Mealey's Insurance

  • October 17, 2019

    Insurer, Asbestos Plaintiff Brief Washington Court On $4.5M Covenant Judgment

    SEATTLE — After two parties to an asbestos action reached a $4.5 million covenant judgment assigning insurance rights to the plaintiffs, those plaintiffs and the insurer have briefed a Washington appeals court on the propriety of that judgment (Robert P. Ulbricht, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 79490-6, Wash. App., Div. 1).

  • October 17, 2019

    Coverage Owed For Collapse Of Breezeway At Insured Building, Judge Says

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Oct. 15 granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insurer owes the insured coverage for the collapse of a breezeway at a building owned by the insured because the policy specifically states that coverage is afforded for collapse caused by the weight of people (DENC LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 18-754, M.D. N.C.).

  • October 17, 2019

    Defective Workmanship Does Not Constitute An Occurrence, Judge Says

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Oct. 15 granted a commercial general liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured subcontractor or an alleged additional insured contractor against a claim arising out of water and mold damages caused by the defective installation of air conditioning units by the subcontractor because defective workmanship does not constitute an occurrence under the policy (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Voegele Mechanical Inc, et al., No. 18-3959, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178038).

  • October 16, 2019

    Texas High Court Should Review Pollution Exclusion Ruling, Insured Contends

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court should grant review of an appeals court’s ruling that an insurer owes no duty to defend an insured against underlying allegations arising out of the insured’s aerial spraying of a herbicide based on an endorsement to the policy’s pollution exclusion because the underlying suit alleges damages that are potentially covered under the policy at issue, the insured argues in an Oct. 11 petition for review (RiceTec Inc. v. StarNet Insurance Co., No. 19-0927, Texas Sup.).

  • October 16, 2019

    Fraser’s Insurer Says Negative Ruling In Row Over Contribution Claims Was Error

    TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal bankruptcy court’s denial of an insurer’s bid to vacate a stipulated order barring its contribution claims against other insurers for asbestos claims against Chapter 11 debtor Fraser’s Boiler Service Inc. should be reversed because it goes against the law of the case, the insurer argues in an Oct. 1 opening brief on appeal in federal district court (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Fraser’s Boiler Service, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-5648, W.D. Wash.).

  • October 15, 2019

    Insurer Says 5th Circuit Should Affirm Ruling In Contamination Coverage Suit

    CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal should affirm a district court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage for environmental contamination claims asserted by neighbors of an insured property because the insured failed to provide timely notice of the claims, the insurer argues in an Oct. 3 appellee brief (Carmine Greene, et al. v. Kenneth Will, et al., No. 19-2260, 7th Cir.).

  • October 11, 2019

    Connecticut High Court Says Occupational Disease Exclusions Apply To Nonemployees

    HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court on Oct. 8 affirmed an appellate court’s finding that occupational disease exclusions included in two insurers’ policies bar coverage for occupational disease claims arising out of silica and asbestos exposure filed against the insured by both employees and nonemployees who developed asbestos-related diseases while using the insured’s talc while working for other employers (R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., et al., Nos. SC 20000, SC20001, SC20003, Conn. Sup., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 266).

  • October 10, 2019

    No Coverage Due For Water Damage Based On Seepage Exclusion, Judge Says

    MACON, Ga. — A Georgia federal judge on Oct. 9 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that no coverage is owed for water damage because the policy clearly excludes coverage for continuous seepage or leakage of water (Kimberly Landrum v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 18-458, M.D. Ga., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175664).

  • October 10, 2019

    Federal Judge Approves Settlement In Environmental Contamination Suit

    SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Oct. 1 approved the terms of a proposed settlement between an insured and one of its insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the terms of the settlement are reasonable (Seattle Times Co. v. National Surety Corp., et al., No. 13-1463, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174642).

  • October 10, 2019

    No Coverage Owed For Homeowner’s Claim For Cracking, Crumbling Walls

    ROCKVILLE, Conn. — A Connecticut state court judge on Sept. 5 granted two insurers’ motions for summary judgment in a suit filed by a homeowner seeking coverage for the cracking and deterioration of the home’s basement walls after determining that the homeowner’s suit is barred by the suit limitation provision in one of the policies and that no coverage is afforded under the  second policy's additional coverage for collapse (Sharon A. Giguere v. Great American Insurance  Co., et al., No. TTD-CV-176012558-S, Conn. Super., Tolland Dist., 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2483).

  • October 10, 2019

    Interlocutory Appeal Not Warranted In Environmental Suit, Missouri Judge Says

    JOPLIN, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on Sept. 5 denied an insurer’s motion for certification of an order of interlocutory appeal on a choice-of-law determination ruling in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insurer failed to prove that the case is an exceptional one that warrants immediate appeal (Butterball LLC v. Great American E&S Insurance Co., No. 18-5074, W.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173975).

  • October 09, 2019

    No Coverage Due For Collapse Of Exterior Wall, Appeals Panel Affirms

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.— No coverage is owed for the collapse of an exterior brick veneer wall because the collapse was not abrupt and was caused by deterioration of the wall’s materials, an excluded cause of loss, the Western District Missouri Court of Appeals said Oct. 8 in affirming a summary judgment ruling in favor of the homeowners insurer (Dominic Messina v. Shelter Insurance Co., No. WD82313, Mo. App., W.D., 2019 Mo. App. LEXIS 1612).

  • October 09, 2019

    Apartment Manager, Insurer Debate Punitive Damages Award Coverage In 10th Circuit

    LOGAN, Utah — With primary briefing complete and scheduled Oct. 22 oral arguments approaching, the parties in an insurance coverage dispute over punitive damages for a carbon monoxide poisoning incident submitted supplemental briefs at the direction of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals addressing the diversity of the parties and suggesting that a party that has known issues on appeal be dismissed from the case (Interstate Fire & Casualty Co., et al. v. Apartment Management Consultants LLC, et al., No. 18-8058, 10th Cir.).

  • October 09, 2019

    No Coverage Owed For 2 Construction Defect Actions, Insurer Argues To 3rd Circuit

    PHILADELPHIA — An insurer on Sept. 9 asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a federal court’s ruling that it has a duty to defend two construction defect actions, disputing the finding that there are sufficient allegations of products-related tort claims such that there may have been an “occurrence” (Nautilus Insurance Company v. 200 Christian Street Partners LLC, et al., Nos. 19-1507 and 19-1506, 3rd Cir.).

  • October 08, 2019

    High Court Denies Review Of Recusal Decision In Lead Paint Poisoning Coverage Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied a petition for writ of certiorari in a lead paint poisoning coverage suit, refusing to consider whether the plaintiffs’ state and federal constitutional due process rights were violated by a trial court judge’s refusal to recuse himself (Jonathan Quinn, et al., v. Truck Insurance Exchange, et al., No. 19-173,  U.S. Sup.).

  • October 04, 2019

    Sinkhole Collapse Exception To Earth Movement Exclusion Does Not Trigger Coverage

    BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Maryland on Sept. 30 held that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that an insured’s collapse claim was not covered under an insurance policy, granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment as to the insured’s breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims (Blissful Enterprises, Inc. v. Cincinnati Insurance Company, No. 18-1221, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169768).

  • October 04, 2019

    Kaiser Gypsum Insurer’s Suit Alleging Breaches Of Policies Stayed By Judge

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An attempt by an insurer of Chapter 11 debtors Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. and Hanson Permanente Cement Inc. failed in its attempt to have an adversary case it filed moved from federal bankruptcy court to federal district court when a North Carolina federal judge on Oct. 1 stayed its transfer request pending action in the bankruptcy court on competing reorganization plans for the debtors (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 3:19-cv-467, W.D. N.C.).

  • October 03, 2019

    Federal Asbestos Coverage Suit Stayed Until Parallel State Lawsuit Is Resolved

    CINCINNATI — An Ohio federal judge on Oct. 2 stayed an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of an insured’s liability for underlying asbestos claims after determining that the insured’s federal suit presents the same issues as a prior state court lawsuit filed by the insured and currently on appeal (William Powell v. National Indemnity Co. et al., No. 14-807,  S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170833).

  • October 03, 2019

    Homeowners Insurer Breached Contract In Denying Water Damage Claim, Judge Says

    LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on Sept. 30 determined that a homeowners insurer breached its contract in denying a claim for water damage caused by vermin or rodents chewing on a water supply line because the policy clearly afforded coverage for the loss; however, the judge determined that questions of fact exist as to whether the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of the insureds’ claim (Robert and Myrna Danganan v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-2786, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169806). 

  • October 02, 2019

    Pro Rata Allocation Method Is Proper For Lead-Based Exposure Claims, Judge Says

    BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on Oct. 1 denied a defendant’s motion to stay an insurer’s suit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying lead exposure claim and denied the defendant’s motion for certification on the proper allocation method for the lead-based exposure claim after determining that Maryland state and federal courts have established that the pro rata allocation method is the proper method for lead-based exposure claims (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Tornesha Gaines, et al., No. 19-239, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170042).