LAKELAND, Fla. — A majority of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 reversed a lower court’s $493,246.50 attorney fees award against an insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute and remanded for further proceedings (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Meghan Anderson, No. 2D16-616, Fla. App., 2nd Dist. 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2245).
ATLANTA — Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment to the insurers (Mid-Continent Casualty Co., et al. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 17-12660, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3538).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — After dismissing all claims based on a “collapse” from faulty concrete against one homeowners insurer for not occurring during its policy period, a Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 13 dismissed all but a breach of contract claim against another insurer because a reasonable jury could find that the insurer breached its policy (Shawn M. Kowalyshyn, et al. v. Excelsior Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-00148, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22981).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify an insured subcontractor against a contractor’s claims of negligent installation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Feb. 9 (J.J.D. Urethane Co. v. Westfield Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 1440 EDA 2017 & 1554 EDA 2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 396).
DENVER — A majority of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Feb. 13 that a lower federal court erred in finding that a subcontractor's faulty workmanship that caused damage to an insured's own work can never be an "occurrence,” reversing and remanding (Black & Veatch Corporation v. Aspen Insurance [UK] Ltd, et al., No. 16-3359 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3342).
MIAMI — An insurance company has no duty to defend a general contractor accused in an underlying suit of construction defects, a federal judge in Florida ruled Feb. 7, holding that the “your work” exclusion to the policy warrants a denial of coverage (Mid-Continent Casualty Company v. JWN Construction Inc., et al., No. 17-CV-80286, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20529).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A general contractor on Jan. 18 sued two insurers in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, alleging that they have a duty to defend it in numerous lawsuits filed by property owners, who assert claims related to defective installation of stucco at their properties (KB Home Orlando LLC v. Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 6:18-CV-00111, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI — Finding that “collapse” is not defined in an “all-risk” insurance policy, a Florida federal magistrate judge on Feb. 5 held that an insurer is obligated to cover sagging and falling down ceilings at a condominium complex (Key Biscayne Ambassador Condominium Association Inc. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-24564, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19440).
MISSOULA, Mont. — The efficient proximate cause of homeowners’ loss was repeated seepage or leakage of water over an extended period of time, which is an excluded peril under a homeowners insurance policy, a Montana federal judge ruled Feb. 5 (Tafford and LaRayne Oltz v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 16-124, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18743).
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A commercial general liability insurer filed a complaint on Jan. 19 in a Florida federal court, seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured contractor against homeowners’ construction defects case (Southern-Owners Insurance Co. v. Sanborn Builders Inc., et al., No. 18-00145, N.D. Fla.).
SEATTLE — An insurer’s denial of defense, unsupported by evidence from a complaint against an insured, was a breach of its duty to defend, a Washington federal judge ruled Feb. 5, also finding that the insurer acted in bad faith despite its “later change of heart” (2FL Enterprises LLC v. Houston Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-676, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18605).
PHILADELPHIA — Homeowners did not allege “property damage” or an “occurrence” to trigger an insurer’s duty to defend claims arising out of the sale of a home, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Jan. 31, granting summary judgment to the insurer on its declaratory judgment claim and an insured’s breach of contract claim (Merle Foglia v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-1216, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15553).
PHILADELPHIA — A company that improperly installed a fire prevention system cannot obtain coverage from its insurer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 31, holding that the defendant’s faulty workmanship was not an occurrence that triggered the insurer’s duty to defend (Atain Insurance Company v. East Coast Business Fire Inc., No. 17-2545, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15535).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a commercial general liability insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the contamination of landscaping materials with plastic from defective storage bags that were manufactured by the insured (Decker Plastics v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., No.17-1319, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2085).
ATLANTA — Based on an answer from Florida’s high court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 reversed the entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer, vacated a final judgment and remanded to federal court for further proceedings (Altman Contractors Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-12816, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1957).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Because an underlying lawsuit does not state claims for “personal injury” or “property damage,” a North Carolina federal judge ruled Jan. 23 that an insurer has no duty to defend an additional insured (American Reliable Insurance Co. v. Five Brothers Mortgage Company and Securing Inc., No. 16-159, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10546).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Any possible or potential conflict is not legally sufficient to require an insurer to provide independent counsel, a California appeals panel ruled Jan. 22, affirming summary judgment against an additional insured regarding a coverage dispute over defense provided in a construction defect lawsuit (Centex Homes, et al. v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., No. C081266, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 45).
MINNEAPOLIS — An insurance company breached its duty to defend an architecture firm from a lawsuit arising from construction defects that resulted from a subcontractor’s negligence, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled Jan. 19, holding that the damages were not excluded from coverage under the business risk doctrine and a products-completed operations hazard clause (Westfield Insurance Company v. Miller Architects & Builders Inc., No. 17-400, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8539).
JACKSON, Miss. — State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. sued a home builder and the subcontractor that improperly installed firebox and firebox surround in Mississippi federal court on Jan. 2, claiming that the defendants’ negligence caused a fire that damaged the home of its insureds (State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Structures Fine Homes Inc., et al., No. 18-CV-7, S.D. Miss.).
DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa federal judge on Jan. 16 once again granted insureds’ motion for partial summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from underlying claims that the insureds’ windows were defectively designed, manufactured or installed (Pella Corp., et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 11-00273, S.D. Iowa).