CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A magistrate judge correctly found that an insurance policy does not provide for arbitration in a dispute with former Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and affiliates over coverage for asbestos claims, the companies argue in a Nov. 9 response to the insurer’s objections to the magistrate’s ruling in North Carolina federal court (Safety National Casualty Corp. v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00458, W.D. N.C.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. sought relief Oct. 24 from the automatic stay in the debtor’s case in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court so they can pursue the repayment of their costs from the debtor’s primary insurer in a 15-year-old coverage action in a California state court (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 entered a judgment of more than $3.5 million against an insurance company in a dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company’s liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, including attorney fees and a $60,000 penalty for the insurer’s “vexatious and unreasonable conduct” in the case (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, [Barry A. Chatz, as Trustee for the CFB/WFB Liquidating Trust v. Continental Casualty Company, No. 15-4136] N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3938).
ST. LOUIS — No coverage is afforded for an underlying suit alleging claims related to the cleanup of lead dust after the removal of lead paint from a high school because the policy’s pollution endorsement applies only in limited circumstances and the policy’s lead exclusion clearly bars coverage, a Missouri federal judge said Nov. 20 (Rice Painting Co. Inc. v. Depositors Insurance Co., No. 15-1064, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191355).
UTICA, N.Y. — In a dispute over a $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, a New York federal judge on Nov. 16 addressed a number of motions filed by an insurer and a reinsurer to preclude expert testimony and certain arguments from trial (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189911).
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on Nov. 17 granted an insured’s motion to strike five of its insurer’s affirmative defenses after finding that the individual counts asserted by the insurer are redundant (Explorer Pipeline Co. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., No. 17-330, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190550).
TRENTON, N.J. — An insurer owes no additional coverage to its insureds for mold damages caused by a leaking water pipe in the wall of a shower because the policy at issue clearly limited coverage for mold damage to $10,000 under a mold rider, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court said Nov. 15 (Eugene J. Payor, et al. v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., No. A-0345-16T2, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2851).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Nov. 16 determined that questions of material fact exist regarding the application of an insurer’s exclusions for deterioration and rot to an insured condominium association’s claim for water intrusion damages that occurred over time to the exterior cladding of two of the association’s buildings (Sunwood Condominium Association v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 16-1012, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189892).
LOS ANGELES — A homeowner “who is aware, long before a rainstorm occurs and causes damage, of possible leakage” caused by construction defects cannot reasonably expect an insurer to pay for repairs on the theory that rainwater, and not the defects, caused the damage, a California appeals panel affirmed Nov. 14 (Simon Cohen, et al. v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co., No. B276060, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7779).
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court on Oct. 18 agreed to review a number of issues decided by the Connecticut Appellate Court in an asbestos and silica coverage dispute after a number of the insurers and the insured petitioned the high court for review (R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., et al., Nos. SC 20000, SC20001, SC20003, Conn. Sup., 2017 Conn. LEXIS 320, 2017 Conn. LEXIS 326, 2017 Conn. LEXIS 322).
CHICAGO — No coverage is owed for an underlying asbestos personal injury suit filed against an insured because the policies’ pollution exclusion and silica exclusion preclude coverage, the insurers assert in a Nov. 3 complaint filed in Illinois federal court (All America Insurance Co., et al. v. Banner Truck & Trailer Sales Inc., et al., No. 17-1214, S.D. Ill.).
ATLANTA — A Georgia federal judge on Nov. 3 awarded an insured more than $1.1 million for contamination claims arising out of the operation of a battery plant after rejecting the insurer’s argument that the insured failed to meet the policy’s deductible (ACE American Insurance Co. v. Exide Technologies Inc., et al., No. 16-1600, N.D. Ga.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An Oregon federal judge erred in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in a dispute over coverage for underlying carbon monoxide poisoning suits because the pollution exclusion in the policy at issue does not apply to carbon monoxide as it is not an irritant or contaminant, an insured argues in an Oct. 23 brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Colony Insurance Co. v. Victory Construction LLC, et al., No. 17-35357, 9th Cir.).
NEW BERN, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 9 determined that California law should be applied to a dispute over coverage for water damages because the policy at issue was issued in California and the insured’s principal place of business is in California (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London v. American Realty Advisors, et al., Nos. 16-940, 17-74, E.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185842).
DETROIT — Finding that tenants' use of an insured’s commercial property units to grow marijuana was illegal or at the very least dishonest, a Michigan federal judge on Nov. 8 held that coverage for the insured’s losses arising from this activity is barred by an insurance policy’s illegal/dishonest acts provision, as well as two other policy exclusions (K.V.G. Properties Inc. v. Westfield Insurance Co., No. 16-11561, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185005).
UTICA, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Nov. 7 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss eight claims alleged by an insured seeking coverage for water and mold damages after determining that the insured plausibly alleged that the insurer breached its contract but failed to prove that the insurer’s conduct amounted to any tortious behavior (Edmund G. Sanderson v. First Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 16-644, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184468).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on Nov. 7 partially granted an insured’s motion to strike its insurer’s affirmative defenses as they pertained to the insurer’s reservation of rights because the assertion of a reservation of rights is not an affirmative defense (Kapow of Boca Raton Inc. et al. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-80972, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184224).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey judge on Oct. 16 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by a number of insurers involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that at least two occurrences contributed to the contamination of a New Jersey river (Cooper Industries LLC v. Employers Insurance of Wausau et al., No. L-9284-11, N.J. Super., Essex Co., Law Div.).
HAMMOND, Ind. — No coverage is owed for an underlying suit seeking damages as a result of the deaths of four family members caused by carbon monoxide poisoning because the underlying claims alleged against the insureds arose out of the insureds’ contract with the homeowner and do not allege an occurrence for which coverage exists, an Indiana federal judge said Oct. 31 (Allstate Insurance Co. v. McColly Realtors Inc. et al., No. 16-142, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179793).
ELGIN, Ill. — A fungi and bacteria exclusion does not apply to preclude otherwise covered property damage from construction defects, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed Nov. 2, finding that an insurer had a duty to defend an underlying action (Pekin Insurance Co. v. JB Architecture Group Inc., et al., No. 15-MR-1755, Ill. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2236).