YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Jan. 21 entered a judgment administratively closing a coronavirus coverage lawsuit two days after certifying to the Ohio Supreme Court the question of 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?”
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A rental dwelling insurer owes no coverage for mold damage discovered in the rental home’s flooring because the policy clearly precludes coverage for mold, rot and deterioration, an Arkansas federal judge concluded Jan. 21.
PHILADELPHIA — At the request of insurers of former Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co., the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 15 scheduled oral arguments in an appeal asking the court to decide whether asbestos disease sufferers in Montana can pursue state court negligence claims against the insurers.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 21 recommended that a property insurer’s motion for summary judgment be granted because the insured failed to meet her burden of proving that the insurer breached its contract or acted in bad faith in its handling of her claim for water damage and asbestos contamination.
NEW YORK — Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. filed a proposed consent order Jan. 7 in New York federal bankruptcy court seeking dismissal of its claims against the remaining insurer defendants in an adversary action over coverage for asbestos personal injury claims, subject to final approval of a settlement between the parties.
WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island judge on Jan. 19 granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in finding that the policy’s pollution exclusion bars coverage for third-party defendants in a dispute arising from hundreds of gallons of home heating oil that was delivered to the wrong location and caused environmental damage to a dental practice.
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 15 granted an “all-risk” commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss a restaurant and tavern operator’s class action seeking coverage for its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders, noting that although the insured and similarly situated businesses incurred interruptions to their business operations in a “truly unexpected and unprecedented” way, the court must base its coverage analysis “only on the terms of the insurance contract.”
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Jan. 19 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims arising out of the insurer’s denial of coverage for an oil spill on the insured’s property after determining that the policy at issue barred coverage for the oil spill based on the policy’s exclusions for pollution and deterioration or corrosion.
LONDON — A majority of the United Kingdom Supreme Court held Jan. 15 that a variety of insurance policy wordings cover policyholders’ business interruption losses resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent public health measures taken by authorities.
LOS ANGELES — An insurer and a reinsurer in a Jan. 13 motion ask a California federal judge to dismiss a dispute over the reinsurer’s alleged failure to indemnify environmental claims payments.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal magistrate judge on Jan. 13 dismissed a breach of contract and bad faith suit filed by insureds seeking coverage for methamphetamine contamination after determining that federal jurisdiction does not exist because the insureds and the insurer are citizens of Montana.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court should deny review of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ May 12 dismissal of an insured’s appeal in an oil and gas well damage suit for lack of jurisdiction because there is no circuit split regarding the finality of judgments, the insurer contends in its Jan. 11 response brief to the high court.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 10 denied a dental provider insured’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling that the insured failed to allege a “direct physical loss” to trigger coverage for its financial losses as a result of the novel coronavirus closure orders, further finding that it would be futile to allow the insured to amend the complaint.
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 11 declined to exercise jurisdiction over a bowling alley insured’s declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer, noting that because of the “relative recency” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, “Pennsylvania state courts have not yet developed a body of case law applicable to the state law issues presented in this case.”
MIAMI — A water exclusion clearly bars coverage for damages to an insured property caused by the failure of a cast iron plumbing pipe because the exclusion specifically excludes coverage for water that discharged or overflowed from a drain pipe, a Florida federal judge said Jan. 8 in granting an insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
MISSOULA, Mont. — Insureds seeking coverage for mold damages within their home must provide their homeowners insurer with requested medical bills, medical records and a list of consequential and extracontractual damages sustained as a result of the insurer’s denial of coverage, a Montana federal judge said Jan. 11 in granting the insurer’s motion to compel.
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a homeowners insurance policy’s “earth movement” exclusion barred coverage for Colorado insureds’ property damage that was caused by a rockfall, further affirming the court’s denial of the insureds’ motion to certify five coverage questions of law to the Colorado Supreme Court.
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer on Jan. 7 moved a New Jersey federal court to dismiss a breach of contract and reformation lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton, contending that although the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent “Stay-at Home” orders “have had an adverse economic impact” on the insureds’ business operations, “claims for such intangible economic damage simply are not within the scope of the property insurance policy.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The main asbestos insurer for Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. reiterated in a Dec. 31 reply brief in North Carolina federal court its belief that the debtor’s proposed plan of reorganization is fatally flawed because it does not protect the debtor’s insurers from fraud by asbestos claimants and their attorneys, adding that contrary to Kaiser’s assertions, it has standing to oppose the plan.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should affirm a district court’s confirmation of a $25 million arbitration award entered against an excess liability insurer in an environmental contamination coverage dispute because the district court did not err in granting the insured’s motion to compel arbitration as the lower court properly construed the policy’s alternative dispute resolution provision, the insured says in a Jan. 5 appellee brief.