WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 26 issued an order indicating that it will hear oral arguments on July 30 to determine whether the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania or the Northern District of Illinois is the better forum to transfer lawsuits seeking business interruption coverage for losses arising from governmental closure orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic (In re: COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Litigation, No. 2942, JPMDL).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner on June 25 moved a Pennsylvania federal court to stay its class action breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment complaint against its all-risk commercial insurer for “swiftly” denying its claim for coverage for its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the insurer will suffer no prejudice if the lawsuit is stayed pending the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s resolution of two motions to transfer “this and nearly 200 other related cases in 38 federal districts” “for centralized pretrial proceedings” (Richard Kahn, et al. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-00781, M.D. Pa.).
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court on June 22 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that no coverage is owed for water damage incurred as a result of the failure of a sump pump because the policy excluded water damage caused by a sump pump failure and the insurer had no duty to inform the insured on an annual basis of the available supplemental coverage for sump pump failure (Tony Ping Yew v. FMI Insurance Co., No. A-4947-18T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1200).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 22 granted an auto insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s bad faith claim without prejudice after determining that the insured failed to sufficiently allege facts in support of the bad faith claim (Daniel Dietz v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-1239, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108559).
NEW YORK — A New York County Supreme Court justice on June 9 dismissed a homeowner’s breach of contract and bad faith suit seeking coverage for water damages after determining that the insured failed to file a sworn proof of loss within 60 days as required by the policy (Michael Stein v. National General Insurance Co., No. 651065/2020, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2662).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A federal judge in South Dakota on June 11 ruled that an insurer is not entitled to dismissal of claims against it in an insurance bad faith lawsuit stemming from its denial of a worker’s compensation claim because the insurer is subject to specific jurisdiction in the federal district court (Tim Rounds v. The Hartford, et al., No. 20-4010, D. S.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102412).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an automobile insurer in an insurance bad faith and breach of contract lawsuit stemming from an automobile accident because it was correct in determining that no reasonable jury could find that the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of a third party’s claim for damages, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 15 (Antonio Pureco, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., No. 19-55061, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18848).
LOS ANGELES — Dismissal of an insured bar’s claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from its insurer’s denial of its business income loss coverage claim for losses sustained when the bar was forced to cease operations as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus is necessary because the insured’s policy explicitly excludes coverage for such losses under a virus exclusion, the insurer argues in a June 3 motion to dismiss filed in California federal court (Pez Seafood DTLA LLC v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 20-4699, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Two bars sued their insurer in California federal court on June 18, alleging that the insurer breached the terms of their insurance policies and acted in bad faith in denying their claims for business interruption coverage after they were forced to cease operations in light of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place orders issued to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic (Grubstake Holdings LLC, et al. v. First Mercury Insurance Co., No. 20-4060, N.D. Calif.).
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on June 16 dismissed an insured’s bad faith claim against an auto insurer because Michigan law does not recognize a claim for bad faith that is based on a breach of contract (Damon P. Humphries v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 18-11006, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104669).
SAN ANTONIIO — A life insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on a beneficiary’s claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the insured’s misrepresentation was not material and because questions of fact exist as to whether the life insurer knew of the insured’s condition and whether the life insurer deviated from its standard procedures in issuing the policy, a Texas federal judge said June 5 (Deborah Thomas v. Government Personnel Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 18-1153, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98935).
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).