BOSTON — A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 22 upheld a federal magistrate judge in Massachusetts’ ruling awarding summary judgment to an insured in a suit seeking a declaration that its insurer wrongfully denied coverage for damages resulting from a ceiling collapse, finding that ambiguity in the policy regarding the definition of the word “decay” warranted a finding in favor of the insured (Easthampton Congregational Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 18-1881, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 5273).
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Under a builder’s “all-risk” insurance policy, an ensuing loss clause restores coverage to insureds’ indemnification claim despite a faulty workmanship exclusion, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 21 (Griggs Road, L.P., et al. v. Selective Way Insurance Company of America, No. 17-00214, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27170).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 14 ruled in favor of Amerisure Insurance Co. in its declaratory judgment action against Landmark American Insurance Co. regarding the duty to defend a claim for damage from water intrusion on a construction project, ruling that the damage was an occurrence that took place when Landmark was the primary insurer (Amerisure Insurance Company v. The Auchter Company, et al., No. 15-235, M.D. Fla.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on Feb. 19 dismissed claims for declaratory judgment for unreasonable failure to settle, a violation of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act (SCUTPA) and reformation against insurers in a dispute over coverage for an underlying $33.8 million construction defects judgment (Church Creek Construction LLC, et al. v. Mt. Hawley Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1339, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25711).
AUSTIN, Texas — An insurer alleges in a Feb. 4 complaint filed in a Texas federal court that it does not owe an insured complete indemnity for an underlying $1.1 million arbitration award regarding damages from the insured’s construction work to a custom home (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes Ltd., No. 19-00083, W.D. Texas).
SALT LAKE CITY — No coverage is owed to an insured for an underlying claim alleging that the insured’s installation of attic insulation caused mold to develop in attics of condominium buildings because the policy’s fungi or bacteria exclusion clearly precludes coverage, the insurer says in a Feb. 7 complaint filed in Utah federal court (Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Green Property Solutions LLC, et al., No. 19-100, C.D. Utah).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Feb. 6 denied insurers’ request to appoint a neutral umpire and an insured’s request to disqualify two candidates as umpires in a coverage dispute concerning water damage to a Florida condominium building (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al. v. Vintage Grand Condominium Association Inc., No. 18-10382, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22709).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Because a subcontractor was not enrolled in a general contractor’s wrap-up policy, a California federal judge on Feb. 7 denied summary judgment to the subcontractor’s insurer on its duty to defend or indemnify the subcontractor against the contractor’s breach of contract claims concerning water damage to a project (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Fast Wrap Reno One LLC, et al., No. 17-03837, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20298).
MIAMI — In a coverage dispute between a contractor’s insurer and a subcontractor’s insurer over the duty to defend a construction defects lawsuit on a primary and noncontributory basis, a Florida federal judge on Feb. 5 ruled that the subcontractor insurer’s policy precludes additional insured coverage under the completed-operations hazard exclusion (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Granada Insurance Co., No. 18-21207, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19240).
PHILADELPHIA — A commercial general liability insurer alleges in a Jan. 24 complaint filed in a Pennsylvania federal court that it has no duty to defend or indemnify a contractor and subcontractor in an underlying construction defects case (Seneca Specialty Insurance Co. v. Top Class Construction Inc., et al., No. 19-363, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on Feb. 1 denied an insured subcontractor’s motion to dismiss its insurer’s dispute regarding coverage for an underlying breach of contract and breach of express warranty case brought by homeowners (Great Lakes Insurance SE v. AMCO Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-631, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16040).
SAN DIEGO — A commercial general liability insurer showed that its insured must reimburse it $50,000 in deductibles for payments it made in settlement of two construction defects actions, a California appeals panel held Jan. 31 (Lexington Insurance Co. v. Timber Ridge Framing Inc., No. D073412, Calif. App., 4th Dist. Div. 1, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 802).
NEWARK, N.J. — A commercial general liability insurer is responsible for paying damages for defective concrete delivered to two New Jersey projects, a concrete producer claims in its Jan. 30 complaint filed in New Jersey federal court (County Concrete Corp. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 19-03449, D. N.J.).
PHILADELPHIA — An insurer has a duty to defend two construction defect actions because there are sufficient allegations of products-related tort claims such that there may have been an “occurrence,” a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Jan. 30 (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. 200 Christian Street Partners LLC, et al., Nos. 18-1364 & 18-1545, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15060).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An insurance policy covers damage to a school caused by the rupture of a water pipe beneath the school, a majority of the Oklahoma Supreme Court held Jan. 29, reversing the entry of summary judgment to an insurer (Oklahoma Schools Risk Management Trust v. McAlester Public Schools, No. 114553, Okla. Sup., 2019 Okla. LEXIS 2).
DALLAS — A subrogated insurer sued another insurer on Jan. 7 in a Texas federal court asserting breach of contract and declaratory judgment claims and seeking recovery of costs in the defense of a mutual insured in an underlying construction defects lawsuit (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 19-32, N.D. Texas).
AUSTIN, Texas — According to its Jan. 25 orders pronounced, the Texas Supreme Court denied an insurer’s petition for writ of mandamus seeking to clarify a party's right to object to an assigned judge when the party first learns of the assignment the day of the first hearing or trial, also lifting the stay of the coverage lawsuit over the installation of defective heating ventilation and air conditioning units (In re Union Insurance Co., No. 18-0353, Texas Sup.).
ST. LOUIS — An insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify allegations that defective construction caused water infiltration in condominium units, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 28, because the property damage occurred outside the policy period (Clarke Company Ltd. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-2418, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2760).
TAMPA, Fla. — An insurer on Jan. 7 sued a home builder and the owners of the property in a Florida federal court, seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify them in relation to an underlying lawsuit in which the owners allege the property contains defects (Southern-Owners Insurance Co. v. Russ Building Concepts, et al., No. 19-00042, M.D. Fla.).
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court majority on Jan. 25 determined that a pollution liability insurer breached its duty to defend an additional insured for underlying property damage claims arising out of a sewage backup and said that the additional insured’s defense costs, which were paid by another insurer, must be allocated on a pro rata basis between the two insurers (Steadfast Insurance Co. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 2016AP1631, Wis. Sup., 2019 Wisc. LEXIS 9).