ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on March 25 determined that an insured’s breach of contract claim cannot proceed but said that the insured’s bad faith claim can proceed because questions of fact exist regarding the insurer’s investigation and handling of the insured’s claim for product contamination following an ammonia leak in its warehouse (SatisPie LLC v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, No. 17-6234, W.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51861).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge recommended denying a primary insurer’s motion for expenses related to the excess insurer’s failure to enter into evidence a number of requests for admission in a bad faith suit because the excess insurer demonstrated that it had reasonable grounds to believe that it might prevail on the issues included in the requests for admission (Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. v. Twin City Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-858, E.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50962).
DENVER — An insurer acted in bad faith and breached the terms of an automobile insurance policy when it failed to properly evaluate an insured’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits after she was involved in an automobile accident, the insured argues in a March 23 complaint filed in Colorado state court (Marissa V. Ponder v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., No. 20-783, Colo. Dist., Denver Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on March 22 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to stay a water damage coverage suit after determining that the parties will not be prejudiced by a stay (Lawrence Lui, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 19-6337, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49946).
NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge on March 23 denied an auto insurer’s motion to bifurcate a bad faith claim after determining that the insurer failed to carry its burden of proving that judicial economy would be served if the claims in the complaint are bifurcated (Jason Meador v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Insurance Co., No. 19-2378, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49334).
MIAMI — Rather than dismiss a bad faith claim, co-trustees in a March 5 opposition ask a Florida federal court to abate that claim until a breach of contract claim is resolved in their lawsuit over a cost increase allegedly tied to captive reinsurance transactions that benefited an insurer’s corporate parent (Michael Foster, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., No. 19-24969, S.D. Fla.).
SEATTLE — An accidental death insurer acted in bad faith when it secretly canceled an insured’s policy and refused to pay benefits to its insured’s beneficiary after the insured died in an automobile accident, the beneficiary argues in a March 19 complaint filed in Washington federal court (Amy Billings v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., No. 20-426, W.D. Wash.).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana appellate panel in a March 10 unpublished opinion ruled that an insurer did not act in bad faith in its handling of an automobile insurance claim because the undisputed evidence shows that the insurer made all necessary payments to its insured under the policy’s underinsured motorist (UIM) provision (Larry Mickow v. AAA Insurance MemberSelect Insurance Co., No. 19A-CT-1546, Ind. App., 2020 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 300).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 1 denied a life insurer’s motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims after determining that the insured sufficiently alleged facts in support of the claims (Mahmud U. Haq v. Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Co., No. 19-10553, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36825).
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on March 19 dismissed an insured’s claims for bad faith and unfair claims practices against an auto insurer after determining that the insured failed to allege sufficient facts in support of the claims (Mike Castillo v. GEICO Casualty Co., No. 19-1259, D. Nev., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48048).
HOUSTON — The First District Texas Court of Appeals on March 17 determined that a trial court erred in refusing to abate an insured’s extracontractual claims from a declaratory judgment claim filed against an auto insurer because the extracontractual claims are dependent on the resolution of the declaratory judgment claim (In re State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., No. 01-19-00821, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 2214).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on March 17 dismissed a bad faith suit filed against a workers’ compensation insurer because the insured’s claim is governed by the laws of California, which is where the workers’ compensation claim was filed (Richard Duran v. National Interstate Insurance Co., No. 19-4779, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46725).
LOS ANGELES — Reinsurance “is not the type of insurance that supports a bad faith remedy,” a reinsurer argues in a March 16 reply in support of its motion to dismiss or strike insurers’ bad faith claim from a California federal court lawsuit regarding reinsurance payments (California Capital Insurance Co., et al. v. Maiden Reinsurance North America, Inc., No. 20-01264, C.D. Calif.).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a disability claimant after determining that based on the policy language, it was reasonable for the jury to conclude that the claimant was entitled to disability benefits (Brenda Sandoval v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, Nos. 19-1047, 19-1164, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8398).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on March 13 granted an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims after determining that the insurer did not breach its contract in denying the insured’s claim for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits because the insured recovered all the damages to which he was entitled from the tortfeasor (C. Dewayne Luckett v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 19-170, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44181).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 16 granted an auto insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s bad faith claim after determining that the insured failed to allege sufficient facts in support of her contention that the insurer acted in bad faith (Megan Ridpath v. Progressive Advanced Auto Insurance Co., No. 19-5871, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44796).
FLORENCE, S.C. — No coverage is owed under a business interruption insurance policy for losses incurred as a result of a civil authority evacuation order issued prior to Hurricane Florence because the civil authority order was not issued because of damage or destruction of an adjacent property as required by the policy, a South Carolina federal judge said Feb. 24 (Kelaher, Connell & Conner P.C., v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 19-693, D. S.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31081).
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 11 determined that an insured’s bad faith claim against an auto insurer will proceed because the auto insurer failed to prove that its conduct in handling the insured’s claim was nothing more than simple negligence (Joan Angeli et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 18-703, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43159).
WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island judge on March 11 granted summary judgment as to an insured’s breach of contract claim against its insurer, finding that coverage is not barred by a pollution exclusion, but denied summary judgment as to its bad faith claim because questions of fact remain (Dutchman Dental LLC v. The Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. KC-2016-1281, R.I. Super., Kent Co., 2020 R.I. Super. LEXIS 23).
TRENTON, N.J. — The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court on March 3 reversed a ruling in favor of insured homeowners in a water damage coverage dispute after determining that the property insurance policy at issue clearly precludes coverage for water damages (Robert Cusamano, et al. v. New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association, No. A-1704-18T2, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 438).