PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 29 reversed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a directors and officers liability insurer, finding that the lower court erred in finding that an investor’s written demand against real estate developer insureds constituted a claim made for a wrongful act under the policy (Scott G. Kelly, et al. v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co., No. 17-56334, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12871).
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 29 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage to an insured for contaminated fat products supplied to a pork producer because the pollution exclusion applies to the contaminant that was dispersed within the supplied fat products fed to the pork producer’s swine (Restaurant Recycling LLC, v. New Fashion Pork LLP, intervenor plaintiff, v. Employer Mutual Casualty Company, d/b/a EMC Insurance Companies and Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company, No. 17-2792, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12797).
LAS VEGAS — Following a remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Nevada federal judge on April 23 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s first amended complaint in a coverage dispute over an underlying qui tam action except for the part of the bad faith claim based on the insurer’s conduct before the Ninth Circuit’s ruling (My Left Foot Children's Therapy, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London subscribing to policy No. HAH15-0632, No. 15-0632, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69236).
HONOLULU — A Hawaii federal judge on April 24 granted a business liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit, finding that it has no duty to defend its bed and breakfast owner insured against an underlying infringement lawsuit brought by a competitor (State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Joan Prescott, No. 18-00127, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69804).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 23 held that the term “resident” as contained in a homeowners insurance policy is ambiguous and might reasonably be construed in favor of coverage for a woman sued for negligently storing a handgun that her minor son used to fatally shoot someone, reversing and remanding (American National Property and Casualty Co. v. David James Burns, et al., No. 18-8006, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11846).
BALTIMORE — Denying an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying battery and negligence claims, a Maryland federal judge on March 26 held that an insured satisfied its burden of establishing a potentiality that the “reasonable force exception” to the policy’s “battery exclusion” applies to trigger coverage (Nautilus Insurance Company v. 200 West Cherry Street, LLC, No. 18-434, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50043).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 5 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds against an underlying personal injury lawsuit, further finding that the insurer has no duty to provide "medical payments to others” coverage (Mountain Valley Indemnity Company v - Jean Serge Thelismon, et al., No. 1506012/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1838).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri appeals panel on April 23 found that a lower court improperly held that negligence claims against a doctor insured are subject to a single liability limit under a professional liability insurance policy, reversing a judgment in favor of the insurer and entering judgment in favor of the appellants (John Patty, D.O., LLC, et al. v. Missouri Professionals Mutual Physicians Professional Indemnity Association, No. ED106747, Mo. App., 2019 Mo. App. LEXIS 594).
ATLANTA — An au pair broker services company recently asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s finding that its errors and omissions professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify it against an underlying class action lawsuit alleging that it was part of a nationwide conspiracy to illegally suppress au pair wages, contending that the “prior knowledge” exclusion did not bar coverage because it did not expect to be sued for negligence by one of its au pairs (Berkley Assurance Company v. Expert Group International Inc., 18-14506, 11th Cir.).
POCATELLO, Idaho — A corporation insured on April 22 sued its insurer for breach of contract, bad faith and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that its claim for professional errors coverage for underlying allegations by one of its customers was not fairly debatable (Nelson & Pade, Inc., et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 19-00147, D. Idaho).
PIERRE, S.D. — The majority of the South Dakota Supreme Court on April 10 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that an underlying suit arising out of the construction of a hog facility does not allege an occurrence under the farm liability policy (Delray Geidel v. De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance Co., No. 28627, S.D. Sup., 2019 S.D. LEXIS 29).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama federal judge on April 19 granted a night club operator insured’s motion to dismiss an insurer’s claim seeking a declaration that it has no duty to indemnify the insured against an underlying “Dram Shop Act” lawsuit, finding that the issue is not ripe (Scottsdale Insurance Company v. I-20 HD Ultra Lounge, LLC, et al., No. 18-1155, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66739).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 18 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that policy exclusions for “intentional acts” and "molestation, misconduct or abuse” bar coverage for an underlying lawsuit brought against the insured by his ex-girlfriend (Nikos Hecht v. Great Northern Insurance Company, No. 18-1244, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11318).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on April 18 held that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its attorney insured against an underlying malpractice lawsuit because the insured knew facts that could have reasonably caused him to foresee the malpractice claim before the insurance policy’s effective date (The Hanover Insurance Company v. Hurdelbrink Law Office, Inc., et al., No. C18-0651, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66482).
HARTFORD, Conn. — In opinion scheduled to be released on April 23, the Connecticut Supreme Court answered “no” to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ certified question asking whether trial evidence was legally sufficient to support a jury’s finding that Connecticut's "continuing course of conduct" doctrine tolled the applicable three-year statute of limitations for an insurer to commence a negligence lawsuit against an independent adjuster (Essex Insurance Company v. William Kramer & Associates LLC, No. SC 20130, Conn. Sup., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 102).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 17 reversed a federal court’s finding that a site pollution legal liability insurer waived its subrogation rights under an onshore master services agreement (MSA) but affirmed the court’s dismissal of the breach of contract claim against the insurer for lack of personal jurisdiction (Halliburton Energy Services Inc. v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-20678 consolidated with No. 18-20239, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11255).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on March 31 allowed a massage therapist’s breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory judgment claims to proceed in a coverage dispute arising from underlying allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual acts while he was performing a massage (Starr Indemnity & Liability Company v. Limmie Young, III, et al., No. 14-00239, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55467).
NEW BERN, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on April 11 granted insureds’ motion for partial judgment on the pleadings as to insurers’ duty to defend them against an underlying lawsuit alleging that they were negligent in not supervising their children, denied their motion to dismiss and granted their motion to stay the insurer’s declaratory judgment action pending the outcome of the underlying suit (Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Kevin P. Creasman, et al., No. 18-384, E.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63000).
NEW ORLEANS — According to its April 8 news release, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a writ application seeking review of an appeals court’s ruling that affirmed a lower court's $914,390 judgment against an insurance agency, its employee and its errors and omissions insurer for negligently failing to procure commercial general liability insurance that was requested by an oyster harvester and seller (Breton Sound Oyster Company, LLC v. Stiel Insurance Co. of New Orleans Inc., et al., No. 2019-C-0251, La. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 15 reversed a lower federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on the question of whether the cause of the insured’s damage was an "external" force not covered under an all risks insurance policy, finding that “at the very least” there is a triable issue of fact as to whether the insured’s loss was fortuitous (Ingenco Holdings LLC, et al. v. Ace American Insurance Company, No. 16-35792, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10946).