Mealey's Insurance

  • October 20, 2020

    Judge: Reinsurer Must Cover $1.7M Of ASARCO Asbestos Claims Settlement

    NEW YORK — A reinsurer is responsible for its portion of a $35 million settlement of asbestos claims, a New York federal judge ruled Oct. 19, finding that the reinsurer is bound to an insurer’s allocation under the “follow-the-fortunes” doctrine (Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company v. OneBeacon Insurance Company, No. 14-4718, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192996).

  • October 19, 2020

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Criminal Indictment Claims, Judge Says

    OWENSBORO, Ky. — An insurer has no duty to defend insured directors and officers who were indicted for violating the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act by allegedly manipulating dust sampling equipment and testing processes at a company mine because the policies’ pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for the underlying claims against the insureds, a Kentucky federal judge said Oct. 15 (Charley Barber, et al. v. Arch Insurance Co., No. 19-142, W.D. Ky., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191204).

  • October 16, 2020

    Kaiser Gypsum Insurer Ready For Battle Against Debtors’ Plan In District Court

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. —  The principal asbestos insurer for Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. Inc. is ready to press forward in North Carolina federal court with at least 13 objections to Kaiser’s plan of reorganization, filing a motion Oct. 1 to set a briefing schedule on the plan after a bankruptcy judge recommended that the court confirm the plan (In re:  Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 20-537, W.D. N.C.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Insurer Can’t Intervene After $32.7 Million Asbestos Verdict, Judge Says

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Having spent decades defending a dissolved corporation and having waited until nearly a year after final judgment on a $32.7 million verdict, an insurer cannot now intervene in the case, a federal judge in North Carolina said Oct. 14 in finding that the insurer offered no justification for why it did not look for evidence of a 1991 dissolution ruling earlier (Ann Finch, et al. v. Covil Corp., No. 16-1077, M.D. N.C.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Insured Seeks Coverage For COVID-19 Damages Under Environmental Policy

    NEW YORK — An insured real estate development company contends in an Oct. 9 complaint filed in New York federal court that its environmental insurer breached its contract by denying coverage for losses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and state shutdown orders because the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, constitutes a pollutant under the policy (JEMB Realty Corp. v. Greenwich Insurance Co., No. 20-8537, S.D.N.Y.).

  • October 15, 2020

    Motion For Attorney Fees In Lead Coverage Suit Was Timely Filed

    BALTIMORE — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 vacated and remanded a district court’s denial of a third-party claimant’s motion for attorney fees in a lead paint coverage suit after determining that the request for attorney fees was timely filed (CX Reinsurance Company Limited v. Devon S. Johnson, No. 19-1516, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32394).

  • October 14, 2020

    Magistrate Judge Compels Discovery Over Allocation For Reinsurance Billings

    BOSTON — A federal magistrate judge in Massachusetts on Oct. 13 compelled in part an insurer to provide certain information in a privilege log on how it allocated a $120 million settlement of environmental claims for purposes of its reinsurance billings (Certain London Market Company Reinsurers v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-10534, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189115).

  • October 14, 2020

    Insurer Owes Duty To Defend Insured Against Mold Contamination Suit

    TACOMA, Wash. — A Washington federal judge on Oct. 13 determined that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured against an underlying mold contamination suit because it is unclear whether the mold was caused by a covered peril under the policy (Country Mutual Insurance Co. v. Evergreen Landing LLC, No. 20-5337, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189501).

  • October 13, 2020

    Judge:  Res Judicata Affirmative Defense Must Be Resolved Through Summary Judgment

    MONROE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 7 denied a property insurer’s motion to dismiss a water damage coverage suit after agreeing with a magistrate judge’s recommendation that the insurer’s affirmative defense of res judicata must be resolved through a motion for summary judgment (CRU Shreveport LLC v. United National Insurance Co., No. 20-151, W.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186676).

  • October 13, 2020

    Carrier Owes Duty To Defend Against Negligence Claim In Water Damage Dispute

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A homeowners insurer has a duty to defend its insureds against a negligence claim stemming from the sale of their home and their failure to properly correct the home’s water intrusion issues because there is a possibility of coverage under the policy at issue, a California federal judge said Sept. 18 (Vivian Schwartz, et al. v. Kemper Independence Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-0559, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187626).

  • October 13, 2020

    South Carolina Judge Sanctions Insurer Over Corporate Deposition Failures

    COLUMBIA, S.C.  — An insurer accused of being the alter ego of a defunct company hit with a $32.7 million verdict must produce its redacted mesothelioma tracking database and written responses to unanswered deposition questions asked of its corporate representative, a South Carolina judge said while imposing sanctions during a Sept. 10 hearing (Ann Finch v. Sentry Casualty Co., et al., No. 2019-CP-40-03003, S.C. Comm. Pls., Richland Co.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Insurer Tells 6th Circuit Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Case Should Have Been Dismissed

    CINCINNATI — An insurer argues in its Oct. 9 appellant brief to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that all the elements of claim preclusion have been met and, therefore, the appellate court should reverse a lower court’s denial of its motion to dismiss an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of the insured’s liability for underlying asbestos claims (William Powell Company v. National Indemnity Company, et al., No. 20-3737, 6th Cir.).

  • October 12, 2020

    Excess Insurer Raised Triable Issue On Injury-In-Fact In Asbestos Coverage Suit

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York Appellate panel on Oct. 9 determined that a trial court erred in finding that an injury-in-fact in an asbestos action occurs from the date of first claimed exposure through death or the filing of suit because the excess insurer raised a triable issue of fact in opposition to the insureds’ argument (Carrier Corp., et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., No. 396 CA 18-02292, N.Y. Sup. App Div., 4th Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5833).

  • October 09, 2020

    Magistrate Recommends Remanding Dental Office’s Coronavirus Coverage Dispute

    SAN ANTONIO — A magistrate on Oct. 7 issued a report recommending that a Texas federal court grant a dental office insured’s motion to remand its coronavirus coverage lawsuit to Texas court, finding that the insured has properly stated a claim against one of the defendants for her conduct as an individual insurance adjuster (Louis G. Orsatti, DDS, P.C v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-00840, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185935).

  • October 08, 2020

    Judge’s ‘Narrow Decision’ Dismisses Restaurant’s Coronavirus Suit With Leave To Amend

    DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on Oct. 7 granted an “all risk” commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss its restaurant insured’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for its losses arising from the novel coronavirus, allowing the insured to replead (Vandelay Hospitality Group LP v. The Cincinnati Insurance  Company, et al., No. 20-01348, N.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185581).

  • October 08, 2020

    Issues Of Fact Exist As To Reasonableness Of Settlements In Defective Stucco Suit

    TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Oct. 5 affirmed a trial court’s ruling that material issues of fact exist as to the reasonableness of an insured general contractor’s settlements with homeowners whose homes sustained water damage as the result of the use of defective stucco (Bob Meyer Communities Inc. v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. A-4526-18T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1873).

  • October 08, 2020

    Asbestos Coverage Suit Must Be Adjudicated In Pennsylvania State Court

    TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma federal judge on Oct. 6 granted an insured’s motion to dismiss its excess insurer’s complaint seeking a coverage declaration for underlying asbestos claims filed against the insured after determining that the coverage dispute should be adjudicated by a Pennsylvania state court where the insured filed a similar suit (TIG Insurance Co., et al. v. FKI Industries Inc., et al., No. 18-264, N.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184786).

  • October 07, 2020

    Judge Stays Billings Dispute Over Environmental Claims Due To Reinsurer's Insolvency

    BOSTON — Citing an English reinsurer's recent insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings, a federal judge in Massachusetts on Oct. 5 issued a further stay of a reinsurance billings dispute over the allocation of a $120 million settlement of environmental claims (Certain London Market Company Reinsurers v. Lamorak Insurance Co., No. 18-10534, D. Mass.).

  • October 07, 2020

    2nd Circuit Should Sanction Insurer For Frivolous Appeal In Contamination Suit

    NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should sanction an insurer for appealing a New York federal judge's decision to confirm an arbitration award in favor of the insured for underlying groundwater contamination liabilities because the insurer's appeal is frivolous and because the insurer failed to demonstrate any basis to vacate the award, the insured contends in an Oct. 5 brief in support of its motion for sanctions (HDI Global SE, f/k/a HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG v. Phillips 66 Co., No. 20-1743, 2nd Cir.).

  • October 07, 2020

    Insureds Ask Delaware High Court To Reverse No Coverage Ruling For Rainstorm Damage

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Delaware insureds on Sept. 22 asked the state's highest court to reverse a lower court's ruling that granted a homeowners insurer's motion for summary judgment, arguing that coverage exists for a pedestrian bridge and wall that was damaged during a rainstorm (Eric Monzo, et al. v. Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 199,2020, Del. Sup.).