BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Nov. 14 held that plaintiffs cannot recover under an insurance policy’s employment practices liability or directors and officers liability coverage for the underlying $725,000 settlement of a shareholder lawsuit (Madison Mechanical, Inc, et al. v. Twin City Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-01357, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198092).
MINNEAPOLIS — Citing a multimillion dollar coverage dispute of more than five years with its primary insurer over its settlement with a group of financial institutions (FIs) over a 2013 data breach, Target Corp. filed breach of contract claims against the insurer in Minnesota federal court on Nov. 15, seeking coverage declarations and damages (Target Corp. v. ACE American Insurance Co., et al., No. 0:19-cv-02916, D. Minn.).
CHICAGO — An architectural firm insured and its professional liability insurer on Nov. 12 filed a voluntary stipulation of dismissal of the insurer’s declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging damages in a house that was designed by the insured one week after a federal judge in Illinois held that the insurer has no duty to defend the insured (Wesco Insurance Company v. Elements Architectural Group, Inc., No. 18-2743, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192346).
ST. LOUIS — Insureds notified a federal court in Missouri on Nov. 15 that they will ask the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review a magistrate judge’s dismissal of their claims for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay brought against a directors and officers liability insurer (Verto Medical Solutions, LLC, et al. v. Allied World Specialty Insurance Company, No. 19-01532, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190779).
SAN FRANCISCO — An appellant recently asked a California appeals court to reverse a lower court’s ruling that stayed his declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing the validity of a professional liability insurer’s subrogation claim against his family trust, arguing that the stay “has no legal basis” (John Berman v. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, No. A155394, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 3).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 12 held that all underlying personal injury claims against a concert operator “arise from” a security company’s “acts or omissions” in the performance of security services and, as a result, fall under the scope of a vendor services agreement’s indemnification clause and trigger coverage under a commercial general liability insurance policy (Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. v. Secura Insurance, et al., No. 17-216, W.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195830).
ALBANY, N.Y. — After reversing a lower court’s order that granted a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed defendant insurers’ two affirmative defenses, a New York appeals panel on Nov. 13 awarded summary judgment in favor of the insurers and dismissed the lawsuit seeking recovery of an underlying $3.25 million judgment against the insured (Chaya Plotkin v. Republic-Franklin Insurance Company, et al., No. 2016-04231, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8234).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s summary judgment rulings in a coverage dispute arising from an electrocution death caused by a generator that was designed, sold and monitored by the insured (Aggreko, L.L.C. v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Company, et al., No. 18-40325, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33637).
DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on Oct. 25 denied the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) motion to stay its insurer’s rescission lawsuit pending resolution of underlying lawsuits alleging that it knew or should have known about sexual abuse committed against Olympic athletes and should have done more to stop the abuse (Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company v. United States Olympic Committee, No. 19-01231, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193192).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 8 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a professional liability insurance policy's outside business exclusion precludes coverage for underlying claims against a law firm insured and one of its attorneys (Westport Insurance Corporation v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 18-3551, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33480).
DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa panel on Nov. 6 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of a commercial general liability insurer in its lawsuit disputing coverage for underlying federal litigation brought against its insured, concluding that the insured’s intentional act of removing dirt from unauthorized borrow sites to reshape a levee fails to qualify as an occurrence under the policy (Addison Insurance Company v. MEP Co., No. 17-2091, Iowa App., 2019 Iowa App. LEXIS 1006).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Nov. 4 held that a lower court did not err in finding that the state does not recognize an insurance agent’s duty to advise an insured of its coverage needs and the special relationship exception that would trigger that duty, affirming the lower court’s grant of the agent’s motion for summary judgment on the insured’s negligent procurement claims (Mine Temp, LLC v. Wells Fargo Insurance Services of West Virginia, Inc., No. 18-0755, W.Va. App., 2019 W. Va. LEXIS 511).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 5 vacated and remanded a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in its subrogation lawsuit seeking recovery of its losses involving a combine harvester that was damaged during transportation from Kentucky to Florida (Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company v. Digit Dirt Worx, Inc., et al., No. 19-11887, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33013).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel on Nov. 4 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured against an underlying class action alleging violations of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance but that its refusal to provide a defense did not constitute bad faith (Evergreen Real Estate Services LLC v. Hanover Insurance Company, et al., No. 1-18-1867, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2019 Ill. App. LEXIS 868).
By Robert M. Hall
CINCINNATI — A majority of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 30 reversed a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer, concluding that the policy’s subrogation waiver is ambiguous as to whether the insurer can sue an additional insured for damage caused by negligence (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. Sunbelt Rentals, Inc., No. 18-5617, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32461).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on Oct. 28 granted commercial general liability insurers’ motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute arising from underlying claims that consumers were misled by grated parmesan cheese product labels, finding that none of the underlying allegations alleges personal injury, property damage or any other occurrence to trigger coverage under the policies (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. ICCO Cheese Co. Inc., No. 652787/2016, N.Y, Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5842).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A question certified to the Florida Supreme Court by a Florida state appellate panel in a malpractice insurance dispute is too broad and failed to properly recognize that, under state law, two “distinct types of tripartite relationship may be created,” a law firm argues in an Oct. 2 respondent’s brief filed in the state Supreme Court (Arch Insurance Company v. Kubicki Draper LLP, No. 19-673, Fla. Sup.).
NEW YORK — An insurer owes no coverage under a policy’s pollution loss coverage provision for underlying lawsuits arising out of a fire at a Texas oil refinery because the policy’s pollution loss provision does not apply to the underlying suits; however, the insurer may owe coverage under the policy’s professional services coverage provision as a question of fact exists on the type of services the insured provided prior to the refinery fire, a New York federal judge said Oct. 31 (James River Insurance Co. et al., v. Indian Harbor Insurance Co., No.18-767, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189286).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon on Oct. 31 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its interpleader and declaratory judgment lawsuit arising from underlying sexual and nonsexual misconduct claims against its preshool and elementary school insured, rejecting the insurer’s argument that it extinguished its duties to defend and indemnify by placing a $100,000 interpleader deposit into the court’s registry (United States Fire Insurance Company v. Mother Earth School, et al., No. 18-01762, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188826).