Mealey's Emerging Insurance Disputes

  • January 19, 2021

    New York Justice: Insurer Has No Duty To Defend, Indemnify Personal Injury Suit

    NEW YORK — A New York justice on Dec. 1 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment and declared that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against an underlying personal injury lawsuit because the insured did not reside at the “insured premises” at the time of the loss as required by the insurance policy.

  • January 15, 2021

    U.K. High Court Majority: Business Interruption Coverage Owed For COVID-19 Losses

    LONDON — A majority of the United Kingdom Supreme Court held Jan. 15 that a variety of insurance policy wordings cover policyholders’ business interruption losses resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent public health measures taken by authorities.

  • January 15, 2021

    Panel Rejects Excess Insurer’s Collateral Challenge To $9.5M Wrongful Death Judgment

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri appeals panel on Jan. 12 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling against an excess insurer in an equitable garnishment lawsuit seeking to recover the outstanding balance of a $9.5 million wrongful death judgment, finding that the statutory bar has no effect on subject matter jurisdiction and does not void the judgment.

  • January 14, 2021

    Insured Intentionally Transferred Payments; No Coverage Owed, 8th Circuit Affirms

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 held that an underlying lawsuit against a law firm insured does not allege an “occurrence” to trigger coverage, affirming a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of a commercial insurer.

  • January 14, 2021

    Federal Judge Stays Insurer’s Coverage Suit Arising From Altercation At Concert

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Jan. 11 granted an insured’s motion to stay a commercial general liability insurer’s lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying action arising from an altercation at a punk rock concert, finding that a stay is mandatory because “the same factual disputes are at the foundation of both the state court litigation and the federal coverage action.”

  • January 13, 2021

    Products-Completed Exclusion Bars Coverage For Injuries Caused By Battery Explosion

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge in Missouri on Jan. 12 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in its lawsuit challenging coverage for an underlying injury lawsuit brought against its electronic cigarette seller insured, finding that the policy’s products-completed exclusion is unambiguous and “clearly” bars coverage.

  • January 13, 2021

    Insurer Says High Court Review Not Warranted In Gas Well Damage Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny review of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ May 12 dismissal of an insured’s appeal in an oil and gas well damage suit for lack of jurisdiction because there is no circuit split regarding the finality of judgments, the insurer contends in its Jan. 11 response brief to the high court.

  • January 13, 2021

    Judge Refuses To Reconsider No Coverage Ruling In Dentist’s Suit Prompted By COVID-19

    CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 10 denied a dental provider insured’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling that the insured failed to allege a “direct physical loss” to trigger coverage for its financial losses as a result of the novel coronavirus closure orders, further finding that it would be futile to allow the insured to amend the complaint.

  • January 13, 2021

    Judge Declines To Retain Jurisdiction Over Bowling Alley’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 11 declined to exercise jurisdiction over a bowling alley insured’s declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer, noting that because of the “relative recency” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, “Pennsylvania state courts have not yet developed a body of case law applicable to the state law issues presented in this case.”

  • January 13, 2021

    BancInsure Inc.’s Receiver: There Is No Direct Action For Damages Against D&O Insurer

    OKLAHOMA CITY — BancInsure Inc.’s receiver argues in a Dec. 15 sur-reply to an Oklahoma federal court that its declaratory judgment action against a directors and officers insurer should not be dismissed because his suit is not a “direct action” to recover money damages against an insurer.

  • January 12, 2021

    Earth Movement Exclusion Bars Coverage For Damage Caused By Rockfall, Panel Affirms

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a homeowners insurance policy’s “earth movement” exclusion barred coverage for Colorado insureds’ property damage that was caused by a rockfall, further affirming the court’s denial of the insureds’ motion to certify five coverage questions of law to the Colorado Supreme Court.

  • January 12, 2021

    Insurer Seeks Dismissal Of Franchise Owners’ $41M Coronavirus Coverage Lawsuit

    NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer on Jan. 7 moved a New Jersey federal court to dismiss a breach of contract and reformation lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton, contending that although the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent “Stay-at Home” orders  “have had an adverse economic impact” on the insureds’ business operations, “claims for such intangible economic damage simply are not within the scope of the property insurance policy.”

  • January 11, 2021

    Insured Asks 7th Circuit To Grant Sanctions For Insurer’s ‘Frivolous’ 3rd Appeal

    CHICAGO — An insured on Nov. 25 asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to impose sanctions on an insurer for its “frivolous” third appeal in a coverage dispute arising from underlying trade dress infringement claims that were brought against the insured almost nine years ago.

  • January 11, 2021

    Insurers Say Pollution Exclusions Bar Coverage For Fiberglass Insulation Dispersal

    TULSA, Okla. — No coverage is owed for an underlying suit alleging that an insured’s negligent installation of a heating and air conditioning system caused fiberglass insulation to contaminate a home because the total pollution exclusion endorsements in the insured’s primary and umbrella insurance policies bar coverage, the insurers contend in a Jan. 8 complaint filed in Oklahoma federal court.

  • January 11, 2021

    Retailer Asks To Certify Question In COVID-19 Coverage Suit To California High Court

    SAN FRANCISCO — A retailer insured on Jan. 7 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to certify a question to the California Supreme Court in its lawsuit seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “profound legal, economic, and practical consequences will follow from the determination of whether the phrase ‘physical loss of or damage to’ in business interruption insurance policies reasonably includes government-imposed shutdown orders issued amid COVID-19.”

  • January 11, 2021

    New York Justice Won’t Dismiss Insured’s Negligence Suit Against Insurance Broker

    NEW YORK — A New York justice on Dec. 23 denied an insurance broker’s motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of an insured’s claim that it failed to procure the insured’s requested business interruption coverage, finding that the complaint “cannot be dismissed on the basis that no special relationship arose between the parties."

  • January 11, 2021

    U.S. High Court Refuses To Review Appeal Of Employment Practices Coverage Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 denied an insurer’s petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a Montana Supreme Court ruling that a lower court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over the insurer under Montana's long-arm statute and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment in the insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for an underlying class action employment dispute.

  • January 11, 2021

    Parties In Listeria Contamination Suit Must Settle Issue Of Covered Defense Costs

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 8 denied an insurer’s motion for reconsideration in a coverage dispute over an underlying Listeria contamination suit filed against the insured and ordered the parties to negotiate a settlement between the covered and noncovered claims.

  • January 11, 2021

    Insured Asks 3rd Circuit To Find Malicious Prosecution Was Alleged To Trigger Coverage

    PHILADELPHIA —A Philadelphia building owner insured recently asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of its commercial general liability insurer, arguing that an underlying abuse-of-process claim alleges facts that constitute a malicious prosecution claim that triggers coverage under the policy.

  • January 07, 2021

    COMMENTARY: A Statistical Analysis Of Insurance Law Decisions By New York’s Highest Court

    By Evan H. Krinick