SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A commercial general liability insurer filed a complaint on Sept. 18 in a California federal court for declaratory relief and reimbursement of its defense for an underlying action over damages to the construction of a high school (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Greg Opinski Construction Inc., et al., No. 19-01308, E.D. Calif.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — No coverage is afforded for water damages caused by the faulty installation of a sprinkler system by a subcontractor because the general contractor and its insurer failed to prove that the damages occurred during the applicable policy period of the subcontractor’s commercial general liability policy, a New York federal judge said Sept. 16 (Welliver McGuire Inc. et al., v. ACE American Insurance Co., No. 17-6040, W.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159047).
WHEELING, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on Sept. 16 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s coverage dispute concerning two lawsuits alleging that the insured’s negligence caused damages to a retaining wall because the insured alleges sufficient facts to state a claim that the insurance contract was formed in West Virginia (Redstone International Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 18-175, N.D. W.Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157577).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 13 affirmed and vacated in part a ruling on eight insurers’ duty to indemnify because under Pennsylvania insurance law, a manufacturer’s recovery for the cost of settling a lawsuit alleging that its product was defective turns on the language of the specific insurance policies at issue (Sapa Extrusions Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-2206, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27668).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — In a coverage dispute following settlement of a construction defects case, a South Carolina federal judge on Sept. 16 granted summary judgment to a commercial general liability insurer on an assignee’s breach of contract claim but denied judgment to the insurer on the bad faith claim (Summer Wood Property Owners Association Inc. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-3504, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157353).
CHICAGO — An insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds against a breach of contract case over defects in a refrigeration system, a federal judge in Illinois held Sept. 12, because several exclusions apply, including one for contractual liability (Hartford CasualtyInsuranceCo. v. Hench Control Corp., et al., No. 16-10794, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155425).
MADISON, Wis. — In two separate opinions issued Sept. 9, a Wisconsin state judge denied motions to dismiss filed by excess insurers in a suit regarding coverage for underlying claims arising out of toxic levels of formaldehyde in Lumber Liquidators Inc.’s laminate flooring after determining that a ruling on the applicability of the pollution exclusion in one of the excess insurer’s policies cannot be made at this stage of the litigation and after finding that the insured sufficiently alleged that a primary policy was exhausted by an underlying settlement (Lumber Liquidators Inc. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1089, Wis. Cir., Dane Co.).
BATON ROUGE, La. — An insurer has no duty to indemnify the parts of an arbitration award for $110,053.07 in damages to a residence and $17,975 in damages for backyard improvements, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled Sept. 6; however, the judge found that the insurer owes coverage for $18,008.47 in damages to the property within the residence (Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Siegen 7 Developments, LLC, et al., No. 18-00850, M.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152525).
TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal judge on Sept. 9 determined that no coverage is owed under one homeowners policy for an insured's water and mold damages caused by a leak in an exterior water pipe, but said coverage may be afforded under a second homeowners policy because a question of fact exists as to whether the damages were caused by a latent defect in the exterior water pipe (Vanessa Camper v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. et al., No.18-5486, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153337).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two commercial general liability insurers have a joint duty to defend an additional insured against 83 underlying construction defect cases, a federal judge in Florida ruled Sept. 5 (KB Home Jacksonville LLC v. Liberty Mutual FireInsuranceCo., et al., No. 18-371, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151235, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151230).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 4 dismissed a breach of contract and bad faith suit filed against a homeowners insurer after determining that the policy at issue clearly excludes coverage for the deterioration of the insureds’ foundation walls as a result of the use of defective concrete when the home was built (Marianne Gilmore, et al. v. Teachers Insurance Co., No. 18-1856, D. Conn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151006).
PHOENIX —An Arizona federal judge on Sept. 4 said claims for breach of contract and bad faith in a water damage coverage suit can proceed because issues of fact exist as to whether additional coverage is afforded under a commercial general liability policy and as to whether the insurer reasonably adjusted the insured’s claim for damages (Adams Craig Acquisitions LLC, et al. v. Atain Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00817, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150227).
BOSTON — A commercial general liability insurer on Aug. 19 argued to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that another insurer’s argument that it is estopped from enforcing its policy terms because its notification of a coverage decision was untimely is a “red herring” and that the appeals court should affirm a lower federal court’s ruling that it has no duty to defend an apartment management company insured against an underlying property damage lawsuit (Clarendon National Insurance Company v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 19-1212, 1st Cir.).
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Finding no new evidence or legal error, a federal judge in South Carolina on Aug. 21 refused to reconsider his entry of summary judgment to a condominium association on the basis that some damages arising out of construction defects are covered by commercial general liability insurance policies and because the insurers did not effectively reserve their right to contest coverage (Stoneledge at Lake Keowee Owners Association Inc. v. Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-01906, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141652).
BISMARCK, N.D. — An inland marine insurance policy’s earth movement exclusion precludes coverage for damage to an office building because earth movement was a cause of the damage to the building’s foundations and superstructure, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled Aug. 16, granting summary judgment to an insurer (Lexstar Construction, LLC v. AGCS Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-423, D. N.D., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138768).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Insureds seeking coverage for the cracking of their basement walls as a result of the use of defective concrete sufficiently alleged claims for breach of contract and violations of Connecticut law against a homeowners insurer, a Connecticut federal judge said Aug. 29 in denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss (Jose and Maria Oliveira v. Safeco Insurance Company of America et al., No. 18-338, D. Conn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147256).
LAS VEGAS — While denying an award of attorney fees in a contribution case among insurers over 16 construction defect cases, a federal judge in Nevada on Aug. 26 awarded prejudgment interest of $132,989.12 to defending insurers (Assurance Company of America, et al. v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., No. 13-2191, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146211).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A combination construction related endorsement (CCRE) and a roofing endorsement preclude coverage for underlying contract and tort claims arising out of damages from a contractor’s allegedly faulty roofing work, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Aug. 22, finding that the contractor’s insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify (Evanston Insurance Co. v. A&S Roofing LLC, et al., No. 17-870, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142828).
TAMPA, Fla. — A commercial general liability insurer established by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, a federal judge in Florida ruled Aug. 15, denying an insured’s motion to dismiss the declaratory judgment action regarding coverage for an underlying construction defects action (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 19-01069, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137828).
SAN ANTONIO — Citing exclusions for “defective work” and “mold,” a commercial general liability insurer alleges in an Aug. 12 complaint filed in a Texas federal court that it has no duty to defend or indemnify allegations of misrepresentations in the sale of a home with alleged defects (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Dabney Homes LLC, No. 19-975, W.D. Texas).