BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 13 granted a reinsurer’s motion to convene a status conference to schedule a new trial date in a reinsurance billings dispute over the allocation of a $120 million environmental claims settlement after determining that the reinsurer’s concerns regarding the inability of its witnesses to travel from England because of the rise in the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus are valid.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 12 lifted a stay of the briefing schedule in a reinsurer’s appeal of a $35 million judgment entered in favor of an excess insurer in an asbestos coverage dispute, ordering the reinsurer to file its principal brief and the joint appendix by Aug. 20.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania judge on Aug. 4 denied commercial insurers’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in a minor league baseball team owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured has sufficiently asserted “‘direct physical loss or damage’ to its property under the ‘physical contamination’ theory as a necessary condition to business interruption coverage."
ALBANY, N.Y. — Arguing that it is entitled to a new trial or altered or amended judgment, a reinsurer on Aug. 5 filed two notices of motions in a federal court in New York regarding a jury verdict that awarded $10,901,005 to an insurer in a dispute over defense costs paid for asbestos liabilities, citing in part a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision issued after the trial; the reinsurer also challenged a requested award of $8,444,834 in prejudgment interest.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina state business court judge on Aug. 4 denied motions for summary judgment filed by two insurers in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that neither of the insurers offered sufficient evidence proving that their policies included pollution exclusions.
NEW YORK — A panel’s combined ruling in favor of two reinsurers in asbestos billings and certificate disputes conflicts with prior decisions on the meaning of “covered” and “coverage” and on inconsistent reinsurance allocations, Utica Mutual Insurance Co. says in an Aug. 12 petition for rehearing en banc before the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri judge on Aug. 11 granted summary judgment in favor of a number of insurers after determining that under the applicable Missouri law, the policies’ pollution exclusions bar coverage for an underlying environmental contamination lawsuit filed against an insured.
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 11 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to quash a subpoena for the deposition of the president of the insurance company after determining that the insureds, seeking additional coverage for water and mold damages, failed to show that the company president was involved in the insurance company’s claims decisions.
PITTSBURGH — A majority of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on Aug. 10 partly reversed a lower court’s order coordinating coronavirus coverage lawsuits against Erie Insurance Exchange in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, noting that Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 213.1 limits coordination to “pending” lawsuits.
ERIE, Pa. — Following the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s centralization of coronavirus business interruption coverage lawsuits against Erie Insurance Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, a federal judge on Aug. 6 issued an order “in an effort to streamline these proceedings while at the same time maintaining and fostering ultimate judicial economy and minimizing the potential unnecessary expenditure of resources by the parties and counsel.”
ROME, Ga. — No coverage is afforded for a suit alleging that an insured’s operations intentionally caused waterways and drinking water to become polluted because the policies’ total pollution exclusion bars coverage, an insurer asserts in an Aug. 1 complaint filed in Georgia federal court.
TRENTON, N.J. — The owner of a warehouse that collapsed is not entitled to coverage for the collapse from its tenant because the tenant failed to name the owner as an additional insured and the owner failed to meet its burden of showing that it should have been named as an additional insured under the tenant’s policy, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division said Aug. 6.
BALTIMORE — Two commercial general liability insurers on Aug. 4 filed suit in a Maryland federal court disputing coverage for underlying lawsuits brought against their engineering firm insured by victims of the June 24 partial collapse of a Surfside, Fla., condominium high-rise, alleging that numerous policy exclusions preclude coverage for damages arising from the insured’s rendering or failure to render professional services.
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Aug. 4 denied a motion to remand an environmental coverage suit after determining that complete diversity of citizenship exists because the insured, named as a defendant, must be realigned as a plaintiff in the suit filed against its insurers by a third party seeking indemnification under the insured’s policies.
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Aug. 4 revived a bad faith claim against a commercial property insurer after determining that an issue of fact exists as to whether the insurer acted in bad faith in its handling of the insureds’ claim for water and mold damages.
CHICAGO — Hospitality industry insured plaintiffs on Aug. 3 moved for an injunction of all pending and future state court class actions in which insureds of Society Insurance Co. seek business interruption protection coverage arising out of the coronavirus pandemic until proceedings in a multidistrict litigation are completed, arguing to a federal court in Illinois that an injunction “is necessary to prevent Society from attempting to conduct a reverse auction with state court class action plaintiffs to the detriment of the Plaintiffs in this MDL.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Arguing that insurers are bound by what their insurance policy says and not what they wish it said, an insured in an Aug. 3 merits brief asks the Ohio Supreme Court to answer yes to a federal court’s certified question asking whether “the general presence in the community, or on surfaces at a premises, of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2” constitutes “direct physical loss or damage to property; or does the presence on a premises of a person infected with COVID-19 constitute direct physical loss or damage to property at that premises?”
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on July 26 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract claim against an insurer in a water damage dispute; however, the magistrate judge said the insured is permitted to amend the complaint one final time to specifically define any resulting property damage.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on July 27 granted an insurance broker’s motion for summary judgment in a dispute over asbestos coverage after determining that the insured’s negligence claim is time-barred because the claim accrued in 1995, well past the applicable statutes of limitations under either New York or New Jersey law.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — One month after a federal judge in Pennsylvania held that although Boscov's Department Store Inc.’s business has undoubtedly been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, its “alleged losses bear no causal connection to the physical condition of its properties,” Boscov’s on July 29 filed a notice of appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the no coverage ruling in its breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer.