SEATTLE — Insurers recently asked a Washington appeals court to reverse a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a plaintiff in its lawsuit seeking reimbursement for the alleged sums it spent responding to a pollution site, asserting that the lower court “committed fundamental errors” as to the viability of the plaintiff’s “scheme to procure a judgment against a defunct company” and “undo” previous settlements reached between the now-defunct company and its insurers.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 8 entered judgment in a lawsuit alleging that an insurer breached a business owners insurance policy when it denied coverage for a catering company insured’s business losses as a result of government-ordered restrictions in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured has failed to sufficiently plead facts to demonstrate that it incurred a direct physical loss of or physical damage to its property within the meaning of the policy.
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 4 held that a primary insurer’s duty under G.A. Stowers Furniture Co. v. Am. Indem. Co. was triggered by a third offer to settle an underlying negligence lawsuit arising from a fatal collision with a stopped truck and that the insurer violated its settlement duty, affirming a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of an excess insurer seeking reimbursement for its nearly $8 million contribution to the $10 million settlement following a $28 million jury verdict.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Denying in part an insurer’s motion to dismiss a class action seeking coverage for losses arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in California on March 4 held that it is plausible that “direct physical loss” of a beauty salon’s property “includes physical dispossession because of dangerous conditions (a virus in the air) or a civil authority order” that required the salon to close.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 4 ordered an insurer to pay Roc Nation LLC its direct ascertained net loss of $12,529,222 under a critical asset protection policy minus the amounts generated by Jordan Feldstein while he was alive and performing services, noting that these amounts do not include post-death revenue such as from artists that were formerly associated with Feldstein or his talent management agency.
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on March 4 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a hotel and restaurant owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that although the insured has alleged “that COVID-19 survives and remains infectious on surfaces and objects for days,” it “has not alleged that COVID-19 was discovered in any of its covered properties.”
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Feb. 24 dismissed an insured’s suit alleging that an auto insurer violated Illinois’ consumer fraud act and acted in bad faith by not offering adequate premium relief to its policyholders in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic after determining that there is no support for the insured’s claims.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) on Jan. 27 filed notice of a cross-appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals one week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the state’s General Assembly filed their appeals in the parties’ dispute over whether recent legislation violated the JUA’s constitutional rights.
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Georgia on March 3 dismissed some of the claims and defendants in a professional liability insurance coverage dispute arising from the death of a liposuction patient and transferred the remaining claims to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
WILMINGTON, Del. — The Delaware Supreme Court on March 3 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that applied Delaware law and the “larger settlement rule” in an excess insurance coverage dispute that resulted in a $10 million judgment plus $2,321,095.90 in prejudgment interest in favor of Dole Food Co. and its directors and officers but affirmed the court’s finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith.
PHILADELPHIA — An insurer recently asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling that remanded a restaurant owner insured’s novel coronavirus coverage lawsuit to a New Jersey court, challenging the federal court’s finding that it should abstain from hearing the lawsuit “as a matter of comity” considering the “unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting legal issues."
FRANKLIN, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 4 on whether an underlying breach of contract, negligence and product liability lawsuit over contaminated glass containers triggered coverage under a commercial umbrella liability insurance policy.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Jan. 26 that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) appeal of a lower court’s ruling that an insurance policy’s “Related Wrongful Acts” exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging antitrust violations merits oral argument.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Granting private equity firm insureds’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, a Delaware judge on Feb. 26 held that the insureds’ $120 million settlement with the bankruptcy estate of a retail fashion holding company that they acquired is insurable under state law.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on March 10 as to whether an insurer has a duty to defend against claims that its insured violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act.
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on March 1 denied insurers’ application for certification of interlocutory appeal of a Feb. 2 ruling that granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment and denied in part the insurers’ motion for summary judgment as to the insured’s claims that they wrongfully denied coverage for its defense fees and settlement costs incurred in an underlying class action that challenged proxy solicitation statements regarding a merger, finding that “there are no measurable pros to certification.”
LAS VEGAS — A judgment was entered in favor of an insurer on Feb. 26, one day after a federal judge in Nevada found that the insurance policy does not cover the restaurant insureds’ losses arising from the government’s suspension of on-site dining in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and does not include onsite food service as one of the insured’s covered products.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 26 upheld an insurer’s summary judgment award in a declaratory judgment suit brought by a concrete maker alleging that its insurer had a duty to indemnify and defend it in a state court lawsuit brought against a masonry subcontractor, holding that the insurer was not required to defend or indemnify its insured because the subcontractor did not complain of property damage as a result of allegedly defective concrete.
WARREN, Ohio — A majority of an Ohio appeals court panel on Feb. 22 held that fact issues preclude summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from a dog bite, reversing a lower court in part and remanding for further proceedings.
LAS VEGAS — An all-risk insurer owes no coverage to an insured casino operator for losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the policy’s pollutant or contaminants exclusion clearly bars coverage; however, the insured is permitted to amend its complaint to assert additional facts in support of its unfair claims practices claim, a Nevada federal judge said Feb. 26.