Mealey's Insurance

  • July 09, 2020

    Covil: Asbestos Insurance Coverage Dispute Was Improperly Removed

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — An insurer removed an asbestos coverage dispute “on dubious grounds, hoping to achieve what it perceives to be a more favorable forum,” Covil Corp. tells a South Carolina federal court in a July 7 reply brief, seeking remand of its case, which also involves the South Carolina Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (SCPCIGA) (Covil Corporation v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-1979, D. S.C.).

  • July 09, 2020

    Federal Judge Provides Insured Additional Time To Submit Evidence In Collapse Suit

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on July 8 provided an insured with additional time to submit evidence in support of a motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of the collapse of a roof on the insured’s summer cabin (Nigel Groves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. S.I., No. 19-1453, E.D. Wis., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119553).

  • July 08, 2020

    Judge Dismisses Action Over Insurer’s Duty To Indemnify Mold Claim

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 7 dismissed a lawsuit against an insurer over coverage for homeowners’ personal injuries resulting from mold contamination because the homeowners lack standing to sue and the insured’s declaratory judgment claim regarding the insurer’s duty to indemnify is unripe (Joseph Oliver Construction, LLC, et al. v. Utica First Insurance Company, No. 19-4352, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118595).

  • July 08, 2020

    Judge Grants Insurer’s Motion For Summary Disposition In COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan judge granted an insurer’s motion for summary disposition during a July 1 hearing broadcasted on the judge’s personal meeting room on YouTube, finding that an insured’s complaint alleging loss of business due to shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus contains “no allegations of direct, physical loss of or damage to” its restaurants (Gavrilides Management Company LLC, et al. v. Michigan Insurance Co., No. 20-000258-CB, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Insurer: Insureds Failed To Plead Covered Losses Under Policy Provisions

    SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of two San Francisco restaurants have failed to state any claim for relief in arguing that their insurer breached the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for losses the restaurants suffered as a result of stay-at-home orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic because they have failed to sufficiently show that their losses fall within the policies’ business income or civil authority additional coverages, the insurer argues in a June 29 motion to dismiss in California federal court (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Pennsylvania Restaurant: Virus Exclusion Does Not Apply To Losses Over Coronavirus

    PITTSBURGH — A restaurant and tavern operator filed a class action against its “all-risk” commercial property insurer for breach of contract and declaratory relief in a federal court in Pennsylvania on June 11, arguing that its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders “arise from direct physical loss or damage” and that the policy’s virus exclusion does not apply (1 S.A.N.T., Inc. v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., et al., No. 20-862, W.D. Pa.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Law Firm In ‘Hotspot’ Sues Insurer Over Losses Arising From COVID-19, Closures

    NEW YORK — A Manhattan law firm on June 29 filed a class action in a federal court in New York alleging that its “all risk” commercial property insurer breached their contract by refusing to pay claims related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insurance policy “exemplifies the broken promise from insurance companies across the country” (Siegel & Siegel, et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-04993, S.D. N.Y.).

  • July 07, 2020

    Insured Reinforces ‘Forum Shopping’ Argument In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A law firm insured on July 6 replied to a business owners insurer’s opposition to its earlier motion asking a federal court in California to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that the presence or suspected presence of the novel coronavirus does not constitute “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage for the insured’s claimed loss of income (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, No. 20-03619, C.D. Calif.).

  • July 07, 2020

    Property Insurer Breached Contract, Acted In Bad Faith In Denying COVID-19 Claim

    PHILADELPHIA — A property insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith in using a pollution exclusion to deny coverage for business interruption and extra expenses arising out of the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an insured contends in a June 24 complaint filed in Pennsylvania court (Fegley Management & Energy, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 200601426, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

  • July 07, 2020

    Environmental Suit Dismissed; Judge Says State Court Is More Appropriate Venue

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on June 30 dismissed an insurer’s suit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying environmental contamination suit after determining that it is more appropriate for the Massachusetts state court to decide the coverage issue because that is where the underlying suit  is pending (Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. MRH Indian Enterprises LLC d/b/a A Plus Waste Recycling, et al., No. 19-11878, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114472).

  • July 06, 2020

    Dentist Reinforces Argument In Favor Of Staying COVID-19 Suit Pending JPMDL Ruling

    SEATTLE — A dentist insured argues in a June 26 reply that stay of his class action seeking coverage for losses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is warranted in “the interest of judicial economy, potential cost savings, and because there will be little, if any, prejudice” to the insurer “during the anticipated short duration of the requested stay” (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).

  • July 02, 2020

    Minor League Baseball Teams Voluntarily Dismiss COVID-19 Coverage Dispute

    PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on July 2 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of their breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).

  • July 02, 2020

    Documents Created After Collapse Claim Was Denied Are Protected, Judge Says

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia federal magistrate judge on June 30 said that documents created by an insured after a property insurer denied coverage for the collapse of the insured’s silo are protected because the documents were prepared in anticipation of litigation (Ramaco Resources LLC v. Federal Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-703, S.D. W.Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113813).

  • July 01, 2020

    Insured: Who Bears Risk When Government Orders Business Closed For Over 2 Months?

    BAY CITY, Mich. — A chiropractor insured filed a class action complaint in a Michigan federal court challenging insurers’ “systematic and uniform refusal to pay insureds” for their losses arising from Michigan’s March 24 executive order and related actions that suspended business operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Turek Enterprises, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-11655, E.D. Mich.).

  • July 01, 2020

    Collapse Provision Is Ambiguous, Virginia Federal Judge Determines

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia federal judge on June 29 partially granted an insured’s motion for summary judgment after determining that the term “decay” as used in a policy’s collapse provision is ambiguous (Derbyshire Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-731, E.D. Va., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113346).

  • July 01, 2020

    Insurer Dismisses Breach Of Contract Suit Over Asbestos Reinsurance Billings

    PHILADELPHIA — An insurer on June 29 dismissed its Pennsylvania federal court lawsuit for breach of contract over a reinsurer’s alleged refusal to pay $903,530.60 in billings for asbestos claims (Century Indemnity Company v. RLI Insurance Company, No. 20-2095, E.D. Pa.).

  • June 30, 2020

    Expenses Incurred In Cleaning Up COVID-19 Contamination, Restaurants Argue

    PHILADLEPHIA — Philadelphia restaurants on June 19 sued their insurers for breach of contract and bad faith in a Pennsylvania court, contending that they “have had to incur expenses in cleaning up the pollution and contamination caused by the novel coronavirus and this clean-up continues to the present and likely will continue into the foreseeable future” (The Marathon Grill Inc., et al. v. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 200600918, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

  • June 29, 2020

    No Coverage Owed For Rot, Termite Damage, Texas Federal Judge Says

    HOUSTON — 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, a Texas federal judge said June 24 (Beatrice Stewart v. Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, No. 19-5008, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111527).

  • June 26, 2020

    Restaurant Seeks To Stay COVID-19 Coverage Suit Pending JPMDL Ruling

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner on June 25 moved a Pennsylvania federal court to stay its class action breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment complaint against its all-risk commercial insurer for “swiftly” denying its claim for coverage for its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the insurer will suffer no prejudice if the lawsuit is stayed pending the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s resolution of two motions to transfer “this and nearly 200 other related cases in 38 federal districts” “for centralized pretrial proceedings” (Richard Kahn, et al. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-00781, M.D. Pa.).

  • June 26, 2020

    No Coverage Owed To Insured For Environmental Contamination Claims, 7th Circuit Says

    CHICAGO —The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage for environmental contamination claims asserted by neighbors because the policy’s exclusions for known loss and expected or intended injury clearly bar coverage (Carmine Greene, et al. v. Kenneth Will, et al., No. 19-2260, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19820).