SEATTLE — The majority of the Washington Supreme Court on April 27 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend underlying claims arising out of carbon monoxide poisoning because the efficient proximate cause of the loss was the negligent installation of a hot water heater, which is a covered occurrence under the policy (Zhaoyun Xia, et al. v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 92436-8, Wash. Sup., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 443).
ATLANTA — A federal district court did not err in excluding certain testimony from an insurer’s adjusters in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because an insured failed to show that the excluded testimony was a legally permissible opinion, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 20 in affirming (John F. Hooks v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 16-16767, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6860).
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on April 21 remanded an insured’s suit alleging bad faith and breach of contract after determining that the amount in controversy does not meet the jurisdictional minimum to remain in federal court (Doris Marie Washington v. Geico General Insurance Co., No. 17-961, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60828).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 20 dismissed with prejudice an elderly man’s claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) against Mutual of Omaha because the man has not identified “any extreme and outrageous conduct” by the defendant (Donald Mann v. Mutual of Omaha, et al., No. 16-2560, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60579).
INDIANAPOLIS — An insured failed to show that any manifest error of law or fact exists that would require amendment of three previous orders in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in Indiana ruled April 18 in denying the insured’s motion for reconsideration of three earlier rulings in the suit (H.E. McGonigal Inc. v. Harleysville Lake States Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-549, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58782).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on April 19 granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insured presented sufficient evidence that the insurer’s failure to pay a judgment entered in favor of the insured constitutes bad faith (Arika Prince v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-563, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59794).
NEW ORLEANS — Because an insured failed to prove that heavy rains caused engine damage to a recreational vehicle and because the insured failed to submit a proof of loss for the claim, a Louisiana federal judge on April 19 granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on the insured’s claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Henry Rosenthal v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-13732, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59564).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on April 11 dismissed a counterclaim for bad faith alleged against an insurer because the bad faith counterclaim is premised on the same set of facts as the breach of contract counterclaim (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. ICCO Cheese Co. Inc., No. 652787/2016, N.Y, Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1363).
TAMPA, Fla — An insured’s bad faith claim is based on his insurer’s alleged breach of its fiduciary duty to him and is, thus, subject to a four-year statute of limitations, a federal judge in Florida ruled April 18 in granting the insurer’ motion to dismiss (Waldermar Baranowski v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 17-301, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5885).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 19 rejected insureds’ argument that an insurer acted in bad faith by unreasonably delaying an appraisal and by failing to conduct an adequate claim investigation, affirming a lower federal court’s ruling in favor of the insurer (Hayes Family Trust, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty, No. 15-6231, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6713).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on April 17 granted a motion filed by two insurers to withdraw an insured’s adversary proceeding from bankruptcy court because the bankruptcy court does not have the authority to decide the breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against the insurers in the adversary proceeding (Phillip Michael Scott v. AIG Property Casualty Co., et al., No. 17-1052, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58339).
TULSA, Okla. — An insurer recently argued to an Oklahoma federal court that an underlying breach of contract lawsuit brought against its insured by a former business partner fails to allege a wrongful act to trigger coverage under a professional liability insurance policy (Doug Schwegman, d/b/a Schwegman Insurance and Financial Services v. Continental Casualty Co., No. 16-0730, N.D. Okla.).
GULFPORT, Miss. — In a case concerning an insurer’s False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties’ motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).
WACO, Texas — Because a property insurer had a reasonable basis to deny an insured’s claim for roof damages incurred as the result of a hailstorm, a Texas federal judge on April 6 granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment as it pertained to the insured’s claims for bad faith and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Stephen Hahn v. United Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-218, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53178).
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on April 7 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss claims of bad faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress alleged by insureds seeking coverage for damages to their home sustained by high winds after determining that the insureds failed to provide any facts in support of either claim (Lance W. Hightower, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-274, N.D ..Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53645).
PASADENA, Calif. — The San Francisco Forty Niners Football Co.'s primary commercial general liability insurer on April 12 filed a notice of appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a lower federal court’s finding that it has duty to contribute by equal shares with another insurer to defense costs in an underlying lawsuit against the football team and others (First Mercury Insurance Co. v. Great Divide Insurance Co., No. 17-1511, 9th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — An insured has failed to plead whether his insurance bad faith claim is a common-law contract law claim or a statutory claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 10 in dismissing the bad faith claim with leave to amend (Jeremy Z. Mittman v. Nationwide Affinity Insurance Co., No. 16-04658, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54220).
CHICAGO — In an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its commercial general liability insurer, an Illinois federal judge ruled April 11 that the parties failed to provide evidence to clear up genuine issues of material fact regarding whether independent counsel should be appointed for an insured in an underlying construction defects case (DePasquale Steel Erectors Inc. v. Gemini Insurance Co., No. 16-10892, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54917).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A review of the communications between an insurer and its insured’s counsel after the insurer was notified that the insured was pursuing a claim for underinsured motorist benefits does not support a claim of bad faith against the insurer, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge said April 10 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment (Tracey Ridolfi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-859, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54267).
PHOENIX — An insurer is estopped from asserting a coverage defense to a homeowner’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit based on the subcontractors exclusion because the information relevant to that defense was improperly disclosed by an insured contractor’s counsel, a visiting Alaska federal judge to the Arizona federal court ruled April 10 (Karen Cosgrove v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 14-2229, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54479).