NEW BERN, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Oct. 7 granted default judgment to commercial liability insurers against their insured over coverage for a breach of contract claim in a dispute arising out of construction defects in condominiums (Penn National Security Insurance, et al. v. East Carolina Masonry, Inc., No. 19-53, E.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173448).
PHILADELPHIA — An insurer on Sept. 9 asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a federal court’s ruling that it has a duty to defend two construction defect actions, disputing the finding that there are sufficient allegations of products-related tort claims such that there may have been an “occurrence” (Nautilus Insurance Company v. 200 Christian Street Partners LLC, et al., Nos. 19-1507 and 19-1506, 3rd Cir.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A per-claim deductible provision applies on a per-claimant/per-home basis regarding 200 individual homeowners in five separate underlying construction defects cases, a federal judge in California ruled Oct. 3, finding that the insureds failed to pay the deductibles and, thus, the insurance policy is void (ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company, RRG v. JKB Homes Norcal, Inc., et al., No. 15-01381, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172322).
BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Sept. 30 held that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that an insured’s collapse claim was not covered under an insurance policy, granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment as to the insured’s breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims (Blissful Enterprises, Inc. v. Cincinnati Insurance Company, No. 18-1221, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169768).
NATCHEZ, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on Sept. 26 determined that an insurer had a duty to defend an insured for an underlying lawsuit arising out of the collapse of an insured building because there was sufficient extrinsic evidence available to the insurer that provided the insurer with notice that it may have a duty to defend the underlying lawsuit (Hudson Specialty Insurance Co. v. Talex Enterprises LLC, et al., No. 17-137, S.D. Miss., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165000).
SAN DIEGO — A primary insurer in a Sept. 25 complaint filed in a California federal court asserts a reimbursement claim against an insured for its defense in a construction defects case and asserts an equitable indemnity claim against an excess insurer (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Bosa Development California II, Inc., et al., No. 19-1847, S.D. Calif.).
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).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Sept. 4 denied summary judgment to an insured on its “ensuing loss” argument over water intrusion damage because Washington law supports the position that an insurer can protect from an “ensuing loss” provision where an excluded peril such as defective work is the cause of the damage (Belmain Place Condominium Owners Association v. American InsuranceCo., No. 19-156, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150555).
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.).