NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on April 18 determined that an excess insurer owes its insured more than $55 million for environmental contamination costs incurred by the insured after an offset of approximately $2.6 million is applied based on the insured’s global settlement with its other insurers (Olin Corp. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 84-1968, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65446).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A motion by an asbestos liability insurer of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. to enforce the protective injunction in the debtor’s reorganization plan to halt claimants in Montana from pursuing asbestos claims against the insurer should be stayed or dismissed because it is procedurally unsound and untimely, considering that the same issue is about to be decided by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a claimant told a Delaware federal bankruptcy court on April 17 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on April 16 approved an insured’s settlements with two insurers in an environmental contamination dispute and refused to allow the nonsettling insurers to seek contribution from the settling insurers because settlements adequately protect the interests of the nonsettling insurers (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-1957, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64763).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 16 vacated a district court’s ruling that coverage is barred for water damage caused by a collapsed pipe after determining that the policy’s water exclusion does not apply to water damage caused by a failure within the property’s plumbing system (Ken Cameron and Michelle Cameron v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 17-11907, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9800).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In a dispute over whether a reinsurer is obligated to an insurer for more than $3.2 million in reinsurance proceeds for an underlying asbestos settlement, the insurer in an April 3 motion seeks reconsideration of a New York federal judge’s finding of ambiguity in the reinsurance certificate provisions related to expense (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., Nos. 12-00196 & 13-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The primary insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court April 17 to approve the disclosure statement for its plan of reorganization for Kaiser Gypsum, which failed to file its own plan, instead seeking to lift the bankruptcy stay so asbestos claimants can pursue their claims in the tort system, but only if they agree to have their settlements or judgments paid by the debtor’s insurers (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 16 certified two questions to the Mississippi Supreme Court regarding whether Mississippi’s voluntary payment doctrine bars an insurer from recovering a settlement payment made on behalf of an additional insured when the insurer disputes that the additional insured was actually covered for the settlement under the applicable policy (Colony Insurance Co. v. First Specialty Insurance Corp., No. 17-60094, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 9444).
TRENTON, N.J. — Insurers of an insured whose company was sold to another company in 1986 cannot rely on the policies’ anti-assignment clauses to deny coverage for environmental claims arising out of their insured’s business because the insured’s liability for the contamination attached prior to the sale of the company and during the applicable policies’ periods, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division said April 13 (Cooper Industries LLC v. Columbia Casualty Co., et al., No. A-0593-15T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 868).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An insurer on April 13 wrote to a New York federal court proposing a new schedule in an asbestos coverage case with its reinsurer in response to a ruling ordering document production (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 15-270, N.D. N.Y.).
ROME, N.Y. — A New York justice on March 7 ruled that a cedent is not entitled to asbestos loss and expenses beyond the stated coverage amount set forth in reinsurance certificates issued by members of a reinsurance pool (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Abeille General Insurance Co., et al., No. CA2013-002320, N.Y. Sup., Oneida Co.).
MIAMI — An all-risk commercial property insurance policy does not provide coverage for property damage to a building that occurred gradually over an extended period, a Florida federal judge ruled April 10, noting that insureds knew of the gradual deterioration before the date they allege the collapse occurred (The S.O. Beach Corp., et al. v. Great American Insurance Company of New York, No. 17-22254, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60235).
NEW YORK — After finding that disputes over insurers’ alleged duty to defend and indemnify were not ripe for consideration, a New York federal judge on March 31 declined to rule on summary judgment motions and stayed the case pending the outcome of underlying property damage litigation pending in Canada (Lafarge Canada Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., No. 15-CV-8957, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56123).
WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas federal judge on April 9 granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment in a pollution liability suit arising out of a saltwater spill after determining that the insurer is required to prove that it was prejudiced by the insured’s late notice of the spill (PetroSantander (USA) Inc. v. HDI Global Insurance Co. et al., No. 16-1320, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59696).
GREENVILLE, Miss. — An insurer may not rely on the doctrine of fraudulent misjoinder as a basis for removal jurisdiction, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled April 5 in remanding an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court (Kenneth Strachan, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 17-0138, N.D. Miss., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58226).
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Insurers involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute did not waive their right to select an environmental consultant to address remediation of the contamination on the insured’s site because the insured voluntarily chose its own environmental consultant in breach of the policies’ voluntary payment provisions, an Indiana federal judge said March 28 (Ranburn Corp. v. Argonaut Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-88, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51658).
NORFOLK, Va. — A Virginia federal judge on April 2 agreed with an insured seeking coverage for underlying asbestos liabilities that an all-sums method of allocation applies to its policies and that the policies are subject to vertical exhaustion (Hopeman Brothers Inc., v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 16-187, E.D. Va.).
CHICAGO — The majority of the Fifth District Illinois Appellate Court on April 5 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that insurers breached their contract and acted in bad faith by refusing to settle underlying environmental contamination claims filed against an insured after determining that the insurers used the threat of denying coverage in an attempt to dissuade the insured from settling the claims (Rogers Cartage Co. et al., v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 5-16-0098, Ill. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Ill. App. LEXIS 206).
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal judge on April 4 denied a motion to reconsider by four excess insurers involved in an asbestos coverage dispute and reiterated that abstention is not warranted (Eaton Corp. v. Westport Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-1157, E.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57406).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 4 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insured is not entitled to reimbursement for defense expenses and settlement costs arising out of an underlying asbestos exposure claim because the settlement did not exceed the policies’ self-insured retention (City of Phoenix v. First Place Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-16767, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 8554).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on April 3 granted an insurer’s motion to transfer an insured’s suit seeking coverage for asbestos bodily injury claims to New York federal court after determining that New York has a greater connection to the coverage dispute (Cosmopolitan Shipping Co. Inc. v. Continental Insurance Co., No. 17-4933, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57566).