PHOENIX — Insureds stated facts in support of a first-party bad faith claim against their auto insurer; however, the insureds failed to prove that the auto insurer and its parent company were engaged in a joint venture such that the parent company would be liable for the auto insurer’s alleged bad faith conduct, an Arizona federal judge said Dec. 10 (Charles and Raquel Rinehart v. Government Employers Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-1888, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212450).
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Dec. 10 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to sever extracontractual claims from a breach of contract claim after determining that trying the breach of contract claim with the extracontractual claims could be prejudicial to the homeowners insurer (Tammy Kea, et al., v. Meridian Security Insurance Co., No. 19-2017, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213040).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on Dec. 11 dismissed an insured’s contractual bad faith claim after determining that the claim is duplicative of the insured's breach of contract claim; however, the judge refused to dismiss the insured’s tortious bad faith claim against the auto insurer because the insured sufficiently alleged facts in support of that claim (Kara Walker v. Geico Casualty Co., et al., No. 19-909, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213449).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 9 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from a denial of work loss benefits under the terms of an automobile insurance policy, ruling that an insured filed his complaint against the wrong insurer (Ayman Elansari v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-3403, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211369).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An insurer on Dec. 10 asked a federal court in Florida to dismiss its insureds’ amended breach of contract complaint arising from Hurricane Irma damage to their St. Augustine, Fla., residential property, arguing that the express language of the lender-placed insurance policy unambiguously bars the plaintiffs from bringing the breach of contract claim as either named insureds or intended third-party beneficiaries to the policy (Jeffrey G. Meyer, et al. v. Integon National Insurance Company, No. 19-1397, M.D. Fla.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico federal magistrate judge on Dec. 9 partially granted an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insured failed to provide sufficient facts to support a bad faith claim based on the insurer’s alleged refusal to promptly handle the insured’s claim (Cindy Rae Trujillo v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 18-638, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211840).
NEW ORLEANS — A majority of a Louisiana appellate panel on Dec. 4 held that an insured’s appeal in a coverage dispute with his insolvent insurer over an auto accident was not timely filed and, thus, there was no jurisdiction to consider the merits (Gerald J. Calogero v. USA Agencies Casualty Insurance Company, Inc., No. 2019-CA-0347, 2019 La. App. LEXIS 2184).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Dec. 5 determined that an insured’s breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim can proceed but that the insured’s bad faith claim cannot stand because there was a legitimate dispute as to whether coverage was afforded under the policy for the collapse of a breezeway at a building owned by the insured (DENC LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 18-754, M.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209651).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 6 affirmed a district court’s ruling that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in finding that a claimant was not disabled from performing the duties of her own occupation as an attorney because the objective medical evidence clearly supports the insurer’s finding (Anne Wittmann v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 19-30254, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36311).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 4 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss a bad faith claim arising out of the insurer’s denial of coverage for an oil spill on the insured's property after determining that the insured failed to allege sufficient facts in support of her claim for bad faith (Dorothy Biela v. Westfield Insurance Co., No. 19-4383, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209418).
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 27 granted an auto insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that no coverage is afforded for an accident in which a son of one of the insureds was involved because the auto policy’s owned auto exclusion and regular use exclusion bar coverage (David W. Harrelson, et al. v. USAA General Indemnity Co., No. 18-862, M.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205738).
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Dec. 3 adopted a magistrate’s report and recommendation that a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment should be denied on the basis that a question of fact exists as to whether water damages sustained in an insured building fall within the policy’s exception to a frozen-plumbing exclusion (Brandy Ventures LLC v. Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Co., No. 18-641, E.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208898).
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 3 refused a to vacate a man’s 87-month prison sentence after he was convicted by a federal jury on charges of health care fraud and mail fraud, finding that he received effective assistance of counsel (United States v. Antonio Martinez-Lopez, No. 16-CR-62, W.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207544).
INDIANAPOLIS — An auto insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith by failing to provide uninsured motorist coverage to the daughter of the named insureds because the daughter was not a “resident relative” as she did not primarily reside in her parents’ home at the time of her involvement in a car accident, an Indiana federal judge said Dec. 3 in granting the auto insurer’s motion for summary judgement (Chelsea Grimes v. State Farm Auto Insurance Co., No. 18-1039, S.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207951).
SEATTLE — The majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 29 affirmed the dismissal of an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against an auto insurer because the insured failed to perform his duties under the policy by not providing the insurer with information related to his theft claim (Edward Stolz v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America, No. 17-17214, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35713).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Nov. 25 denied a commercial general liability insurer's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law on Yahoo! Inc.'s bad faith and bad faith damages claims, finding that the insurer has failed to present any new evidence or new argument since the original motion was denied in May (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 17-00489, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204411).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Supreme Court on Nov. 27 affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of an injured claimant’s bad faith allegation against an auto insurer because the insurer owed no duty of good faith and fair dealing to the third-party claimant (Zane Ulin v. GEICO General Insurance Co. et al., No. S-17113, Alaska Sup., 2019 Alas. LEXIS 204).
DENVER — A district court did not err in granting an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on bad faith claims because a reasonable jury could conclude that a legitimate coverage dispute existed and that the auto insurer did not act in bad faith in handling and investigating the insured’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 2 (Brian Shotts v. GEICO General Insurance Co., d/b/a Geico, No. 18-6206, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 35776).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Nov. 15 found that although his previous opinion in an insurance bad faith lawsuit stemming from a denial of uninsured motorist coverage cited controlling precedent in finding that remand of the action to state court is necessary, his interpretation of the precedent was “incorrect and contrary” to other interpretations within the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky and the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Sarah Stinson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-759, W.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198524).
TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Nov. 20 denied a motion to compel production of certain documents filed by plaintiffs in a consumer class action lawsuit against two insurers and a company that provides them with vehicle valuations for paying total-loss vehicle claims, ruling that the information sought by the plaintiffs is irrelevant or “of only marginal relevance” to their claims (Cameron Lundquist, et al. v. First National Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 18-5301, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201550).