PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on Aug. 15 awarded an insured more than $1.3 million in attorney fees after determining that a fee multiplier of 1.5 is appropriate because the insured’s counsel faced a risk of nonpayment in handling the insured’s auto coverage suit (Peggy Foraker v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-87, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137786).
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 15 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insureds are estopped from alleging a breach of contract claim based on their participation in an appraisal proceeding and that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer acted in bad faith by delaying the payment of their claim for storm damages to their home (Matthew and Wendy Meisenheimer v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, No. 17-2153, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138220).
BOSTON — An insured’s complaint alleging that an insurer violated fair debt collection practices in handling an auto coverage claim must be dismissed because the insured failed to prove that the insurer’s request for reimbursement of a payment was a debt and failed to show that the insurer acted in bad faith in attempting to recover the payment made to the insured, a Massachusetts federal judge said Aug. 17 (Alex Rodolakis, et al. v. Safety Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-12080, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140430).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 17 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage for property damage caused by a wildfire known as the Waldo Canyon Fire, rejecting the insureds’ argument that there were errors in the jury instructions (Paul Macomber, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Group, No. 17-1194, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22927).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Aug. 1 denied a life insurer’s request for a new trial or judgment as a matter of law on breach of contract and bad faith claims and denied its motion to strike a reinsurance underwriter’s testimony (DCD Partners LLC, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-03238, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135792).
McALLEN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 13 dismissed claims alleging violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) and the Texas Insurance Code (TIC) after determining that the insureds failed to state facts in support of the claims, leaving the claims for breach of contract and bad faith to be decided in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Alfredo Murillo Jr., et al. v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., No. 18-208, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136946).
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 13 stayed an insured’s bad faith suit and granted an insurer’s motion to compel appraisal of the insured’s claim for hailstorm damages after determining that the insurer did not waive its right to invoke the policy’s appraisal provision (Rainey Rogers v. Nationwide General Insurance Co., No. 18-213, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136062).
SEATTLE — An ongoing operations exclusion precludes coverage for water damage caused by an insured, a Washington federal judge ruled Aug. 13, granting summary judgment to an insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims (Diamond Construction LLC and Bellevue Park Homeowners Association v. Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-1408, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136335).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal magistrate judge on Aug. 2 denied an insurer’s motion to strike the expert testimony submitted by an insured to refute the opinions offered by the insurer’s bad faith expert in a water damage coverage dispute, but said the insured’s expert can testify at trial only if the insurer’s expert testifies (Robert Danganan v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-2786, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129738).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In a case over the denial of benefits under four long-term disability insurance policies, a reinsurer argues in an Aug. 1 motion that an Alabama federal court should dismiss breach of contract, bad faith and fraud claims because it is not a party to the policies (Horace R. Theriot Jr. v. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00688, M.D. Ala.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Aug. 6 ruled that insureds timely filed their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against their insurer and that the insurer failed to show “beyond doubt” that their claims were barred by the statute of limitations (Daniel Foster, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 18-0485, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133897).
SAN DIEGO — Claims for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of an insurer’s denial of coverage for an underlying wrongful eviction suit will proceed, a California federal judge said July 26 after determining that the insurer failed to prove that the underlying suit is excluded by any of the applicable policy exclusions (Black Mountain Center L.P., et al., v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, No. 17-1776, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125496
DENVER — An insured’s alleged non-cooperation in the adjustment of an auto claim cannot be asserted as an affirmative defense by an insurer during trial on the insured’s remaining claim for unreasonable delay or denial of benefits in violation of Colorado law, a Colorado federal judge said July 20 in entering a ruling on a number of pending pretrial issues (Wendy L. Peden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 14-982, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121693).
SEATTLE — A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer on a third-party bad faith counterclaim because the third parties failed to show that any possible bad faith in the handling of their claim resulted in any harm, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 31 in affirming the lower court’s opinion (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Shelbie Frounfelter, et al., No. 17-35313, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21204).
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma federal judge on Aug. 8 ordered a coverage dispute over property damage caused by a tornado administratively closed after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Charles A. Shadid LLC v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-595, W.D. Okla.).
BEAUFORT, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on Aug. 7 ruled that a commercial inland marine insurance policy should be interpreted according to its typewritten Special Provisions section, which excludes coverage for wind, hail and flood damage, granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising from three golf courses damaged by Hurricane Matthew (Greenwood Communities and Resorts, Inc. v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 16-3995, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132270).
DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on Aug. 7 ruled that expert testimony in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit will not be excluded because an insurer’s challenge as to the reliability of the expert’s opinion is overly broad and the testimony is relevant to the insurer’s defenses that its investigation of the insured’s underinsured motorist (UIM) claim that it acted reasonably in handling the claim (Christopher Meek v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 17-0606, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132154).
NEW YORK — A life insurer wrote to a New York federal court on Aug. 6 requesting an extension of the motion to dismiss briefing schedule in a class action alleging breach of policies by the unlawful increase of the premium costs to recoup costs associated with the acquisition (Derek Fan, et al. v. Phoenix Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-01288, S.D. N.Y.).
FRESNO, Calif. — Claims for bad faith and punitive damages alleged against an insurer in an environmental contamination coverage suit can move forward, a California federal judge said Aug. 1 after determining that the insured has sufficiently alleged facts in support of the claims (City of Fresno v. Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Co., No. 18-504, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129224).
DENVER — A disputed issue of material fact precludes summary judgment regarding an auto insurer’s liability to an organization for which an insured allegedly worked, a Colorado federal judge said July 23 in denying the insurer’s motion for summary judgment (Sarah Drobek v. Government Employees Insurance Co., et. al., No. 16-2512, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122112).