CINCINNATI — An Ohio federal judge on April 30 denied a motion to dismiss filed by the holding company of an auto insurer after determining that the insured, who alleges claims for breach of contract and bad faith, presented sufficient evidence in support of her contention that the holding company was a party to the auto insurance policy (Carole Oblinger, et al. v. Donegal Group Inc., et al., No. 18-775, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72598).
NEW ORLEANS — A couple accused by their insurer of misrepresenting information on their application for a homeowners policy can amend their third-party complaint against the agency that obtained the policy, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled April 29 in denying the agency’s motion to dismiss, finding that the couple should be allowed to remedy deficiencies in their allegations for breach of contract, negligence and detrimental reliance (GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co. v. Mariette Joachin, et al., No. 18-7577, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71661).
LAS VEGAS — Following a remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Nevada federal judge on April 23 denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s first amended complaint in a coverage dispute over an underlying qui tam action except for the part of the bad faith claim based on the insurer’s conduct before the Ninth Circuit’s ruling (My Left Foot Children's Therapy, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London subscribing to policy No. HAH15-0632, No. 15-0632, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69236).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 22 ruled that an insured failed to sufficiently plead facts supporting her claim that her automobile insurance provider acted in bad faith under Pennsylvania law in the handling of the insured’s claim for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage (Joann Hwang v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 19-927, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67955).
POCATELLO, Idaho — A corporation insured on April 22 sued its insurer for breach of contract, bad faith and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, alleging that its claim for professional errors coverage for underlying allegations by one of its customers was not fairly debatable (Nelson & Pade, Inc., et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 19-00147, D. Idaho).
LOS ANGELES — An insured on April 18 sued two insurers in a California court, asserting that they violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and breached an insurance agreement by failing to defend him in an underlying negligence lawsuit (Gaetano Mandala v. Geico Insurance Agency, Inc., et al., No. 19STCV13501, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on April 22 granted an auto insurer’s motion to bifurcate a bad faith claim from a breach of contract claim after determining that bifurcation will prevent prejudice to the auto insurer and will further judicial economy by limiting discovery until after liability has been established (Thea Mason v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., No. 19-2, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67803).
LOS ANGELES — Remand of an insurance bad faith case against an automobile insurance provider to state court is not necessary because the insurer has shown that the amount in controversy exceeds the statutory limit, a federal judge in California ruled April 3 (Aaron Samsky v State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-992, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58528).
MONROE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge on April 18 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgement on breach of contract and bad faith claims after determining that a property insurer has no duty to pay a claim for fire damages because the insureds breached their duty to cooperate with the insurer during the investigation of the claim (Terence Winborne, et al. v. Wilshire Insurance Co., No. 18-1177, W.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66646).
AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on April 16 ruled that although an insurer’s removal of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its homeowners insurance provider and others to Texas federal court was timely, remand of the action to the state court is necessary because the other parties to the action were not improperly joined (Carlos Riojas, et al. v. Nationwide General Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-1127, W.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65090).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge in Oklahoma on April 12 ruled that an insured’s breach of contract claim in an insurance bad faith lawsuit should not be dismissed as time-barred because it is not clear what communications between the parties and/or the insurer’s actions at the close of the one-year statute of limitations period caused the insured’s delay in filing his lawsuit (John T. Linthicum v. Praetorian Insurance Co., No. 18-872, W.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63345).
SAN DIEGO — Because an insurer did not breach its contract with its insured under the terms of a business insurance policy by failing to defend the insured in a third-party lawsuit, the insured’s claim for breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing “necessarily fails,” a federal judge in California ruled April 10 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment (By Referral Only Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, No. 18-1695, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62040).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — An auto insurer did not act in bad faith in its investigation and handling of an insured’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits because the insurer never actually denied the insured’s claim and conducted a thorough investigation of the claim before tendering the available policy limits, the Pennsylvania Superior Court said April 17 (Paul Camiolo v. Erie Insurance Exchange, et al., No. 478 EDA 2018, Pa. Super., 2019 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1456).
SPOKANE, Wash. — A Washington federal judge on April 15 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment on claims alleging breach of contract and bad faith after determining that the insurer did not breach its contract or act unreasonably in paying for repairs to the insured’s rental property that was damaged by a fire (Barry Chapman, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 17-225, E.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64588).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on March 31 allowed a massage therapist’s breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory judgment claims to proceed in a coverage dispute arising from underlying allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual acts while he was performing a massage (Starr Indemnity & Liability Company v. Limmie Young, III, et al., No. 14-00239, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55467).
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).
PRESCOTT, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on April 15 dismissed a workers’ compensation claimant’s bad faith claim against an insurer’s third-party claims administrator because a bad faith claim can be filed only against the insurer and not the third-party claims administrator (Joseph Martin McGhee v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., No. 19-8003, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64190).
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).
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.).
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on April 10 granted an insurer’s motion to exclude the opinion testimony of a retired judge who presided over an underlying personal injury suit that resulted in a $22.6 million verdict against the insureds because the retired judge’s testimony could be prejudicial to the insurer, which is defending itself against a bad faith claim asserted by the insureds (Reliable Transportation Specialists Inc., et al. v. Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co., No. 15-12954, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61537).