SAN DIEGO — An insured’s motion to remand a complaint alleging claims for breach of contract and bad faith must be denied because the auto insurer’s notice of removal was not untimely filed as the amount in controversy was not clear, a California federal judge said March 5, noting that the complaint did not state the amount of damages being sought by the insured, (Paul Harner v. USAA General Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 18-1993, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 352200).
SEATTLE — A three-year statute of limitations bars an insured’s claims for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and bad faith because accrual began when the insured’s personal injury protection benefits under her auto policy were terminated and the insured did not file suit until six months after the statute of limitations expired, a Washington federal judge said March 4 (Joel Stedman, et al. v. Progressive Direct Insurance Co., No. 18-1254, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34079).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insured’s claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of a coverage dispute for damages related to a sewage backup in an insured rental property cannot stand because the policy clearly excluded coverage for the damages, a California federal judge said March 4 (Jerald Udinsky v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 18-3994, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34185).
SEATTLE — Parties in an insurance bad faith lawsuit recently asked the Washington Supreme Court to determine whether an insurance company’s claims adjuster owes any duty of good faith to an insured (Moun Keodalah, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 95867-0, Wash. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 25 granted an insurer’s motion for reconsideration and dismissed an insured’s bad faith claim and claims for statutory penalties and attorney fees after determining that the insurer submitted evidence in its motion for reconsideration that the auto policy at issue is governed by California, and not Louisiana, law (Von Metriz Lewis v. 21st Century Insurance Co., No. 18-5013, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29353).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Feb. 12 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss with prejudice an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith claims in a coverage dispute arising from an underlying whistleblower action, rejecting the insured’s argument that it its untimely notice should be equitably excused under California’s notice-prejudice rule (PAMC, Ltd. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 18-06001, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28538).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An insured who alleges that an auto insurer handled her claim for underinsured motorists benefits in bad faith must undergo an independent medical exam because the insurer’s request is reasonable and necessary to gather current information about the insured’s injuries sustained in an auto accident, a New Mexico federal judge said Feb. 27 (Sara Maes v. Progressive Direct Insurance Co., No. 18-1038, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31567).
FLORENCE, S.C. — Breach of contract and bad faith claims against an auto insurer can stand because the assignee of the insured sufficiently alleged facts in support of the claims; however, the negligence claims against the insurer must be dismissed because they are duplicative of the bad faith claim, a South Carolina federal judge said Feb. 26 (Annie Skinner, as assignee of Andrew Poston, v. Horace Mann Insurance Co., No. 18-922, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29996).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 26 denied a motion to amend a complaint to add a bad faith claim against two homeowners insurers that denied the insureds’ coverage claim arising out of cracking in their basement walls caused by the use of defective concrete because Connecticut state courts have rejected bad faith claims against insurers who have denied coverage in similar suits (Dennis and Erica Moura v. Harleysville Preferred Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-422, D. Conn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29848).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bad faith claim cannot stand because the insured failed to prove that the defendant insurers acted in bad faith in classifying the insured’s disability as being caused by a sickness rather than an injury, an Ohio federal judge said Feb. 19 (Mukesh R. Shah, M.D. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1124, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25695).
RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 21 held that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether an insured failed to comply with an insurance policy’s notice and forwarding provisions and whether the insurer’s rights were substantially prejudiced by the insured’s noncompliance, affirming a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a coverage dispute arising from a personal injury lawsuit (Founders Insurance Company v. Richard Ruth's Bar & Grill LLC, et al., No. 17-1282, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4996).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 12 ruled that an insurer has shown that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether it acted in bad faith in failing to pay the policy limits to its insured for property damage resulting from a fire because the payment made by the insurer were within the contract language contained in the policy (Purvi LLC v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-0822, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22774).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Oregon on Feb. 7 ruled that proposed questions an insured seeks to have certified to the state’s high court in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit are essentially similar and fail to serve the purposes of certification (Peggy Foraker v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-87, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20039).
TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on Feb. 12 denied an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims after determining that questions of fact exist as to whether the insureds were covered under the auto policy on the date on which they were involved in an auto accident (Michael Nsien, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., d/b/a Country Financial, No. 16-530, N.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22540).
TULSA, Okla. — An insured’s claim alleging that an auto insurer acted in bad faith can proceed because the insured clearly stated a claim for bad faith and supported his allegations that the insurer failed to conduct an appropriate investigation and failed to respond to a request for appraisal of the insured’s claim, an Oklahoma federal judge said Feb. 12 (Justin Walmer v. Bristol West Insurance Co., No. 18-629, N.D. Okla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22254).
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 13 partially granted an insurer’s motion in limine after determining that it is appropriate to exclude evidence and testimony regarding the amounts of an underlying jury verdict entered against the insureds because it may be prejudicial to the insurer when the jury is asked to determine if the insurer acted in bad faith by failing to settle the underlying auto claim on behalf of the insureds (Reliable Transportation Specialists Inc., et al. v. Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co., No. 15-12954, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23230).
SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of professional liability insurers' joint motion to dismiss a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit brought by their psychologist insured, her spouse and their marital community property (Lana R. Staheli, Ph.D. v. Chicago Insurance Company, No. 16-35480, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4087).
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Feb. 8 granted a motion to remand a breach of fiduciary and bad faith suit filed against two insurers after determining that the insurers failed to prove that one of the insurers was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction (Dawn Carapella v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 18-2396, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20711).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A homeowners insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying a claim for an infestation of brown recluse spiders in an insured home because the policy’s insect and vermin exclusion clearly applies to preclude coverage, an Alabama federal judge said Feb. 11 (Maggie J. Robinson, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-1509, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 216270).
SAN FRANCISCO — Whether a homeowners insurance policy’s personal injury provision covers the discharge of a firearm after a robbery attempt turns on whether the parties’ portrayal of the resulting injuries as willful or accidental and confronts a California appeals court (CSAA Insurance Exchange, et al. v. Oscar Herrera, No. A153429, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).