JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 14 said the court will defer ruling on an insured’s motion for summary judgment in a novel coronavirus coverage dispute until after ruling on a motion to certify a class to “avoid the potential unfairness to” the insurer (Windber Hospital v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 20-00080, W.D. Pa.).
CINCINNATI — An insured on July 6 responded to an insurer’s motion to certify to the Ohio Supreme Court three questions as to whether the presence of the novel coronavirus constitutes direct physical loss, arguing that the questions “do not involve novel or intricate questions of state law nor do they affect vital state interests” and “are not unique to Ohio policyholders and, in reality, are not even questions of Ohio law in any meaningful sense” (Troy Stacy Enterprises Inc. v.The Cincinnati Insurance Company, No. 20-00312, S.D. Ohio).
PHILADELPHIA — Three minor league baseball teams on July 2 sued their insurer in a Pennsylvania court for breach of contract and declaratory relief, seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Nostalgic Partners LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 200700054, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge on June 29 recommended granting a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a water damage coverage suit because the evidence clearly shows that the insured made false statements about personal property allegedly damaged by water (Anthony Cimato Jr. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 16-94, W.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115934).
HONOLULU — The Hawaii Supreme Court on June 30 vacated a judgment entered for an employer and its workers’ compensation insurer after determining that the employer failed to meet its burden of proving that the employee’s injury caused by his exposure to mold was not work related (Jay D. Cadiz v. QSI Inc., et al., No. SCWC-14-0000594, Hawaii Sup., 2020 Haw. LEXIS 200).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — An insurer removed an asbestos coverage dispute “on dubious grounds, hoping to achieve what it perceives to be a more favorable forum,” Covil Corp. tells a South Carolina federal court in a July 7 reply brief, seeking remand of its case, which also involves the South Carolina Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (SCPCIGA) (Covil Corporation v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-1979, D. S.C.).
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on July 8 provided an insured with additional time to submit evidence in support of a motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of the collapse of a roof on the insured’s summer cabin (Nigel Groves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. S.I., No. 19-1453, E.D. Wis., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119553).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 7 dismissed a lawsuit against an insurer over coverage for homeowners’ personal injuries resulting from mold contamination because the homeowners lack standing to sue and the insured’s declaratory judgment claim regarding the insurer’s duty to indemnify is unripe (Joseph Oliver Construction, LLC, et al. v. Utica First Insurance Company, No. 19-4352, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118595).
LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan judge granted an insurer’s motion for summary disposition during a July 1 hearing broadcasted on the judge’s personal meeting room on YouTube, finding that an insured’s complaint alleging loss of business due to shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus contains “no allegations of direct, physical loss of or damage to” its restaurants (Gavrilides Management Company LLC, et al. v. Michigan Insurance Co., No. 20-000258-CB, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of two San Francisco restaurants have failed to state any claim for relief in arguing that their insurer breached the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for losses the restaurants suffered as a result of stay-at-home orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic because they have failed to sufficiently show that their losses fall within the policies’ business income or civil authority additional coverages, the insurer argues in a June 29 motion to dismiss in California federal court (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH — A restaurant and tavern operator filed a class action against its “all-risk” commercial property insurer for breach of contract and declaratory relief in a federal court in Pennsylvania on June 11, arguing that its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders “arise from direct physical loss or damage” and that the policy’s virus exclusion does not apply (1 S.A.N.T., Inc. v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., et al., No. 20-862, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — A Manhattan law firm on June 29 filed a class action in a federal court in New York alleging that its “all risk” commercial property insurer breached their contract by refusing to pay claims related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insurance policy “exemplifies the broken promise from insurance companies across the country” (Siegel & Siegel, et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-04993, S.D. N.Y.).
LOS ANGELES — A law firm insured on July 6 replied to a business owners insurer’s opposition to its earlier motion asking a federal court in California to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that the presence or suspected presence of the novel coronavirus does not constitute “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage for the insured’s claimed loss of income (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, No. 20-03619, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA — A property insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith in using a pollution exclusion to deny coverage for business interruption and extra expenses arising out of the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an insured contends in a June 24 complaint filed in Pennsylvania court (Fegley Management & Energy, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 200601426, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on June 30 dismissed an insurer’s suit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying environmental contamination suit after determining that it is more appropriate for the Massachusetts state court to decide the coverage issue because that is where the underlying suit is pending (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. MRH Indian Enterprises LLC d/b/a A Plus Waste Recycling, et al., No. 19-11878, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114472).
SEATTLE — A dentist insured argues in a June 26 reply that stay of his class action seeking coverage for losses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is warranted in “the interest of judicial economy, potential cost savings, and because there will be little, if any, prejudice” to the insurer “during the anticipated short duration of the requested stay” (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).
PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on July 2 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of their breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia federal magistrate judge on June 30 said that documents created by an insured after a property insurer denied coverage for the collapse of the insured’s silo are protected because the documents were prepared in anticipation of litigation (Ramaco Resources LLC v. Federal Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-703, S.D. W.Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113813).
BAY CITY, Mich. — A chiropractor insured filed a class action complaint in a Michigan federal court challenging insurers’ “systematic and uniform refusal to pay insureds” for their losses arising from Michigan’s March 24 executive order and related actions that suspended business operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Turek Enterprises, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-11655, E.D. Mich.).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia federal judge on June 29 partially granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the term “decay” as used in a policy’s collapse provision is ambiguous (Derbyshire Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-731, E.D. Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113346).