HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 17 dismissed an insured’s bad faith claim after determining that the insured failed to allege any specific facts that illustrate how State Farm acted in bad faith in handling the insured’s uninsured motorist claim (Greta Miller v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 20-367, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105766).
McALLEN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on June 10 granted an auto insurer’s motion to dismiss a bad faith suit arising out of the insurer’s denial of an insured’s uninsured motorist (UIM) claim because the insured failed to show that the insurer engaged in extreme conduct that caused the insured to sustain an independent injury (Aaron Garza v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 19-129, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101689).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 3 denied a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s bad faith claim after determining that the insured sufficiently alleged facts to support her allegation that the insurer had no reasonable basis to deny her claim for water damages (Rebecca Nelson v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 19-1382, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97239).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on June 15 denied a disability claimant’s motion to remand a breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that the disability insurer met its burden of proving that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000 (Roger Bourban v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-3376, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103994).
PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on June 12 awarded an insured more than $175,000 in attorney fees based on the insured’s success in securing a more than $300,000 judgment against an auto insurer on the insured’s bad faith claim (Peggy Foraker v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-87, D. Ore., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103250).
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah federal judge on June 9 remanded an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that the auto insurer’s notice of removal was untimely because the suit should have been removed within 30 days of the filing of the original complaint rather than within 30 days of filing the amended complaint (Marsha Lewis v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. S.I., No. 20-257, D. Utah, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101751).
PHOENIX — Medical experts for a woman asserting bad faith claims against her insurer over coverage for auto accident injuries cannot offer opinions made in rebuttal because of the harm it would cause the insurer, but her standard-of-care expert can testify, just not on the value of her injuries because he is not an expert in calculating medical damages, an Arizona federal judge ruled June 10 (Melinda Lou Armer v. CSAA General Insurance Company, No. 2:19-cv-04402, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101851).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 10 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage for the spraying of pesticides because the policy’s pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage (MJH Properties LLC v. Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 20-6002, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18209).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge on June 9 refused to remand a contractor and its president’s breach of contract and bad faith suit against an insurer over coverage for a residential construction defects case (Cornerstone Construction Company of Tennessee, LLC, et al. v. Builders Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-01056, M.D. Tenn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100336).
DENVER — Following the answer to two certified questions by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 8 held that an insured is the “prevailing party” and is entitled to reasonable attorney fees and statutory interest in a coverage dispute arising from the insured’s roof and interior damage following a wind storm (Billy Hamilton v. Northfield Insurance Co., Nos. 17-7049, 10th Cir.).
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on June 5 granted a disability insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim but denied the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a bad faith claim after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the disability insurer investigated the claimant’s injury (Jody Fees v. American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus [Aflac], No. 19-476, N.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99107).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A federal judge in South Dakota on May 27 ruled that an insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on its insured’s claim for insurance bad faith in a dispute over the insurer’s handling of a farm insurance claim because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the insurer’s investigation and denial of the insured’s claim were reasonable (Patricia Gregerson v. Farm Bureau Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 18-5044, D. S.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92341).
DALLAS — A Texas trial court erred in denying an insurer’s request to quash its insured’s request to compel discovery regarding his uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because such a request is not relevant to the claims to be decided in the action, a Texas appellate panel ruled May 19 (In re GEICO County Mutual Insurance Co., No. 05-20-00259-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 3991).
OLYMPIA, Wash. — An insurer failed to sufficiently show that Washington’s rules of professional conduct bar a law firm that previously represented the insurer in bad faith lawsuits from representing insureds in a similar action against the insurer because such representation would cause the insurer a “substantial risk,” the Washington Supreme Court ruled in a May 21 en banc opinion (Richard Plein, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 97563-9, Wash. Sup., 2020 Wash. LEXIS 292).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal magistrate judge on May 8 recommended that a motion to remand filed by insureds alleging that a homeowners insurer acted in bad faith in handling a claim for wind and hail damage be denied because the insurer met its burden of proving that the federal jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy has been met (Raul Bustos, et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 19-4812, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93807).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insured’s assignee lacks standing to seek consequential damages after obtaining a $3.5 million default judgment against the insurer in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the assignee’s default judgment against the insured expired and was thus, unenforceable, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 4 (James Nalder, et al. v. United Automobile Insurance Co., No. 13-17441, 9th Cir.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A reinsurer on June 3 asked an Alabama federal court to dismiss claims for bad faith refusal to pay filed by an insurer for most of the municipalities in Alabama because Alabama does not recognize a tort for bad faith refusal to pay reinsurance claims (Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 20-300, M.D. Ala.).
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona federal judge on May 19 denied a disability claimant’s motion in limine seeking to preclude a disability insurer from entering evidence to justify its alleged bad faith conduct in handling a claim for disability income benefits because the claimant failed to specify what evidence the insurer might introduce at trial (Herbert Jalowsky M.D. v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-279, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87724).
PHOENIX — The Division 1 Arizona Court of Appeals on June 2 determined that a trial court properly found that a homeowners insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in handling a claim for water and mold damages because there is no evidence that the insurer breached any portion of the insurance contract or acted unreasonably in handling the claim (Athena Finney Lane Jacobson v. Mercury Casualty Co., No. 1 CA-CV 19-0246, Ariz. App., Div. 1, 2020 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 593).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on May 29 denied without prejudice an insured’s motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce its communications with outside counsel, rejecting the insured’s argument that the insurer waived its attorney-client privilege over the communications (Susan Harriman v. Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc., No. 18-02750, D. S.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93649).