MINNEAPOLIS — One day after a federal flood insurer and a motel operator insured announced that they settled their dispute over coverage for underlying flood damage to the insured's motel, a Minnesota federal judge on May 3 dismissed with prejudice the insurer from the lawsuit (Ma Amba Minnesota, Inc. v. Cafourek & Associates, Inc., et al., No. 18-680, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73500).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on April 26 dismissed a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief against insurers, finding that although the plaintiffs may have a remedy against the insured for their son’s alleged injuries, they do not have one directly against the insurers as a first-party action (Derrick and Lisa Flavel v. Scottsdale Insurance Company, et al., No. 19-82, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71440).
CINCINATTI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 30 reversed and remanded a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from claims that the insured’s independent contractor committed sexual assault, finding that the insurer failed to show that its interpretation of the insurance policy is the only reasonable one (The Scott Fetzer Company v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 18-3057, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13023).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on April 29 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying suit alleging that the insured violated Florida’s Dram Shop Law, finding that the policy’s liquor liability exclusion clearly precludes liability for the violation of a statute that is related to alcohol consumption (AIX Specialty Insurance Company v. Members Only Management, LLC, et al., No. 18-60471, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71347).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on April 23 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that of all of the alleged injuries in an underlying lawsuit flow from the intentional acts of the insureds in conspiring to kidnap, kidnapping and physically abusing another individual (Safeco Insurance Company of America v. Blake Laubinger, et al., No. 18-1237, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68510).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 29 held that excess directors and officers liability insurance policies’ “Insured vs. Insured” exclusion does not bar coverage for underlying claims brought by a creditor trust against the insured’s former directors and officers, denying the insurers’ motion to dismiss a breach of contract counterclaim (Westchester Fire Insurance Co. v. Nicholas S. Schorsch, et al., No. 651026/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
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).