RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Denying in part an insurer’s motion to dismiss a class action seeking coverage for losses arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in California on March 4 held that it is plausible that “direct physical loss” of a beauty salon’s property “includes physical dispossession because of dangerous conditions (a virus in the air) or a civil authority order” that required the salon to close.
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on March 4 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a hotel and restaurant owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that although the insured has alleged “that COVID-19 survives and remains infectious on surfaces and objects for days,” it “has not alleged that COVID-19 was discovered in any of its covered properties.”
PHILADELPHIA — An insurer recently asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling that remanded a restaurant owner insured’s novel coronavirus coverage lawsuit to a New Jersey court, challenging the federal court’s finding that it should abstain from hearing the lawsuit “as a matter of comity” considering the “unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting legal issues."
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on March 2 denied a commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s amended complaint seeking damages for water damage and oil damage in its car dealership because it is not clear if water or a pollutant caused the insured’s loss.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A dozen insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. on March 2 joined an effort by another insurer to block state court asbestos claims against the debtor and sanction the plaintiffs, saying sanctions are appropriate given the “willful violations of the automatic stay” committed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys.
CINCINNATI — An insurer involved in a coverage dispute over asbestos liabilities on March 2 filed a letter in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to alert the court to a legal authority the insurer says is applicable to its argument addressing the elements for claim preclusion under Ohio law.
ATLANTA — An insurer says in a declaratory judgment lawsuit filed Feb. 22 in federal court in Georgia that it should not be required to defend or indemnify a subcontractor accused by a general contractor of improperly installing an exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS) on a North Carolina hotel because the alleged damages stemming from the work are excluded from a commercial general liability policy.
LAS VEGAS — A judgment was entered in favor of an insurer on Feb. 26, one day after a federal judge in Nevada found that the insurance policy does not cover the restaurant insureds’ losses arising from the government’s suspension of on-site dining in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and does not include onsite food service as one of the insured’s covered products.
LAS VEGAS — An all-risk insurer owes no coverage to an insured casino operator for losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the policy’s pollutant or contaminants exclusion clearly bars coverage; however, the insured is permitted to amend its complaint to assert additional facts in support of its unfair claims practices claim, a Nevada federal judge said Feb. 26.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 24 reversed a summary judgment ruling entered in favor of a homeowners insurer in a water damage coverage dispute after determining that the insurer’s payment of an appraisal award does not answer the question of whether the insurer acted in bad faith in handling the insureds’ claim.
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Feb. 23 denied a motion to file an amended complaint in a suit filed by insureds seeking coverage for asbestos contamination after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the addition of an insurance agent as a defendant is necessary to get complete relief.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurer of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. on Feb. 23 dropped its bid for sanctions against a couple who filed state court asbestos fraud claims against the debtor, saying it is withdrawing its request for sanctions due to the death of the husband but that it is continuing with its request against another couple and their law firm.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 22 refused to dismiss business interruption coverage and bad faith claims brought against an insurer in three bellwether lawsuits arising from the governmental shutdown of hospitality businesses in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that a reasonable jury can find that the insureds suffered “a direct ‘physical’ loss of property on their premises.”
CHICAGO — No coverage is owed to an insured city for an underlying suit filed by city residents who allege that the city supplied contaminated water to its residents because the policies’ exclusions for lead and pollution bar coverage, two insurers maintain in a Feb. 18 complaint filed in Illinois state court.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to a homeowners insurer on breach of contract and bad faith claims because the policy at issue clearly limited the amount of coverage available for fungi and wet-rot damages, an Ohio appellate panel said Feb. 23.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 22 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit brought by McDonald’s Corp. and former and current franchise owners seeking coverage for an underlying class action injunction alleging that they are taking inadequate steps to contain COVID-19 in the workplace.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 18 granted in part a commercial insurer’s motion to dismiss a dentist insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its lost income arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured fails to state a claim, but allowed the insured to amend his complaint and conduct discovery into his alter-ego theory.
PHILADELPHIA — Three insurers on Jan. 27 filed separate appellee briefs in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals defending a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in their favor in a steel manufacturer insured’s breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory relief lawsuit arising from underlying claims alleging exposure to various chemical additives at a muffler manufacturer’s facility.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 22 denied an insured’s petition for writ of certiorari in an oil and gas well damage suit, refusing to review the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the insured’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
SAN FRANCISCO — Small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams on Feb. 8 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of their breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their losses arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic.