Mealey's Insurance

  • December 13, 2019

    Environmental Liability Insurer Owes Additional $2.9M In Coverage, Insured Says

    BOSTON — An environmental liability insurer must pay an additional $2.9 million for the discharge of wastewater at an insured food processing facility because mitigation costs related to the pollution event are covered under the policy at issue, the insured asserts in a Dec. 11 complaint filed against the insurer in Massachusetts federal court (Ken’s Foods Inc. v. Steadfast Insurance Co., No. 19-12492, D. Mass.).

  • December 11, 2019

    Insurers Permitted To Depose Company Officials In Contamination Suit

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina state business court judge on Dec. 6 partially granted a motion to compel the depositions of an insured’s top company officials after determining that the information sought by the insurers from the officials is relevant to the environmental contamination coverage dispute (Duke Energy Carolinas LLC, et al., v. AG Insurance SA, et al., No. 17-5594, N.C. Business, 2019 NCBC LEXIS 103).

  • December 10, 2019

    Judge Says Common-Law Bad Faith Claim Cannot Proceed Against Insurer

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Dec. 5 determined that an insured’s breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim can proceed but that the insured’s bad faith claim cannot stand because there was a legitimate dispute as to whether coverage was afforded under the policy for the collapse of a breezeway at a building owned by the insured (DENC LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 18-754, M.D. N.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209651).

  • December 10, 2019

    6-Year Delay In Notice Bars Coverage For Underlying Contamination Suit

    PEORIA, Ill. — An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 5 granted an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings after determining that no coverage is afforded for an underlying environmental contamination suit arising out of the insured’s mining operation because the insured’s six-year delay in providing the insurer with notice of the underlying suit bars coverage (Rockhill Insurance Co. v. Carri Scharf Materials Co., No. 18-1380, C.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209581).

  • December 09, 2019

    Texas Panel Partly Reverses Ruling In Coverage Dispute Over Hurricane Rita Damage

    HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Nov. 26 reversed the portion of a lower court’s judgment awarding treble damages for an insurer’s “knowing violations of the Texas Insurance Code” and interest related to the award in a lawsuit arising from Hurricane Rita damage to the insured’s wells and pipelines, further reversing the part of the judgment that awarded Texas Insurance Code Prompt Payment damages on a December 2007 partial payment made by the insurer and related prejudgment interest (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al. v. Prime Natural Resources, Inc., No. 01-17-00881, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10275).

  • December 06, 2019

    Bad Faith Claim Cannot Stand, Federal Judge Says In Granting Motion To Dismiss

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 4 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss a bad faith claim arising out of the insurer’s denial of coverage for an oil spill on the insured's property after determining that the insured failed to allege sufficient facts in support of her claim for bad faith (Dorothy Biela v. Westfield Insurance Co., No. 19-4383, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209418).

  • December 05, 2019

    Federal Judge Denies Insurers’ Motions To Intervene In Contamination Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 3 denied motions to intervene by a number of insurers in a dispute over liability for groundwater contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act after determining that the insurers failed to show good cause for intervening in the suit (California Department of Toxic Substances Control, et al. v. Jim Dobbas Inc., et al., No. 14-0595, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209377).

  • December 05, 2019

    Issue Of Fact Exists On Exception To Frozen-Plumbing Exclusion In Insured’s Policy

    SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on Dec. 3 adopted a magistrate’s report and recommendation that a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment should be denied on the basis that a question of fact exists as to whether water damages sustained in an insured building fall within the policy’s exception to a frozen-plumbing exclusion (Brandy Ventures LLC v. Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Co., No. 18-641, E.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208898).

  • December 05, 2019

    Insurer Asks Court To Confirm Final Award In Reinsurance Billings Case

    CHICAGO — An insurer argues in a Nov. 22 brief that an Illinois federal court should confirm a final award in its reinsurance billings dispute over asbestos claims and reject a reinsurer’s motion to confirm an interim award (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-4341; Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 19-7080, N.D. Ill.).

  • December 04, 2019

    Judge Denies Reinsurer’s Post-Trial Motions In Case Against Insurer Over Billings

    UTICA, N.Y. — In an “epilogue to a hard-fought contract dispute” between an insurer and a reinsurer over the reinsurer’s alleged breach of two indemnity agreements for asbestos claim settlements, a New York federal judge on Dec. 3 denied the reinsurer’s motion to amend or correct the judgment, renewed motions for judgment as a matter of law, motion for a new trial and motion for post-trial discovery (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Century Indemnity Co., No. 13-995, N.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207547).

  • December 03, 2019

    Pollution Exclusion Dispute Transferred From Michigan To Indiana Federal Court

    DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on Nov. 19 transferred an insurer’s action seeking a declaration that no coverage is owed for an underlying suit based on the policy’s pollution exclusion after determining that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is the proper venue (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. McKinley Inc., et al., No. 19-11418, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200148).

  • December 03, 2019

    ExxonMobil Moves To Confirm $25M Arbitration Award Against Insurer

    NEW YORK — An insured on Nov. 21 filed a motion to confirm a $25 million arbitration award entered against an excess liability insurer and to award more than $6 million in prejudgment interest in an environmental contamination coverage dispute, arguing that confirmation of the award is warranted because the excess insurer forfeited any right to contest the award (ExxonMobil Oil Corp. v. TIG Insurance Co., No. 16-9527, S.D. N.Y.).

  • December 02, 2019

    Over Insurers’ Objection, Imerys Judge Sets Bar Date For ‘Indirect’ Talc Claims

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A request by Chapter 11 debtor Imerys Talc America Inc. to set a bar date for filing indirect talc claims gained approval from a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge Nov. 22 over the objections of insurers who said the debtor was not allowed to restrict claims by nondebtor parties (In re:  Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 19-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).

  • December 02, 2019

    Homeowners Insurer Properly Paid For Damages Caused By Windstorm, Judge Says

    LAS VEGAS — A homeowners insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in handling an insured’s claim for roof damage and water and mold damages because the insurer promptly investigated the claim and timely paid the insured for the repairs to the home, a Nevada federal judge said Nov. 25 (Patricia Lombardo v. Property & Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, No. 17-2242, D. Nev., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205352).

  • December 02, 2019

    Florida Panel Vacates, Remands Ruling That Insured Perpetrated Fraud On Lower Court

    MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 13 vacated and remanded a lower court's finding that an insured perpetrated a fraud on the court by providing materially false information in her affidavit in a water damage coverage dispute, noting that this is a “teaching point and a caution that a client's personal knowledge, however imperfect, is not to be gilded, excessively bolstered, or embellished by her counsel in the hope of improving a case” (Irma Perez v. Safepoint Insurance Company, No. 3D18-1588, Fla., App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 17010).

  • November 26, 2019

    Contractor: Builders Risk Insurer Improperly Handled Water, Mold-Related Claim

    SAN FRANCISCO — An additional insured contractor alleges in a Nov. 7 complaint filed in a California federal court that a builders risk insurer breached its policy, acted in bad faith and violated California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq., regarding its claim handling of water and mold-related damage in a construction project (Build Group, Inc. v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp., No. 19-07359, N.D. Calif.).

  • November 26, 2019

    Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Diesel Fuel Spill, Federal Judge Says

    BOSTON — No coverage is owed for the cleanup of a gasoline and diesel fuel spill from an insured tanker-truck because a policy’s pollution exclusion clearly applies as a bar to coverage, a Massachusetts federal judge said Nov. 25 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment (Performance Trans Inc., et al. v. General Star Indemnity Co., No. 19-40086, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204093).

  • November 22, 2019

    Insurer Breached Contract, Acted In Bad Faith In Claims Response, Contractor Says

    TAMPA, Fla. — A contractor sued a commercial general liability insurer on Nov. 21 in a Florida federal court, alleging that the insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith by failing to respond to claims for additional insured coverage for an underlying construction defects action (Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 19-02878, M.D. Fla.).

  • November 21, 2019

    No Coverage Owed For Water Damage Inside Church, Federal Judge Determines

    DETROIT — No coverage is owed for water damage sustained to the interior of a church during a storm because the water damage was caused by the insufficient placement of tarps on the  insured roof that was being repaired when the storm occurred, a Michigan federal judge said Nov. 19 in granting summary judgment in favor of a commercial property insurer (Christ Church of the Gospel Ministries d/b/a Evangel Churches v. Guideone Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19-11208, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200138).

  • November 21, 2019

    Fungus Exclusion Bars Coverage For $861,592 Award, Insurer Argues

    HOUSTON — Citing a fungus or spore exclusion and business risk exclusions, an insurer alleges in a Nov. 18 complaint filed in a Texas federal court that there is no coverage for a $861,592.73 judgment for water penetration and mold growth at a 326-unit apartment complex (Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Co. v. SLI Framing Company, Inc., et al., No. 19-4531, S.D. Texas).