MIAMI — No coverage is owed for an insured’s business losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus because the insured failed to show that the virus is a biological agent as defined in the policy’s pollution condition endorsement, a Florida federal judge said May 20 in granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 21 reversed and remanded a district court’s duty-to-defend ruling in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the district court misapplied Minnesota law in determining that the insurer has a duty to defend only certain claims brought against the insured.
DENVER — A homeowners insurer has no duty to provide coverage to an insured for water and mold damages because the insured failed to prove that the damages at issue occurred during the applicable policy period, a Colorado federal judge said May 19 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims.
CHICAGO — The owner of a hotel, restaurant and convention center on May 7 reiterated its argument asking the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that its interpretation of its “all-risk” insurance policy’s business income coverage is reasonable and, therefore, the insurer has failed to establish the “legal insufficiency” of its complaint.
NEW YORK — An insurer in a May 7 appellee brief asserts that New York law is settled on the meaning of “direct physical loss” and that the several pages an art gallery insured “devotes to cites from jurisdictions far and wide is nothing but an exercise in misdirection” and asks the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a lower federal court’s dismissal of the insured’s complaint for failing to assert facts establishing “direct physical loss of or physical damage to” its gallery.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Two of the companies that make the herbicide paraquat on May 17 filed a declaratory judgment action against their insurers in Delaware state court contending that they owe the companies coverage for costs associated with defending paraquat injury claims from individuals who contend that the herbicide causes Parkinson’s disease.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 12 asked the owner of a Florida restaurant and its insurer to address whether the relevant pleadings in a coronavirus coverage lawsuit sufficiently alleged the citizenship of the parties to invoke a Florida federal court’s jurisdiction in the first instance.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 5 heard oral arguments in a dispute over whether Munich Reinsurance America Inc. breached its contract in denying Utica Mutual Insurance Co.’s billings of $2.7 million for asbestos bodily injury claims under a 1973 reinsurance certificate.
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on May 11 granted a reinsurer’s letter motion to postpone a trial date for a week in a dispute between an insurer and a reinsurer over whether defense costs paid on behalf of an insured for asbestos liabilities are covered under the reinsurer’s policies.
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on May 13 granted a motion for leave to file an amended complaint in a coverage dispute over pollution cleanup costs after determining that amendment of the complaint would not be futile and after finding that the amended complaint pleads additional facts related to the bad faith claim against the insurer.
CHICAGO — No coverage is owed for underlying lawsuits arising out of exposure to a chemical released by an insured’s medical operations plant because the absolute pollution exclusion bars coverage for the underlying suits, an insurer claims in a May 10 complaint filed in Illinois federal court.
NEW ORLEANS — A homeowners insurer owes no coverage for the collapse of a home’s joists as a result of termite and rot damage because there was no entire collapse of the home as required by the policy, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 13 in affirming a district court’s ruling in favor of the insurer.
NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on May 12 denied Ralph Lauren Corp.’s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and granted its insurer’s cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings in a coverage lawsuit arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured’s pleadings fail to include any specific allegations as to physical loss or damage to its covered or surrounding properties.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on May 10 held that, for now, a hair salon insured has plausibly stated a cause of action that it is entitled to “Communicable Disease Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage” for its losses arising from the governmental shutdown of its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss the insured’s declaratory judgment lawsuit in its entirety.
PHILADELPHIA — Denying an insurer’s motion to dismiss a retail furniture insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses stemming from the forced closure of its business in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a Pennsylvania federal judge on May 7 said the more-than-100-page policy requires “the insured to fall down a rabbit hole and wander through a vast thicket of verbiage that would leave even the most careful reader mystified by the mazes of pages to be pieced together and deciphered in order to determine if there is coverage on the other side.”
CHICAGO — Amici curiae in support of an insurer on May 5 asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a lower federal court’s dismissal of a restaurant insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its alleged $977,891 in lost business income arising from its government-ordered shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “[i]mposing a new and retroactive extra-contractual risk on insurers would threaten insurer solvency and harm Illinois’ insurance marketplace."
SAN FRANCISCO — The owner of two Los Angeles restaurants recently asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its lawsuit seeking coverage for its business income loss caused by the governmental shutdown orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, contending that the lower court dismissed its complaint “based on a range of hypothetical policy consequences” that render its interpretation of the policy “unreasonable — even if conceivable.”
NEW YORK — A Manhattan-based art gallery tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an April 2 brief that a lower federal court committed reversible error in its interpretation of an all-risk business owners insurance policy because it permitted the insurer to escape liability even though a reasonable interpretation of the policy requires the insurer to provide coverage for its losses arising from the forced cessation of its operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota federal judge on May 3 determined that the owner of an oil and gas well that exploded, injuring workers and killing one worker, is entitled to coverage under a number of policies as an additional insured and further determined that coverage is not barred by the pollution exclusions in the applicable policies based on a hostile fire exception and a time element exception.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on May 3 affirmed a trial court’s judgment in favor of a force-placed homeowners insurer on a negligence claim because the homeowner, who is seeking coverage for damages caused by an overflow of sewage in his home, failed to prove that the insurer had a duty to provide greater coverage than the coverage that was provided in the policy.