WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 29 denied a Florida insured’s petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of whether construction dust and debris constitutes “direct physical loss” to its restaurant to trigger coverage under an “all-risk” insurance policy and whether a court erred in excluding three of its causation experts under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its progeny.
ATLANTA — The owner of a Florida restaurant on March 25 filed a notice of appeal in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking review of a Florida federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
CHICAGO — An insured on March 23 sued two of its insurers for breach of contract in a federal court in Illinois, seeking event cancellation coverage for its alleged several million dollars in losses arising out of its “necessary and unavoidable cancellation” of the May 2020 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago due to circumstances that were created by the coronavirus pandemic.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 24 affirmed a district court’s decision to confirm an arbitration award in favor of an insured for underlying groundwater contamination liabilities because the arbitration panel did not manifestly disregard the policy or manifestly disregard New York law in issuing the award.
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on March 19 dismissed an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith claims against an insurer after determining that the insured failed to show that the insurer breached its contract by relying on the policy’s wear and tear exclusion to deny coverage to the insured for water damages to her home.
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on March 19 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a coronavirus coverage dispute, finding that a franchisee of Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California and its parent and affiliated companies have failed to plausibly allege “direct physical loss of or damage to” their property to trigger coverage under the policy.
PASADENA, Calif. — An insured in a Feb. 25 brief asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and the subsequent civil authority orders, arguing that pursuant to California’s rules of policy interpretation, the lower court had a duty to adopt the insured’s reasonable interpretation of the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to property."
PHILADELPHIA — An employers liability insurer has a duty to defend an employer against an underlying suit filed by a former employee and arising out of the former employee’s exposure to lead and cadmium fumes because the policy’s intentional injury exclusion does not preclude coverage, a Pennsylvania federal judge said March 19.
TRENTON, N.J. — A professional liability insurer has no duty to defend an insured home inspection company for an underlying negligence suit arising out of the explosion of a propane tank following a home inspection because the policy’s flammable materials exclusion clearly precludes coverage, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division said March 19 in reversing a trial court’s ruling.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 18 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a hospital insured’s class action lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief as to coverage for its losses caused by the coronavirus and the subsequent governmental orders, finding that the insured failed to establish an initial right to coverage and the policy’s virus exclusion further bars recovery.
NEW YORK — An insurer is appealing a New York federal judge’s ruling that the insurer owes its insured $25 million for past environmental contamination costs incurred at one of the insured’s sites and approximately $24.2 million in prejudgment interest, according to a March 5 notice of appeal filed by the insurer in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on March 17 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton, finding that the insureds’ “general statements that the COVID-19 virus was on surfaces and in the air at their properties is insufficient to show property loss or damage.”
RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on March 16 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying coverage for an insured’s water and mold damages because the policy’s water exclusion clearly precludes coverage.
ATLANTA — No coverage is owed for mold damage discovered in an insured hotel because the mold damage, caused by various construction defects, incepted prior to the applicable policy period and was not caused by an external event for which coverage would be afforded, a Georgia federal judge said March 15.
NEW YORK — Two commercial property insurers on March 11 asked a New York federal court to dismiss Northwell Health Inc.’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking $1.25 billion in coverage for its property and business interruption losses and decontamination costs arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the purported presence of the COVID-19 virus in the insured’s facilities did not cause any physical damage to its property and did not cause it to treat a less profitable mix of patients (Northwell Health, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Company, et al., No. 21-01104, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on May 5 in a dispute over whether Munich Reinsurance America Inc. breached its contract in denying Utica Mutual Insurance Co.’s billings of $2.7 million for asbestos bodily injury claims under a 1973 reinsurance certificate.
ATLANTA — An insurer in a March 12 response asks the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reject an insured’s motion to consolidate its appeal of a lower court’s dismissal of its lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic with two related appeals for oral argument, contending that “consolidation would prejudice the parties by risking confusion of the unique and complex factual and legal issues in each case.”
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 3 heard oral arguments via video of an appeal in an asbestos coverage dispute in which an insurer argued that reversal of a district court’s denial of the insurer’s motion to dismiss the insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit is warranted based on claim preclusion.
SEATTLE — The owner and operator of the Space Needle in Seattle on March 12 sued its insurer for breach of a contract and declaratory judgment in a federal court in Washington, seeking to recoup the “millions of dollars in revenues” it lost when its busines was interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
CAMDEN, N.J. — No coverage is owed to insured restaurant and food service operators for business losses caused by the shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the virus exclusions in the applicable property insurance policies unambiguously bar coverage for any losses caused by any virus, a New Jersey federal judge said March 12 in granting the insurers’ motion to dismiss.