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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Insurance Pleadings Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Insurance Pleadings Legal News

Headline Insurance Pleadings Legal News from LexisNexis®


Trustees For Shuttered Law Firm, Insurers Dispute Professional Services Exclusion
ATLANTA - Trustees for the bankruptcy estate of the law firm of Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein and two insurers of a bank that was fined for its role in the scheme debated recently in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals whether a federal court correctly dismissed the trustees' breach of contract action against the insurers based on a professional services exclusion in the policies at issue (Michael I. Goldberg, at al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 15-14716, 11th Cir.).

Engineer Asks 6th Circuit To Grant It Coverage For Wrongful Death Lawsuit
CINCINNATI - An engineer seeking coverage for an underlying wrongful death lawsuit has asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that a lower federal court erred in interpreting a commercial general liability insurance policy's additional insured endorsement and by broadly applying the "professional service" exclusion to bar coverage (Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc. v. Phoenix Insurance Co., et al, Nos. 16-1231 and 16-1176, 6th Cir.).

Plan Defendants Maintain They Are Not Required To Adopt SSA's Onset Date
RICHMOND, Va. - A disability plan and its administrator are not required to adopt the disability onset date determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the plan defendants argue in a Dec. 19 reply brief filed in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, maintaining that a district court erred in finding that the plan defendants are bound by the SSA's disability onset date (Jesse Solomon v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-1730, 4th Cir.).

Property Owner, Insurer Debate Coverage For Mobile Home Damage In 9th Circuit
SEATTLE - The owner of a mobile home and an insurer recently submitted their arguments to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing whether coverage for damage to a mobile home was available under a comprehensive insurance policy and whether the district court properly interpreted the term "sudden" (Benito Cervantes v. Foremost Insurance Company, 16-35315, 9th Cir.).

4th Circuit Asked To Determine Whether Damages Arose From Single Occurrence
RICHMOND, Va. - Parties in an insurance dispute recently asked the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to determine whether third-party damage claims under an insurance policy arose out of a single occurrence or several occurrences based on Pennsylvania law's required application of a "cause test," which focuses on the alleged acts of the insured that led to the liability (Kathryn T. Hollis, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1533, 4th Cir.).

Warehouse Owner Argues For Right To Sue Lessee's Property Insurance Holders
NEW ORLEANS - Under Florida law, the law that should be applied to the present case, a third party may sue a lessee's insurer in a case involving negligence for insufficient insurance or failure to procure requested coverage even if the third-party is not a named party in the policy, a warehouse owner argues in an Oct. 14 appellant brief filed in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Emerald Coast Finest Produce Company, Inc. v. Alterra American Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-60471, 5th Cir.).

Citizen: False Claims Act Allegations Are Sufficient To Overcome Dismissal
NEW YORK - A man who brought a False Claims Act (FCA)(31 U.S. Code Section 3729, et seq.) suit against an insurance company told the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in his appellant's reply brief on Nov. 16 that his allegations are sufficient to state a claim and that his suit should not have been dismissed by a lower court (Alex Grabcheski v. American International Group, Inc., No. 16-1516, 2nd Cir.).

Insurer, Shopping Center Dispute Rescission Claim Over Past Violence At Stores
ATLANTA - An insurer and a Georgia shopping center both sought summary judgment in federal court Jan. 3 on the insurer's claims for rescission of a commercial general liability based on alleged representations about a history of crime at the shopping center and for a declaratory judgment that the insurer has no duty to defend a state court suit filed by a man who was shot at the shopping center (Seneca Insurance Company, Inc. v. Safeway Group, Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-174, N.D. Ga.).

Insurer Says No Coverage For Roofing Subcontractor's $6.6M In Faulty Work Damage
CHICAGO - A commercial general liability insurance policy does not cover a roofing subcontractor over faulty work claims that resulted in more than $6.6 million in damages to townhomes, an insurer says in its Jan. 4 complaint to an Illinois federal court (Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Classic Roofing Inc. and Custom Roofing Contracting Ltd., No. 17-45, N.D. Ill.).

Insured Argues Agreement Did Not Bar Future Claims For Cleanup Costs
CINCINNATI - An insured maintains in a Nov. 22 reply brief to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a district court incorrectly found that a 1994 settlement agreement bars coverage for any future claims arising out of coverage for environmental cleanup costs incurred by the insured at a Superfund site in Texas (Arrowood Indemnity Company v. Lubrizol Corporation, No. 16-3463, 6th Cir.).

Plaintiffs Argue Res Judicata Does Not Bar Claims In Federal Suit
INDIANAPOLIS - Plaintiffs involved in an environmental class action suit in Indiana federal court argue in a Nov. 7 response to an insurer's motion for summary judgment that their claims are not barred by res judicata because a judgment entered in favor of the insurer in a separate federal suit applies only to claims alleged against the insured in a state lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs and not the plaintiffs' federal class action suit (Carmine Greene, et al. v. Kenneth Will, et al., No. 09-510, N.D. Ind.).

Insurer Removes Suit Seeking Coverage For Settlement Of Contamination Class Action
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An insurer on Dec. 5 removed an insured's suit seeking coverage for an underlying class action settlement arising out of a chemical spill into a West Virginia river to West Virginia federal court on the bases that complete diversity of citizenship exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds the federal requirement (West Virginia-American Water Co. v. Starr Indemnity and Liability Co., No. 16-11688, S.D. W.Va.).

Pension Rights Center Urges High Court To Review Issue Of Forum-Selection Clauses
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an amicus curiae brief filed on Dec. 2 in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Pension Rights Center urges the high court to review a decision by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that enforced a disability plan's forum-selection clause, arguing that the allowance of forum-selection clauses in disability plans does not provide plan participants with ready access to federal courts and forces participants to sue in a court chosen by a plan (Lorna Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, et al., No. 16-641, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4420; 2016 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4114).

Insurer Tells 10th Circuit Truck Driver Was Loaned For Insurance Purposes
DENVER - An automobile insurance company has told the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a federal district court judge erred in finding that one company "loaned" its employee to another for purposes of establishing which of two insurers owed the other contribution for the settlement of a serious injury lawsuit (Star Insurance Company v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-6098, 10th Cir.).

Policyholders: Compound Interest May Not Be Charged Without Signed Document
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer may not charge compound interest on loans secured by life insurance policies without a signed agreement pursuant to an initiative measure passed by California voters in 1918, called the "1918 Initiative," two policyholders argue in a Sept. 15 appellant reply brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Brenda G. Martin, et al. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 16-15690, 9th Cir.).

Insurer Tells 1st Circuit Court Erred In Ruling On Validity Of Annuity
BOSTON - An insurance company contends that the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a lower court's decision and find that a ruling on the validity of two annuity policies could be issued only when all parties to the policies in question are present. Moreover, even if the merits of the case could have been addressed at the lower court, there were no valid legal reasons to annul the policies, the insurer says (Damaris Maldonado Vinas, et al. v. National Western Life Insurance Company, No. 16-1737, 1st Cir.).

Insurance Company Seeks Declaratory Judgment Against Tobacco Shop
SPOKANE, Wash. - An insurance company on Dec. 1 filed suit in Washington federal court, claiming that it does not have a responsibility to defend a tobacco shop in a lawsuit because the insurance policy does not cover bodily harm (Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company v. Lilac City Vapor LLC, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00422, E.D. Wash.).

Insurers Amend Federal Complaint To Add Claim Under Defend Trade Secrets Act
TRENTON, N.J. - Insurers on Nov. 28 filed a second amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to add a federal claim under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) in their lawsuit alleging the defendants participated in a scheme to "willfully and maliciously" target and solicit at least 15 of its employees for employment (Chubb INA Holdings Inc. [f/k/a The Chubb Corporation], et al. v. Michael Chang, et al., No. 16-2354, D. N.J.).

Homeowners, Insurer Argue To 9th Circuit Whether Water Damage Was Sudden
SAN FRANCISCO - In briefs filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a California couple and their homeowners insurance provider dispute whether a trial court properly determined that water damage to the couple's home was caused gradually, rather than by a "sudden and accidental" occurrence, exempting their claim from coverage (Neda Raschkovsky, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-55093, 9th Cir.).

Parties Ask 10th Circuit To Determine Whether Policy Exclusion Applies
DENVER - Parties in an insurance dispute over an owned or occupied exclusion contained in a commercial general liability insurance policy asked the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently to determine whether a federal district court erred in dismissing an insured's complaint for failure to state a claim for relief (Taos Ski Valley Inc. v. Nova Casualty Co., No. 16-2118, 10th Cir.).

Commercial Liability Insurers Battle Over Defense Costs For Additional Insured
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held oral arguments Dec. 5 in a dispute over whether a subcontractor's insurer can be liable for the defense of a contractor named as an additional insured in the policy (Colony National Insurance Co. v. United Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-40676, 5th Cir.).

Insurance Policy's Direct Supplier Provision Before 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is set to weigh in on whether a manufacturer of hard-disk drives provided to a set-top box company was a direct supplier of satellite television provider DirecTV. The parties completed briefing on Sept. 21 (DirecTV v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-55313, 9th Cir.).

Insured Tells 7th Circuit It Provided Proper Notice Of Bad Faith Claim
CHICAGO - An insured has asked the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court's finding that it was not entitled to indemnity under a professional liability insurance policy because it failed to provide its insurer with proper written notice of a $17 million demand in an underlying bad faith dispute (Lexington Insurance Co. v. Horace Mann Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2352, 7th Cir.).

Excess, Primary Insurers Dispute Refinery Explosion Settlements In 11th Circuit
ATLANTA - With the filing of an Oct. 13 appellant reply, primary briefing concluded in an excess insurer's appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals of a trial court's finding that the primary and umbrella insurers in underlying suits from a refinery explosion properly achieved settlements that exceeded their policy limits (American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., et al., No. 16-12015, 11th Cir.).

Insurer Says Arbitration Umpire Was Biased In Favor Of Reinsurer
NEW YORK - A Brazilian reinsurer argued in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 21 that the umpire in an international arbitration was biased in favor of a retrocessional-reinsurer and that a number of awards should therefore be vacated (National Indemnity Company v. IRB Brasil Resseguros S.A., No. 16-1267, 2nd Cir.).

Insured Condo Association Says Additional Coverage Owed For Water Damages
SEATTLE - A condominium association filed suit in Washington federal court on Nov. 29 against its property insurer, seeking a declaration that the insurer owes additional coverage to the association for water damages discovered by the association (Cristalla Condominium Association v. Affiliated FM Insurance Co., No. 16-1838, W.D. Wash.).

Fitbit Sues Insurer For Bad Faith, Challenges Reliance On 'Prior Offense' Exclusion
SAN FRANCISCO - Fitbit Inc. on Nov. 23 sued its insurer for breach of contract and bad faith in federal court in California, seeking a declaration that the insurer has a duty to defend it against an underlying trademark dispute with a competitor (Fitbit Inc. v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 16-06791, N.D. Calif.).