CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an underlying lawsuit against an insured does not assert a claim that plausibly falls under her professional liability insurance policy, rejecting an appeal by a homeowners insurer seeking reimbursement of underlying defense costs from the professional liability insurer (Madison Mutual Insurance Co. v. Diamond State Ins Co., No. 15-3292, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5006).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on March 17 dismissed without prejudice a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a professional liability insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the insured’s alleged breach of a loan agreement (GemCap Lending, LLC v. Scottsdale Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-09942, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38931).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A majority of a Florida appeals court on March 20 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an insurer’s quarterly supplemental reporting (QUASR) data satisfies the definition of trade secret under state law and is, therefore, exempt from public disclosure (Office of Insurance Regulation v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 1D16-2301, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3662).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on March 16 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment by insureds and a homeowners insurer in a class action alleging that the insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37755).
By Eileen Garczynski, Ames & Gough and Syed Ahmad, Hunton & Williams LLP
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana appeals panel on March 16 reversed a lower court’s denial of a professional liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment and its entry of a declaratory judgment in favor of the insured’s estate in a coverage dispute erupting from an underlying malpractice claim (Admiral Insurance Co. v. Joseph Banasiak, No. 45A05-1604-PL-859, Ind. App., 2017 Ind. App. LEXIS 127).
ATLANTA — A federal court in Georgia on March 20 entered judgment in favor of an insurer on an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith claims four days after a judge found that the insured’s losses arising from a 2014 hacking incident of its payment-card reloading system did not trigger coverage under the insurance policy’s computer fraud provision (InComm Holdings Inc., et al. v. Great American Insurance Co., No. 15-02671, N.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38132).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 reversed and remanded a lower federal court’s ruling as to an insurer’s breach of contract and equitable claims in a dispute over professional liability insurance coverage (Charla Aldous, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Company, No. 16-10537, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4707).
NEW ORLEANS — An insured asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that an insurer’s duty to defend it against an underlying lawsuit was triggered under an insurance policy’s trade dress, slogan and advertising idea coverage (Laney Chiropractic and Sports Therapy, P.A. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 16-11183, 5th Cir.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel on March 14 rejected an insured’s assignee’s appeal in a coverage dispute arising from unsolicited fax transmissions, finding the assignee’s claims barred by the doctrine of res judicata (CE Design Ltd. v. HealthCraft Products, Inc., et al., No. 1-14-3000, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2nd Div., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 490).
GRETNA, La. — A Louisiana appeals panel on March 15 reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that an insured breached a partnership agreement involving the opening of a new restaurant/bar and nightclub, concluding that the lower court erred in granting motions by the insured and his professional liability insurer to dismiss the case due to abandonment (Marlen Nunez v. Cesar R. Burgos, et al., No. 16-CA-568, La. App., 5th Cir.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on March 14 found that San Francisco Forty Niners Football Co.’s primary commercial general liability insurer has a duty to contribute by equal shares with another insurer to defense costs in an underlying lawsuit against the football team and others (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Great Divide Insurance Co., No. 16-02114, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36501).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on March 13 held that an insurance policy’s financial services exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging Lanham Act and unfair competition claims against an insured, further finding that the underlying claims asserting that the insured illegally charged up-front fees to homeowners seeking mortgage advice are uninsurable under California law (First One Lending Corporation, et al. v. The Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-01500, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36548).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Feb. 27 determined that an insurer has a duty to indemnify its insured for an underlying product liability suit but found no support for the insured’s extracontractual claims and, accordingly, dismissed those claims against the insurer (U.S. Metals Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., et al., No. 12-379, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32507).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Massachusetts federal judge on March 8 adopted a joint request by William H. Cosby Jr. and his homeowners and excess insurer to file a stipulation or motion to dismiss the indemnification claims without prejudice in a coverage dispute over underlying defamation lawsuits arising from sexual assault claims (AIG Property Casualty Co. v. Tamara Green, et al., No. 15-30111, D. Mass.).
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on March 2 adopted a magistrate’s report that recommended granting an insurer’s request for a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds against an underlying lawsuit because coverage is barred by the policy’s government exclusion (Continental Casualty Co. v. Jeffrey Ramsey, et al., No. 16-00125, E.D. Texas).
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on March 13 rejected a professional liability insurer’s argument that a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the insured’s assignees is barred by a five-year statute of limitations, denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss (Mark Chapman, et al. v. ACE American Insurance Co., No: 16-2111, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35347).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 7 affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer and an insurance agent in an insured’s lawsuit over Hurricane Ike flood damage, rejecting the insured’s argument that she reasonably relied on the defendants’ misrepresentations that her property in the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) was insurable (Danuta Lobeck v. Tina M. Licatino, et al., No. 16-40967, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4040).
WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas federal judge on March 9 held that an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insured sold wheat seed in violation of the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) included a claim that potentially fell under an insurance policy’s advertising injury coverage (Brett Parker and D&B Parker Farms, L.L.C. v. Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-01204, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3417).
PASADENA, Calif. — Affirming a trial court’s judgment, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 9 found no coverage under a crime insurance policy for funds lost by an accounting firm’s wire transfers pursuant to fraudulently sent emails, concluding that provisions for forgery, computer fraud and funds transfer fraud did not apply (Taylor & Lieberman v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-56102, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4205).