NEW ORLEANS — In a May 20 reply brief filed in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an insured argues that a lower federal court erred in ruling that the actions by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Superstorm Sandy claims review process are beyond the scope of judicial oversight in his quest to reverse the dismissal of his lawsuit alleging that he was wrongfully denied $141,274.50 in insurance proceeds for Superstorm Sandy damage to his Long Beach, N.Y., home (David Clutter v. William B. Long, et al., No. 18-3520, 2nd Cir.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appeals court panel on May 28 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of commercial general liability insurers in their declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for personal injuries that an independent contractor incurred while drilling a water well for the insureds’ residential customer, finding that the policies did not cover well drilling operations that were unrelated to the insureds' feed store premises (Larry Musselwhite v. Florida Farm General Insurance Company, et al., No. 1D18-780, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 8207).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Kentucky appeals panel on May 24 reversed and remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a bad faith claim against an insurer arising from an underlying dram shop action against the insured, finding that the bad faith claim was timely (William Gerald Watson v. United States Liability Insurance Company, No. 2018-ca-000475, 2019 Ky. App. LEXIS 94).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a pharmaceutical company insured’s breach of contract and breach of fiduciary lawsuit, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend the insured against an underlying action brought by the Securities Exchange Commission (Biochemics, Inc., et al. v. Axis Reinsurance Company, et al., No. 17-2059, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15326).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 held that because an insured’s alleged conduct was entirely intentional in an underlying lawsuit alleging that its landscaping activities violated a conservation easement, a lower federal court properly held that the insurer has a no duty to defend the insured (Henstooth Ranch, LLC v. The Burlington Insurance Company, No. 18-15167, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15157).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 21 held that underlying claims against an insured “falls clearly outside” of a professional liability insurance policy's definition of “professional services,” affirming a lower court’s ruling in favor of the insurer (Mark Chapman, et al. v. ACE American Insurance Co., No. 18-12972, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15013).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on May 17 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on Yahoo! Inc.’s bad faith and bad faith damages claims, finding that there is a “legally sufficient evidentiary basis” for a jury to determine that the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of underlying class actions filed against Yahoo over its practice of scanning the content of emails (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 17-00489, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83811).
RICHMOND, Va. — Insureds recently asked the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s finding that an excess insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify them against an underlying lawsuit seeking recovery for the government's alleged injuries for false claims for Medicaid reimbursements, contending that the lower court applied the wrong precedent in reaching its decision (Affinity Living Group, LLC, et al. v. StarStone Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-2376, 4th Cir.).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal chief judge on May 15 granted an employment practices liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit alleging that it wrongfully denied coverage for an underlying arbitration award entered against its insureds in an employment dispute, finding that the policy unambiguously required the insureds to give timely notice of the arbitration (Stadium Motorcars, LLC, et al. v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 18-1920, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82251).
DAYTON, Ohio — A majority of an Ohio appellate panel on May 17 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute brought by a bar owner insured, finding that the policy term "assault" unambiguously includes the common-law tort of assault and the crime of assault pursuant to Ohio’s Revised Code (Jerome Badders, et al. v. Century Insurance Co., No. 28170, Ohio App., 2nd Dist., Montgomery Co., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 1975).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on May 14 remanded insureds’ lawsuit seeking employment practices liability insurance coverage for an underlying matter, finding that the insurer has failed to establish that the insureds’ negligent misrepresentation claim against a claims administrator has “no reasonable possibility of success under Indiana law” (Technicolor USA, Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 19-00174, S.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80966).
PITTSBURGH — An insured seeking coverage for pollution costs and damages caused by a gas well that spewed drilling fluid and fracking materials above the surface of the ground claims in a May 15 complaint filed in Pennsylvania state court that its insurers breached their contract and acted in bad faith in denying coverage for the more than $40 million in damages incurred by the insured (CNX Gas Co. LLC v. Lloyd’s of London, et al., No. GD-19-007029, Pa. Comm. Pls., Allegheny Co.).
BEAUMONT, Texas — An insurer argues in a May 13 motion for summary judgment filed in Texas federal court that it is entitled to reimbursement from the manufacturers of a fracking pump unit for more than $15 million in costs paid on behalf of its insured for damages incurred after the fracking unit malfunctioned and caused a fire at the well site (AIG Europe Ltd. v. Caterpillar Inc. and Dragon Products LLC, No. 17-319, E.D. Texas).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Granting in part and denying in part motions for summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from underlying stockholders’ claims against Dole Food Co. and its directors and officers, a Delaware judge on May 7 held that underlying settlement payments constitute “loss” under excess directors and officers liability insurance policies and that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the policies’ written consent provisions and cooperation clauses (Arch Insurance Company, et al. v. David H. Murdock, et al., No. N16C-01-104-EMD, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2019 Del. Super. LEXIS 227).
NEW CASTLE, Del. — A Delaware judge on April 25 denied directors and officers liability insurers’ motion to dismiss their insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying government investigation involving a real estate investment trust but found that the court lacks jurisdiction over another set of insurer defendants that issued Difference in Conditions policies (AR Capital LLC, et al. v. XL Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. N19C-01-024, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2019 Del. Super. LEXIS 216).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on May 6 entered final judgment in favor of an insurer in its lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying claims that the insured violated Florida's Dram Shop Law after finding that the policy's liquor liability exclusion bars coverage (AIX Specialty Insurance Company v. Members Only Management, LLC, et al., No. 18-60471, S.D. Fla.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A company that was responsible for the online postings of a client’s personal material was ordered May 10 to mostly comply with deposition subpoenas by an insurance company involved in a coverage dispute over the matter, with a California federal magistrate judge declining to quash the subpoenas and finding most of the insurer’s requests to be relevant and proportional to the needs of the case (Pegatron Technology Service Inc. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., No. 5:18-cv--01477, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79693).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on May 10 denied an insurer’s motion to compel arbitration and dismiss a third-party bad faith complaint against it in a lawsuit arising from an underlying injury that occurred during a cruise ship excursion, finding that the bad faith claim is premature and that the plaintiffs cannot be compelled to arbitration because there is no agreement that was signed by both the plaintiffs and the insurer (Lynn McCullough v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al., No. 16-20194, S.D. Fla, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79338).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska federal judge on May 7 refused to dismiss Allstate Insurance Co.’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty to indemnify against an underlying lawsuit over the alleged suicide death of the insured’s daughter, rejecting the defendants’ argument that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (Allstate Insurance Company v. Estate of Maia Grace Elizabeth Walker, et al., No. 19-0063, D. Alaska, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76904).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 7 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that a medical malpractice insurer owes coverage for a default judgment entered against a physician insured who fled the country and refused to participate in the defense of the underlying malpractice lawsuit (Claudia M. Mora, et al. v. Lancet Indemnity Risk Retention Group Inc., No. 18-1566, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13610).