ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 12 asked the owner of a Florida restaurant and its insurer to address whether the relevant pleadings in a coronavirus coverage lawsuit sufficiently alleged the citizenship of the parties to invoke a Florida federal court’s jurisdiction in the first instance.
From amicus curiae briefs filed in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of an insurer to a Ninth Circuit appeal by the owner of two Los Angeles restaurants, Mealey Publications takes a look at the latest pleadings relating to insurance coverage for COVID-19.
TOPEKA, Kan. — The same day an insurer responded to an order to show cause, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas on May 17 granted a limited extension of the deadline for an insurer to serve defendants with its lawsuit disputing directors and officers liability coverage for underlying shareholder claims, directing the insurer to file proof of service or waivers of service or voluntarily dismiss its lawsuit by June 7.
NEW ORLEANS — A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court on May 13 held that an insurer’s filing of an answer to a personal injury lawsuit did not serve to interrupt the abandonment period as to its property owner insured, reversing an appeals court in part and remanding for the lower court to conduct an evidentiary hearing as to the property owner’s exception of prescription.
WILMINGTON, Del. — An insured on May 14 moved for reconsideration or clarification of a Delaware federal judge’s April 30 ruling in its lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying stockholder action alleging that directors and officers breached their fiduciary duties, seeking to clarify that the underlying defense costs it incurred on behalf of the directors and officers are covered, subject to any allocation, just as with the underlying settlement amount.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — An insurer on May 12 filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit in a federal court in California, seeking a declaration that it owes no coverage for four underlying lawsuits alleging that its insured was negligent in connection with a Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and six others.
CINCINNATI — A majority of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 14 held that a lower federal court properly found that an errors and omissions insurer has no duty to defend its third-party administrator of health plans insured against two underlying lawsuits but erred in reaching the same finding as to a third action, further finding that the lower court erred in rescinding the policy.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 13 reversed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a property management company’s negligent procurement of insurance claims against a broker and an agent and remanded with instructions for the lower court to permit the company at least one opportunity to amend its third-party complaint to assert additional facts relevant to the remaining claims.
NEW YORK — A New York appeals panel on May 13 held that an insurance policy’s dishonest entrustment exclusion bars coverage for a jeweler insured’s loss arising from $2.09 million in jewelry stolen by a mobster in prison, affirming a lower court’s grant of the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in the insured’s breach of contract lawsuit.
WILMINGTON, N.C. — A federal magistrate judge in North Carolina on May 5 granted in part an insurer’s motion to stay discovery in its declaratory judgment lawsuit pending resolution of an underlying class action alleging that a senior living facility and its owners breached their contractual duties to provide adequate staffing and personal care and knowingly failed to comply with staffing and personal care obligations, staying discovery on the indemnification issue and allowing discovery to proceed on “coverage” issues and certain counterclaims.
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on May 12 denied Ralph Lauren Corp.’s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and granted its insurer’s cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings in a coverage lawsuit arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured’s pleadings fail to include any specific allegations as to physical loss or damage to its covered or surrounding properties.
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on May 11 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment as to T-Mobile USA’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) claim in a coverage dispute over an underlying lawsuit alleging that a cell phone tower caused property damage, finding that the CFA claim is based on the insurer’s purported deliberate concealment of material facts as to coverage.
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend the operator of the "Urban Active" chain of fitness clubs against an underlying class action alleging unfair practices, finding that the policy’s contractual-liability exclusion bars directors and officers liability coverage.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on May 10 held that, for now, a hair salon insured has plausibly stated a cause of action that it is entitled to “Communicable Disease Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage” for its losses arising from the governmental shutdown of its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss the insured’s declaratory judgment lawsuit in its entirety.
PHILADELPHIA — Denying an insurer’s motion to dismiss a retail furniture insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses stemming from the forced closure of its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 7 said the more-than-100-page policy requires “the insured to fall down a rabbit hole and wander through a vast thicket of verbiage that would leave even the most careful reader mystified by the mazes of pages to be pieced together and deciphered in order to determine if there is coverage on the other side.”
CHICAGO — Amici curiae in support of an insurer on May 5 asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a lower federal court’s dismissal of a restaurant insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its alleged $977,891 in lost business income arising from its government-ordered shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “[i]mposing a new and retroactive extra-contractual risk on insurers would threaten insurer solvency and harm Illinois’ insurance marketplace."
SAN FRANCISCO — The owner of two Los Angeles restaurants recently asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its lawsuit seeking coverage for its business income loss caused by the governmental shutdown orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, contending that the lower court dismissed its complaint “based on a range of hypothetical policy consequences” that render its interpretation of the policy “unreasonable — even if conceivable.”
NEW YORK — A Manhattan-based art gallery tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an April 2 brief that a lower federal court committed reversible error in its interpretation of an all-risk business owners insurance policy because it permitted the insurer to escape liability even though a reasonable interpretation of the policy requires the insurer to provide coverage for its losses arising from the forced cessation of its operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held on May 11 that a directors and officers liability policy is ambiguous as to whether an insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify its insured and its chief executive officers against underlying claims brought by investors, reversing a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of the insurer and remanding.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on May 4 granted an excess insurer’s motion to dismiss Vizio Inc.’s lawsuit seeking defense and indemnity for an underlying $17 million settlement and defense costs arising from class claims over the insured’s unauthorized collections of consumers’ television viewing data, dismissing the claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, equitable contribution and declaratory judgment with leave to amend.