TAMPA, Fla. — A bad faith claim can proceed against an auto insurer because the claimant, who was involved in a motorcycle accident with the insurer’s policyholders, presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that the insurer acted in bad faith in handling the claim filed against the insureds, a Florida federal judge said Jan. 14.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal magistrate judge on Jan. 13 dismissed a breach of contract and bad faith suit filed by insureds seeking coverage for methamphetamine contamination after determining that federal jurisdiction does not exist because the insureds and the insurer are citizens of Montana.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 11 granted an insured leave to file a second amended complaint after determining that the insured’s bad faith claim against her auto insurer is conclusory and not supported by enough factual allegations.
DENVER — The owners of a building whose construction was delayed by water damage were not entitled to coverage for “soft costs” as additional named insureds under a policy issued to the general contractor, a Colorado federal judge held Dec. 31, granting partial summary judgment to the insurer.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 10 denied a dental provider insured’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling that the insured failed to allege a “direct physical loss” to trigger coverage for its financial losses as a result of the novel coronavirus closure orders, further finding that it would be futile to allow the insured to amend the complaint.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 4 dismissed with leave to amend most of a general contractor’s counterclaims against an insurer in a coverage dispute over a condominium project. Dismissed without leave to amend were the counterclaims for breach of contract based on failure to indemnify and for violation of state insurance regulations.
SAN FRANCISCO — A retailer insured on Jan. 7 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to certify a question to the California Supreme Court in its lawsuit seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “profound legal, economic, and practical consequences will follow from the determination of whether the phrase ‘physical loss of or damage to’ in business interruption insurance policies reasonably includes government-imposed shutdown orders issued amid COVID-19.”
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah on Jan. 6 ruled that an insured has failed to sufficiently state her claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against her automobile insurer after the insurer declined to provide coverage for injuries the insured sustained in an accident because she had pleaded only conclusory allegations in bringing the claim.
MILWAUKEE — An insured failed to provide any evidence showing that his homeowners insurance provider lacked any reasonable basis for its assessment of property damage to the insured’s home and detached garage after a nearby explosion or that the insurer “knew or acted in reckless disregard of the absence of a reasonable basis for its assessment” of the damage, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Dec. 28.
RALEIGH, N.C. — In a split decision, a North Carolina Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 31 ruled that although a state trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer on an insured’s claim seeking coverage under the terms of her automobile insurance policy, the same is not the case regarding the insured’s claims for unfair trade practices and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
By Evan H. Krinick
TULSA, Okla. — An insurer did not act in bad faith in denying coverage for two underlying lawsuits filed against an insured because the insured failed to offer evidence that the insurer’s denial of coverage was unreasonable, an Oklahoma federal judge said Dec. 11 in granting summary judgment in favor of the personal umbrella liability insurer.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Dec. 23 dismissed breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against a homeowners insurer accused of improperly calculating the square footage of California homes because the insured failed to show how the insurer breached any provisions of the policy and because any alleged bad faith conduct related to the calculation of a home’s square footage occurred prior to the inception of the policy.
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Dec. 29 determined that extracontractual claims asserted against a businessowners insurer cannot proceed because the insured failed to prove that the insurer or its representatives were biased against the insured when processing its claim for damages sustained during Hurricane Harvey.
NEW ORLEANS — A primary insurer violated its duty to settle a negligence and wrongful death suit filed against its insured because the final settlement offer made by the underlying claimants before trial was within the policy limits and would have fully released the insured from further liability, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 21 in affirming a judgment entered in favor of an excess insurer seeking reimbursement from the primary insurer.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 30 granted a commercial general liability insurer’s motion to dismiss a hand and orthopedic surgery practice insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that the insurance policy’s “loss of or damage to” language does not allow coverage for the interruption of the insured’s business as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel should affirm a federal district court’s damages calculation and attorney fee award, as well as its denial of insureds’ second motion for summary judgment, in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from an automobile insurance coverage dispute because although the insurer disagrees with the lower court’s findings, those rulings were supported by the lower court’s “factual conclusions and application of federal and state law,” the insurer argues in a Jan. 4 appellee brief filed in the Circuit Court.
SEATTLE — An association of state public entities is not entitled to damages because its claims for a $12.5 million police excessive force settlement fail a reinsurance agreement’s requirements for indemnification and reimbursement, a reinsurer tells a Washington federal court in a Dec. 2 answer.
By Scott M. Seaman and Judith A. Selby
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A business insurance policy’s virus exclusion bars coverage for business income losses sustained by a dental practice as a result of the shutdown of nonessential businesses to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus because the exclusion precludes coverage for any loss caused by a virus, a California federal judge said Dec. 30 in granting, without prejudice, the insurer’s motion to dismiss.