma dispute, finding that the claims are state law damages that are preempted by federal law (Christine Lux v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 19-10002, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13394).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 31 found that a lower federal court erred in vacating arbitrators’ $1,433,008 award for an insured’s corn crop damage, vacating and remanding after concluding the “arbitrators rendered a sufficiently mutual, final, and definite award” (Great American Insurance Company v. Jonathan L. Russell, No. 17-2441, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3140).