LOWELL, Mass. — In a March 29 docket endorsement, a Massachusetts judge denied an insured’s motion to dismiss an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that Massachusetts, rather than West Virginia where a similar suit was filed, is the proper forum to litigate the coverage dispute because the public and private factors weigh in favor of litigating the suit in Massachusetts.
DENVER — A valuation provision in a remodeler coverage endorsement applies to an insured’s claim for the collapse of its building because the remodeler coverage endorsement states that the endorsement’s valuation provision replaces any other valuation provision in the policy and without the endorsement, no coverage would be afforded for the collapse of the building, which was undergoing renovations, a Colorado federal judge said March 30 in granting a builders risk insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge on March 30 granted summary judgment to a plumbing parts manufacturer and to a condominium council in an action filed by a third-party plumbing subcontractor seeking contribution and indemnification for liability in underlying lawsuits arising from alleged water damage in a condominium building, finding that the subcontractor’s claims failed “to create a genuine dispute” regarding the manufacturer or the council’s liability.
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on April 13 denied an insurer’s motions for reconsideration in a dispute over coverage for a saltwater spill after determining that the insurer failed to identify any manifest error of law in the court’s denial of the insurer’s motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims and in the court’s denial of the insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Supreme Court majority on April 13 reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a corporate successor’s claims against a number of insurers after determining that the trial court and later, the appeals court, incorrectly determined that a predecessor’s post-loss assignment of rights was valid and enforceable.
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on April 12 granted a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a dispute over a policy’s communicable disease coverage, finding that a hair salon insured failed to demonstrate that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-20 due to a COVID-19 outbreak specifically at its premises.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — In response to a court-ordered status report about insurers’ cross-claims against a subcontractor and his company, a Kentucky federal judge on April 11 issued an order dismissing the cross-claims against the subcontractor but keeping the claims against his company in a coverage action related to alleged faulty water remediation.
ALBANY, N.Y. — After a New York federal judge mostly denied its post-trial motions in a long-running dispute over asbestos liabilities, reinsurer Clearwater Insurance Co. on April 12 appealed to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
ATLANTA — A Georgia federal judge on March 23 determined that an insured seeking coverage for environmental contamination costs incurred by a gasoline leak from a petroleum pipeline satisfied a $10 million self-insured retention (SIR) limit in its pollution liability insurance policy; however, the judge found that the insurer owes no coverage for the settlement of an underlying lawsuit arising out of the spill because the policy’s pollution condition exception bars coverage for the underlying suit.
NEW ORLEANS — An insured seeking coverage for environmental contamination remediation expenses incurred following a fire at the insured’s chemical facility filed a notice of appeal on March 31 in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, challenging a Texas federal judge’s ruling that the environmental premises liability insurer owes no coverage because the facility was not a covered location under the policy.
CLEVELAND — An Ohio appellate court on March 31 affirmed a trial court’s ruling on an insured’s motion to compel in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of the insured’s environmental contamination coverage claim after determining that the trial court did not err in determining that the insurer is required to produce a number of documents that are relevant to the insured’s bad faith claim under Ohio law.
PITTSBURGH — An insurer filed a notice of appeal on March 25 in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, challenging a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling that an insurer must indemnify its insured for damages to natural gas wells caused by an insured’s fracking work.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — An insurer has filed a petition in the South Carolina Supreme Court, seeking review of an appellate court’s ruling that the insurer waived its right to assert a late notice defense and must indemnify its insured for the settlement of an underlying asbestos exposure suit, according to an advance sheet filed by the high court on April 6.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 4 dismissed without leave to amend a retail chain’s claims against its insurer including for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by denying its claims for coronavirus shutdown-related damages, finding that the business didn’t suffer physical damages and that the policy’s exceptions included damage caused by fungus, rot “or virus.”
JACKSON, Miss. — Denying an insurer’s motion for rehearing and filing a substitute opinion, the Mississippi Supreme Court on March 31 refused to disturb its earlier finding that a pollution exclusion in an excess insurance policy is ambiguous and must be construed against the insurer in a coverage dispute over an explosion at a facility.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A dental insured on March 29 filed a notice indicating that it was appealing to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a Connecticut federal judge’s dismissal of its amended complaint seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus and subsequent shutdown orders.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on March 30 held that two insurers have a duty to defend a water treatment company insured against breach of contract, negligence and fraud litigation arising from the installation of a mercury removal system at a wastewater plant, rejecting the insurers’ contention that the product liability, your work, your product, pollution and professional liability exclusions bar coverage.
NEW ORLEANS — Defendants in an asbestos liability coverage suit on April 1 filed two motions in limine in a Louisiana federal court seeking to prohibit references at trial to insurance and to establish the admissibility of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.’s policy documents.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island justice on March 29 granted a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment in an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the presence of employees at insured locations who either tested positive for or were suspected to have the coronavirus does not establish that the insured suffered “physical loss or damage” to its locations as a matter of law.
FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on March 30 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to grant a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims in a mold and water damage coverage dispute because the insurer paid the insured for the damages related to a sewer backup and, therefore, did not breach its contract.