NEW YORK — An asbestos personal injury settlement trust can pursue the full limits of excess policies issued by an insolvent insurer, the First Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division affirmed April 18 because the coverage dispute is governed by the “all sums” method of allocation (In re liquidation of Midland Insurance Co.; The ASARCO Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust v. Superintendent of Financial Services of the State of New York, No. 41294/86, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2952).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 17 reversed a federal court’s finding that a site pollution legal liability insurer waived its subrogation rights under an onshore master services agreement (MSA) but affirmed the court’s dismissal of the breach of contract claim against the insurer for lack of personal jurisdiction (Halliburton Energy Services Inc. v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-20678 consolidated with No. 18-20239, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11255).
MIAMI — The Third District Florida Court of Appeal on April 17 reversed a trial court’s ruling that a policy’s total pollution exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims alleged against a fire protection systems contractor because the trial court improperly relied on extrinsic evidence in granting the insurer’s motion (Advanced Systems Inc. v. Gotham Insurance Co., No. 3D18-1744, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 5933).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in a water and mold damage dispute because the insureds did not comply with all of their duties under the policy, the North Carolina Court of Appeals said April 16 (Barbara C. Lyon, et al. v. Service Team of Professionals [Eastern Carolina] LLC, d/b/a 24/Store, et al., No. COA18-627, N.C. App., 2019 N.C. App. LEXIS 359).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 15 reversed a lower federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on the question of whether the cause of the insured’s damage was an "external" force not covered under an all risks insurance policy, finding that “at the very least” there is a triable issue of fact as to whether the insured’s loss was fortuitous (Ingenco Holdings LLC, et al. v. Ace American Insurance Company, No. 16-35792, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10946).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 15 issued amended summary orders in two separate cases filed by homeowners who seek coverage for deteriorating and cracking basement walls in Connecticut homes, reiterating that the policies’ collapse provision does not provide coverage for the defective foundation walls because there was no sudden and accidental collapse as required by the policies (Glenn R. Carlson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-3501, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10948; Alan D. Lees, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 18-007, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10949).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 1 granted an insured’s motion to dismiss an insurer’s declaratory judgment suit arising out of coverage for underlying asbestos claims after determining that the insurer failed to provide any evidence that it is entitled to reimbursement of defense costs paid on behalf of the insured based on the insured’s settlement with a liquidator handling the insolvency of another insurer (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Blackman Plumbing Supply Co. Inc., No. 650059/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1694).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A general contractor insured on April 8 filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that materials used as new fill for the levees in a flood protection project were deficient (Brosamer & Wall, Inc. v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company, No. 19-872, N.D. Calif.).
CONCORD, N.H. — Reinsurers on April 9 asked a New Hampshire federal court to dismiss or stay insurers’ breach of contract case over $22 million in outstanding reinsurance billings because a lawsuit pending in a New Jersey state court can resolve all rights and obligations (United States Fire Insurance Co., et al. v. Equitas Insurance Ltd., et al., No. 18-01205, D. N.H.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A reinsurer notified a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 9 of its intent to appeal an order compelling it and an insurer to arbitrate their reinsurance coverage dispute over lead paint losses arising in the Maryland area (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Everest Reinsurance Co., No. 18-mc-653 c/w No. 18-mc-656, M.D. Pa.).
CHICAGO — An excess property and business interruption insurer claims in an April 5 complaint filed in Illinois federal court that it is entitled to rescind an excess policy issued to an insured poultry-processing company because the insured did not provide the excess insurer with accurate risk values of the properties for which it sought coverage (Arch Specialty Insurance Co. v. Koch Foods Inc., No. 19-2323, N.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE — A trial judge erred in concluding that the only reasonable interpretation of “decay” under an insurance policy is one that indicates some kind of decomposition of the material, a Washington appeals panel held April 8, reversing the entry of summary judgment to an insurer in a coverage dispute following a partial collapse of an insured’s building (Feenix Parkside LLC v. Berkley North Pacific, et al., No. 77303-8-I, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 823).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 1 granted a motion to amend a complaint and the case caption in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the insurers will not be prejudiced if the complaint and caption are amended to reflect that one of the named defendants was acquired by another company (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. 653090/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1543).
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A Georgia federal judge on March 27 determined that an insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on the issue of whether its policies’ pollution exclusion bars coverage for the release of nitrogen into a warehouse because there is an issue of fact as to whether nitrogen was intended to be considered as an irritant or contaminant under the policies’ pollution exclusion (Evanston Insurance Co. v. Xytex Tissue Services LLC et al., No. 17-140, S.D. Ga., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51668).
HELENA, Mont. — A workers’ compensation insurer’s discussions with its insureds did not create a duty to prevent an employee’s exposure to asbestos, a W.R. Grace & Co. insurer and its amicus curiae tell the Montana Supreme Court in March 21 briefs (Maryland Casualty Co. v. The Asbestos Claims Court, et al., No. OP 19-0051, Mont. Sup.).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A bad faith claim alleged against a homeowners insurer cannot stand because the insured failed to provide evidence showing that the insurer refused or failed to properly evaluate and make a payment on the insured’s claim for a water leak caused by aging pipes in the insured’s home, a Pennsylvania federal judge said March 29 (Martha Mitchell v. Allstate Insurance Co. No. 17-1806, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55613).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 3 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an insurer’s breach of warranty and strict liability subrogation lawsuit against a raw chicken supplier, finding that the allegations fail to sufficiently assert that raw contaminated chicken that the supplier sold to the insured was “defective” under Maine law (Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Company v. Mountaire Farms Inc., No. 18-1818, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9816).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 2 affirmed three district court rulings in favor of a homeowners insurer in three separate cases seeking coverage for deteriorating and cracking basement walls in Connecticut homes after determining that the policies’ collapse provision does not provide coverage for the defective foundation walls because there was no sudden and accidental collapse as required by the policies (William A. Valls et al., v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-3495, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9596; Glenn R. Carlson, et al., v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-3501, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9586; Alan D. Lees et al., v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 18-007, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 9585).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on March 31 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment on the issues of allocation and the length of exposure to lead paint after determining that the parties failed to adequately brief the issues in their motions for summary judgment (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Stanley Rochkind et al., No. 17-3400, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55822).
HOUSTON — No coverage is afforded to insureds for an underlying criminal proceeding arising out of environmental contamination caused by the insureds’ operation of a landfill because the criminal indictment does not include a demand for any remedy that would be covered under the pollution liability policy, a Texas federal judge said March 28 (Waste Management Inc., et al. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-3676, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53525).