Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes

  • April 02, 2021

    Contamination Exclusion Is Ambiguous, Judge Rules In Coronavirus Coverage Dispute

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 31 denied cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings by a commercial property insurer and commercial landlord insured in a coronavirus coverage suit, finding that judgment on the pleadings as to the policy’s “contamination” and “loss of market or loss of use” exclusions is inappropriate at this stage.

  • April 01, 2021

    Judge Tosses Consolidated Class Action In Ski Pass Coverage MDL Prompted By Pandemic

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 30 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a consolidated class action complaint seeking coverage for passes for ski resorts that were prematurely closed due to the coronavirus, allowing the multidistrict litigation insureds to file an amended complaint no later than April 12.

  • March 31, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses Hertz’s Coverage Suit Arising From SEC Investigation

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 30 granted insurers’ motion to dismiss Hertz Global Holdings Inc.’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, finding that the policy language “unambiguously excludes” the SEC investigation from coverage.

  • March 31, 2021

    Protective Order Issued In Software Developer’s Trade Secret Suit Against Insurer

    LAS VEGAS — A federal magistrate judge in Nevada on March 26 signed a stipulated protective order in a software provider’s lawsuit alleging that an insurer and another software provider misappropriated its trade secrets to develop a clone of its flood claims services system application.

  • March 31, 2021

    California Supreme Court Overturns Title Insurer Immunity Ruling In UCL Dispute

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Supreme Court on March 22 overturned a state appellate court’s ruling that a title insurer was immune under provisions of the state’s insurance code from a borrower’s lawsuit alleging that the insurer violated provisions of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by charging rates for deed delivery services that were not approved by the California insurance commissioner, ruling that title insurers are not shielded from liability for charging unauthorized rates.

  • March 30, 2021

    Judge Rejects Insurer’s ‘Weak’ Arguments Challenging Approval Of BSA’s Claim Form

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal judge in Delaware on March 29 granted the Boy Scouts of America and Delaware BSA LLC’s motion to dismiss an insurer’s appeal of a bankruptcy court’s order that approved the movants’ proposed claim form for sexual abuse survivors, finding that the bar date order at issue is not final and interlocutory appeal is not warranted.

  • March 30, 2021

    COMMENTARY: A Review Of Emerging Trends In Mergers & Acquisitions And Representations & Warranties Insurance

    By Scott M. Seaman and Judith A. Selby

  • March 30, 2021

    Roundup Of Latest Complaints, Briefs Over Coronavirus Coverage

    From a Florida restaurant owner’s appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to a class action lawsuit asserting that GEICO “scored a windfall” while many have suffered financially, Mealey Publications takes a look at the latest pleadings relating to insurance coverage for COVID-19.

  • March 30, 2021

    Panel: ADA Complaint Against 49ers Does Not Allege ‘Occurrence’ To Trigger Coverage

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 29 held that a federal court properly considered underlying putative class claims to determine whether insurers’ duties to defend exists, further affirming the lower court’s ruling that the allegation that the Forty Niners football team’s design and construction of their stadium did not comply with federal disability access design standards was not an “occurrence” to trigger policy coverage.

  • March 30, 2021

    Judge Allows Certain Claims To Proceed In Relators’ Suit Against State Farm

    GULFPORT, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi on March 26 denied in part State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s motion to dismiss certain claims in relators’ second amended complaint in their 15-year-old qui tam suit accusing the insurer of filing false flood insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina, finding that the relators have plausibly and sufficiently asserted express and implied false certification claims.

  • March 29, 2021

    New Hampshire Majority Affirms Agent Was Negligent For Failure To Advise Client

    CONCORD, N.H. — A majority of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on March 19 affirmed a jury verdict that determined that an insurance agent was negligent for failing to advise a hotel owner that it lacked sufficient law and ordinance coverage to pay for reconstruction of its hotel in compliance with the current building code.

  • March 29, 2021

    Class Action Alleges GEICO ‘Unfairly’ Profited From Global Coronavirus Pandemic

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — An insured filed a class action lawsuit in a federal court in California on March 25 for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, frustration of purpose and violations of California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws, alleging that although “many companies, industries, and individuals have suffered financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, auto insurers like GEICO have scored a windfall.”

  • March 29, 2021

    U.S. High Court Refuses To Review Whether Roadwork Damage Caused Covered Loss

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 29 denied a Florida insured’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of whether construction dust and debris constitutes “direct physical loss” to its restaurant to trigger coverage under an “all-risk” insurance policy and whether a court erred in excluding three of its causation experts under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its progeny.

  • March 29, 2021

    Judge:  Realtor’s Suit Did Not Trigger Employment Practices Liability Coverage

    TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 23 held that a real estate agent’s negligence and vicarious liability lawsuit did not trigger coverage under an insurance policy’s employment practices liability endorsement but that the policy’s professional services exclusion does not bar coverage, granting in part and denying an insurer’s motion for summary judgment.

  • March 29, 2021

    Florida Restaurant Appeals No Coverage Ruling In COVID-19 Dispute To 11th Circuit

    ATLANTA — The owner of a Florida restaurant on March 25 filed a notice of appeal in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of a Florida federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • March 26, 2021

    Insured Seeks Coverage For Cancellation Of National Restaurant Association Show

    CHICAGO — An insured on March 23 sued two of its insurers for breach of contract in a federal court in Illinois, seeking event cancellation coverage for its alleged several million dollars in losses arising out of its “necessary and unavoidable cancellation” of the May 2020 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago due to circumstances that were created by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • March 26, 2021

    Only $1M In Coverage Owed For Fatal Air Crash, Florida Panel Rules In Reversal

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on March 24 reversed a lower court’s finding that an insurance policy provided $2 million in coverage for a mid-air collision between two airplanes that killed four people, finding that the policy’s unambiguous language provides only $1 million in coverage to compensate the victims’ estates.

  • March 23, 2021

    Outback Steakhouse’s Franchisee Fails To Allege Direct Physical Loss Or Damage

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on March 19 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a coronavirus coverage dispute, finding that a franchisee of Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California and its parent and affiliated companies have failed to plausibly allege “direct physical loss of or damage to” their property to trigger coverage under the policy.

  • March 23, 2021

    9th Circuit:  Order Remanding Coverage Suit Was Not Based On ‘Colorable’ Ground

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 22 vacated a lower federal court’s sua sponte order remanding the Academy of Country Music’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer to state court, directing the lower court to recall the remand and notify the state court that it is resuming jurisdiction over the coverage dispute.

  • March 23, 2021

    Insured: Court Ignored Binding Authority, Putative Class’s Reasonable Expectations

    PASADENA, Calif. — An insured in a Feb. 25 brief asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and the subsequent civil authority orders, arguing that pursuant to California’s rules of policy interpretation, the lower court had a duty to adopt the insured’s reasonable interpretation of the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to property."