Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes

  • July 13, 2021

    Absolute Firearms Exclusion Bars Coverage, Judge Rules On Issue Of 1st Impression

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania judge on June 30 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing liquor liability coverage for an underlying wrongful death lawsuit against its American Legion Post insured, finding that a comparison of the underlying complaint to the controlling policy language “indisputably reveals” that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify.

  • July 13, 2021

    S.D. Supreme Court Accepts Certified Question Over Insurance Liquidation Statute

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The same day the South Dakota Supreme Court accepted certification of a question involving the state’s insurance liquidation statute in a lawsuit in which the liquidator of ReliaMax Surety Co. (RSC) seeks a declaration that coverage exists under a claims-made excess insurance policy above a directors and officers (D&O) policy for a $21 million wrongful acts claim, a federal judge in South Dakota on June 28 denied without prejudice the liquidator’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and alternative motion for summary judgment and the insurer’s motion for summary judgment to refile after the South Dakota high court rules on the certified question.

  • July 13, 2021

    Delaware Judge Dismisses 2nd Insurer From Private Equity Firms’ Coverage Suit

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on July 6 dismissed a second insurer from private equity firm insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for their $120 million settlement with the bankruptcy estate of a retail fashion holding company they acquired four days after the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal and less than three weeks after another insurer was dismissed.

  • July 12, 2021

    Judge Denies Assignee’s Motion To Amend Professional Liability Coverage Complaint

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on July 7 denied a motion by an insured’s assignees to amend their complaint against a professional liability insurer, finding that the assignees have failed to demonstrate good cause to modify the scheduling and planning order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) and that the proposed amendment is futile under Rule 15.

  • July 12, 2021

    No Coverage For Counterclaims Against Credit Union, 8th Circuit Affirms

    ST. LOUIS —The Eighth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals on July 9 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that there was no possibility of commercial general liability coverage for a credit union insured’s damages incurred litigating and settling an underlying consumer class action because alleged "loss of use” damages were not caused by an “occurrence” and all alleged damages stemmed from the insured’s provision of credit union financial services that are unambiguously excluded from coverage.

  • July 12, 2021

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Criminal Indictment Claims, Panel Says

    OWENSBORO, Ky. — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend insured directors and officers who were indicted for violating federal law by allegedly manipulating dust sampling equipment and testing processes at a company mine because the policies’ pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for the underlying claims against the insureds.

  • July 09, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses Insurer’s Subrogation Suit Over Defective Hoverboards

    CHICAGO — A federal judge on June 30 dismissed without prejudice an insurer’s subrogation lawsuit alleging that Amazon and two Chinese companies are responsible for defective hoverboards that purportedly caused fire damage to its insureds’ home one day after the insurer voluntarily dismissed its claims against the remaining defendants.

  • July 09, 2021

    S.C. Panel Affirms Court’s Grant Of Insurer’s Motion To Strike Jury Demand

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina appeals court on July 7 affirmed a lower court’s grant of an insurer’s motion to strike an insured’s jury trial demand in the insurer’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking to recoup unpaid premiums.

  • July 08, 2021

    Bifurcation Is Not Warranted In D&O Liability Coverage Dispute, Federal Judge Says

    DAYTON, Ohio — Bifurcation of an insured’s breach of contract claim from a bad faith claim in a dispute over coverage under a directors and officers (D&O) policy is not warranted because bifurcating the claims would not be efficient and the insurer failed to show how it would be prejudiced if the claims are not bifurcated, an Ohio federal judge said June 22 in denying the insurer’s motion for bifurcation.

  • July 08, 2021

    Texas High Court Resets Oral Argument For $1.2M Gold Coin Loss Coverage Suit

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on July 2 reset oral argument from Sept. 14 to Sept. 30 to answer the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ two certified questions in a coverage dispute over $1.2 million in stolen gold coins.

  • July 08, 2021

    Condo Owner Files Class Action Against Association, Insurers Over Surfside Collapse

    MIAMI — The owner of a Surfside, Fla., condominium that was destroyed in a June 24 collapse that killed at least 60 people filed a class action in a Florida court on July 7 against the condominium association and its insurers, seeking a declaratory judgment as to the parties’ rights and obligations under the policies for the property owners’ losses arising from the collapse.

  • July 08, 2021

    Judge:  Insurer’s Argument In Directors, Officers Coverage Dispute Is ‘Red Herring’

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on July 3 held that a directors and officers liability insurer has a duty to defend against underlying counterclaims alleging that executives made misrepresentations in connection with the sale of their parent company, granting the executives’ motion for judgment on the pleadings and denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss the executives’ lawsuit seeking coverage for their underlying defense costs.

  • July 07, 2021

    Insurer Has Duty To Defend Personal Injury Suit, Pennsylvania Panel Affirms

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Superior Court on July 1 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a tour company’s insurer has a duty to defend a tour company insured’s employee against an underlying personal injury lawsuit, rejecting the insurer’s argument that the employee failed to show that she was an insured as a condition precedent to coverage.

  • July 07, 2021

    Insureds Seeks N.C. High Court’s Immediate Review Of Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Restaurant insureds on June 24 asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to assume immediate jurisdiction of an insurer’s appeal of a lower court’s finding that “all-risk” insurance policies provide business income and extra expenses coverage for their loss of use and access to insured property mandated by the government response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the “long-term viability of small businesses across our State hangs in the balance.”

  • July 07, 2021

    Court Prematurely Dismissed COVID-19 Coverage Suit, Florida Restaurant Argues

    ATLANTA — A Florida restaurant owner in a July 2 brief argues that its insurance policy contemplates recovery for its lost income caused by business interruption when its business activities are suspended due to direct physical loss or damage, asking the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s “overhasty” dismissal of its coronavirus coverage lawsuit.

  • July 06, 2021

    New York Justice Grants Insurer’s Motion To Dismiss Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York justice on July 2 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a pizza place insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses and extra expenses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insurer’s documentary evidence “is of undisputed authenticity, unambiguous and undeniable, and has established defenses to the plaintiff’s claims as a matter of law, requiring dismissal of the complaint.”

  • July 06, 2021

    8th Circuit Affirms No Coverage For Oral Surgeons’ Losses Arising From COVID-19

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 2 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of Oral Surgeons PC’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for its losses arising from its closure prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured fails to allege any physical alteration of its property to trigger coverage.

  • July 02, 2021

    Federal Judge Rules For Insurer In Hampton Hotel Owner’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 28 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment lawsuit brought by the owner and operator of a Hampton Inn seeking overage for its losses arising from the slowdown of its business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the term “direct physical loss” is not ambiguous and that the insurer’s “proffered interpretation is the only reasonable one.”

  • July 02, 2021

    Judge: Virus Exclusions Bar Coverage For Business Losses Caused By Coronavirus

    WATERBURY, Conn. — A Connecticut judge on June 15 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit disputing coverage for its insureds’ business losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that a package policy’s New York-related virus exclusion bars all of the insureds’ losses in New York and that the general virus exclusion applies to all of their other claimed losses.

  • July 02, 2021

    No Coverage Owed For Cleanup Of Methamphetamine Contamination, Panel Says

    ST. LOUIS — The Second Division Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals on June 29 affirmed a trial court’s finding that no coverage is owed for the cleanup of methamphetamine contamination because the policy’s law and ordinance provision bars coverage for the cleanup of pollutants necessary to comply with an ordinance or law.