NEW YORK — Northwell Health Inc. sued two of its “all-risk” commercial property insurers in a federal New York Court on Feb. 8, arguing that it has experienced hundreds of millions of dollars of costs and losses that are covered under the policies because the presence of the novel coronavirus and the resulting COVID-19 disease caused direct physical loss of and/or damage to its covered property and the suspension of its business activities due to the coronavirus “includes a wide variety of procedures, some of which are anything but a matter of choice.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Noting that he “wholeheartedly” regrets that business owners “have had little to no luck seeking recourse in federal court,” a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 8 said he is “compelled” to agree with most of his colleagues and granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner’s class action seeking coverage for its business closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A trial court did not err in finding that a policy’s exclusion for chemical or biological materials precludes coverage for the contamination of water systems at mink farms that occurred during a vandalism incident because the damage to the water systems was caused by the dispersal of a poisonous chemical, the Minnesota Court of Appeals said Feb. 8.
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 4 found that a commercial property insurance policy’s “virus and bacteria” and “consequential loss” exclusions bar business income, extra expense and civil authority coverage for a hair salon insured’s claims arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown orders but that the insured’s claim under the policy’s communicable diseases coverage survives the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on Jan. 29 granted a motion to vacate an appraisal award in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of a water and mold coverage dispute after determining that the umpire who issued the award improperly limited the scope of the appraisal.
LOS ANGELES — An excess insurer must reimburse its insured for almost $8 million incurred by the insured in settling underlying asbestos-related claims because the insured has proven that it exhausted all underlying coverage and that the excess policy attached, a California trial court judge said Jan. 25.
NEW YORK — In an environmental contamination coverage dispute that has been pending for more than 30 years, a New York federal judge on Feb. 4 determined that an insurer must pay an insured approximately $25 million for past environmental contamination costs incurred at one of the insured’s sites because there is no genuine dispute of material fact that the costs incurred by the insured’s successor arose as a result of the insured’s operations at the site.
TAMPA, Fla. — No coverage is owed for an insured restaurant chain’s business losses caused by shutdown orders issued by state governors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the insured did not sustain a physical loss to any of its insured properties, a Florida federal judge said Feb. 4 in granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
PHILADELPHIA — A restaurant insured on Jan. 21 asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reject a business insurer’s appeal seeking to reverse a lower court’s remand of its coverage lawsuit seeking recovery of damages caused by the novel coronavirus and governmental closure orders, arguing that it seeks solely declaratory relief involving novel state law issues related to the entitlement of coverage under policies issued to Pennsylvania business owners.
PHILADELPHIA — A restaurant and tavern operator on Jan. 29 joined a motion with seven other insureds asking the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to consolidate their appeals of lower federal courts’ dismissals of their lawsuits seeking coverage for their business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders, contending that consolidation will achieve “significant efficiencies” and “facilitate certification" of "the novel and determinative questions of Pennsylvania law” that are discussed in each appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California judge on Jan. 28 overruled an insurer’s demurrer in a complaint seeking coverage for damages sustained as a result of the novel coronavirus after determining that the insurer failed to prove that the insured did not sustain a direct physical loss at its facility.
NEW YORK — An excess insurer does not object to a reinsurer’s request for approval of a supersedeas bond and stay of execution of a judgment entered in favor of the excess insurer while the reinsurer pursues an appeal of a $35 million judgment and an award of more than $2.9 million in prejudgment interest entered against the reinsurer in an asbestos coverage dispute, according to the excess insurer’s response filed Jan. 11 in New York federal court.
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer on Jan. 29 opposed Ralph Lauren Corp.’s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings in the insured’s New Jersey federal lawsuit alleging that the novel coronavirus and subsequent stay-at-home orders have caused it to incur direct physical loss and physical damage, arguing that “this litigation boils down to four straightforward questions.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida insured on Jan. 14 filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, 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 and its progeny, noting that “certain issues presented overlap with the recent proliferation of COVID-19 insurance cases across the country.”
MEDFORD, Ore. — A federal magistrate judge’s recommendation that an insured’s motion for summary judgment in a pollution liability coverage suit should not be adopted because jet fuel is not used in “logging and firefighting operations performed on the ground” as required for coverage to exist under the policy, an insurer contends in its Jan. 12 reply in support of its objections to the magistrate judge’s findings.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 28 dismissed all but a breach of contract claim against an environmental liability insurer and the former owner of a battery manufacturing facility after determining that only one of the plaintiffs raised a question of fact as to whether it is a third-party beneficiary under the environmental policy at issue.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on Jan. 28 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to enforce a settlement agreement reached during the mediation of a water and mold damage coverage dispute after determining that there is no basis for finding that the settlement agreement is substantially unfair to the insureds.
LOS ANGELES — A business insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying an insured’s claim for a gas leak at its insured gas station because the insured failed to prove that the gas leak was caused by an accident for which coverage would be afforded under the policy, a California federal judge said in an amended Jan. 29 opinion.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — In response to the “devastating impact” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Washington senators on Jan. 26 introduced Senate Bill 5351, which would codify the interpretation of “loss” and “damage” in the context of business interruption insurance policies and give insureds additional time to challenge insurers’ denial of their business interruption insurance claims.
CHICAGO — The owner and operator of an Illinois pancake restaurant on Jan. 24 sued its commercial property insurer in an Illinois federal court for breach of contract and bad faith and sought a declaration that its expected more than $400,000 in business interruption losses in connection with the governmental closure orders arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic are covered under its policies.