SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In a dispute over whether a reinsurer is obligated to pay an insurer’s defense expenses arising from a $3.2 million asbestos claims settlement, a New York federal judge on May 23 declined to reconsider an earlier finding of ambiguity in the reinsurance certificate provisions (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., Nos. 12-00196 & 13-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO — Requests by Oakfabco Inc. insurers and a claims management company to dismiss fraud allegations leveled in an adversary case by Oakfabco’s Asbestos Claimants’ Committee failed May 15 when an Illinois bankruptcy judge found that the committee’s claims are pleaded sufficiently enough to withstand a motion to dismiss (Asbestos Claimants Committee v. American Casualty Company of Reading, PA, et al., No. 18-00002, N.D. Ill. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 1461).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — In an April 30 opposition brief, a reinsurer argues that an insurer’s request to reconsider a New York federal judge’s finding of ambiguity in the reinsurance certificate provisions related to an underlying $3.2 million asbestos settlement “is a textbook example of a party improperly seeking to reargue issues already addressed” (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., Nos. 12-00196 & 13-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a district court’s ruling in an environmental contamination dispute because the insurer should be permitted to reform the policy as the evidence supports the insurer’s contention that the parties intended the policy to include a pollution exclusion, the insurer argues in an April 8 reply brief (ACE American Insurance Co. v. Exide Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-15392, 11th Cir.).
MINEOLA, N.Y. — A New York state justice on May 16 dismissed a suit filed by insureds in a dispute over coverage for the collapse of their garage after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer breached its contract, acted in bad faith or committed fraud in its handling of the claim (John A. Petrilli, et al. v. Adirondack Insurance Exchange, et. al., No. 600128/18, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.).
ELGIN, Ill. — The First District Illinois Appellate Court on May 15 affirmed a trial court’s finding that insurance policies issued between 1977 and 1985 to an insured who is seeking coverage for an asbestos exposure claim are primary policies with self-insured retentions and cannot be considered excess policies as the insurer contended (Lamorak Insurance Co. v. Kone Inc., No. 1-16-3398, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2nd Div., 2018 Ill. App. LEXIS 279).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Second Department New York Supreme Court Appellate Division on May 16 reinstated claims of gross negligence and punitive damages against an insurer and a remediation company after determining that the insureds sufficiently stated facts to support the claims (Richard Bennett, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., Nos. 10385/13, 385/14, 602582/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3482).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two insurers of Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. have had enough, filing their second motion May 7 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court to dismiss the case, accusing the company and its primary insurer of using the bankruptcy forum to better their own interests to the detriment of asbestos disease sufferers (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. — An insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying suit alleging damages as a result of odors emanating from an insured’s holding pond because the policy’s pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for the underlying suit, a Georgia federal judge said May 16 (Recyc Systems Southeast LLC v. Farmland Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-225, M.D. Ga., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82248).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Two reinsurers on May 4 moved to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit arising out of the settlement of asbestos claims because a Connecticut federal court lacks personal jurisdiction as the contracts were formed and performed outside of the state (Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-00088, D. Conn.).
AMARILLO, Texas — The Seventh District Texas Court of Appeals on May 14 affirmed a trial court’s ruling in favor of an insurer after determining that the trial court did not err in concluding that the insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in its handling of the insured’s claim for water damage (Mahmoud Abdalla v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 07-17-00020, Texas App., 7th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 3358).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 14 reversed a district court’s ruling that an insurer owes no coverage to its insureds for a gasoline leak that contaminated a nearby pond because the insurer is estopped from denying coverage as the insureds were clearly prejudiced by the insurer’s refusal to provide independent counsel to the insureds (Grain Dealers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tammy Cooley, et al., No. 17-60307, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12502).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California federal judge on May 11 ordered the city of Laguna Beach and its insurer to show cause why a coverage dispute over a sewer backup should not be stayed in its entirety pending resolution of the underlying lawsuit (Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Company v. Laguna Beach, No. 17-00277, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80214).
BOSTON — A church’s loss when its ceiling fell is covered by the collapse coverage part of an insurance policy, a Massachusetts federal magistrate judge ruled May 10, finding that “faulty construction” and “wear and tear” exclusions do not apply (Easthampton Congregational Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-30061, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78777).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Instead of addressing the admissibility of evidence in a dispute over the application of follow-the-fortunes clauses in reinsurance certificates for a $3.2 million asbestos settlement, an insurer argues in a May 8 opposition that a reinsurer’s “so-called ‘motion in limine’ is riddled with theories about the merits of the parties’ claims and defenses” (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Munich Reinsurance America Inc., Nos. 12-00196 & 13-00743, N.D. N.Y.).
SEATTLE — A district court did not err in finding that an insurer owes no coverage for damage to apartments from hidden decay under its policies’ “collapse” provisions because the damage has not rendered the apartment building unfit or unsafe for occupancy, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 9 (American Economy Insurance Co. v. CHL LLC, No. 16-35606, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12159).
NEW YORK — In a coverage dispute over asbestos litigation costs, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 9 vacated a lower court’s entry of summary judgment for a reinsurer and remanded for reconsideration of the reinsurance contracts applying a New York high court ruling on the per-occurrence liability cap (Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co., No. 15-2164, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 12121).
ST. LOUIS — Based on a Missouri Court of Appeals’ allocation ruling in an asbestos coverage dispute, a Missouri federal judge on May 8 vacated a prior allocation ruling and said that the all-sums method, rather than a pro rata method, is the correct method of allocation (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of North America, No. 14-1112, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77061).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on May 7 determined that while a coverage ruling regarding an insured’s claim for water intrusion damages and investigation costs could not be made at this juncture, the insurer’s policy does afford coverage for water intrusion and mold (Market Place North Condominium Association v. Affiliated FM Insurance Co., No. 17-625, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76724).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on May 3 dismissed an insured’s suit seeking coverage from its insurer for asbestos-related liabilities because complete diversity of jurisdiction no longer exists as a result of the intervention of the insured’s predecessor in the suit (Hyster-Yale Group Inc. v. Continental Insurance Co., No. 17-2341, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75345).