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Panel Partly Reverses Ruling In Coverage Suit Over Food Co.'s Snowstorm Claim
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 11 reversed and vacated a lower court's award of prejudgment interest to a family-owned poultry and pet food company insured because the jury had to exercise discretion in determining the insured's losses from snowstorm damage but affirmed the lower court's denial of both the insurers' motion to dismiss and the insured's request for statutory damages and attorney fees (Simmons Foods, Inc. v. Industrial Risk Insurers, et al., Nos. 15-3755 and 15-3845, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12350).



5th Circuit Affirms Judgment In Favor Of Insurer, Government In Hurricane Ike Suit
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 5 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer and the United States of America in a lawsuit arising from the insurer's cancellation of a federal flood insurance policy following Hurricane Ike (Robert Spong, et al. v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Company, et al., No. 16- 41165, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12008).



Majority: Evidentiary Support Exists For Extracontractual, Punitive Damages Claims
JACKSON, Miss. - A majority of the Mississippi Court of Appeals on June 27 found that it was reversible error for a circuit court to grant a homeowners insurer's motion for partial summary judgment and dismiss its insureds' claims for punitive and extracontractual damages before trial (The Estate of Sylvia F. Minor and Paul S. Minor v. United Services Automobile Association, No. 2014-00372, Miss. App., 2017 Miss. App. LEXIS 386).



Panel: Court Did Not Err In Granting State's Exception Of No Right Of Action
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on June 14 affirmed a lower court's ruling that granted the State of Louisiana's exception of no right of action maintaining that it was not liable for a contractor's alleged negligence in elevating the insureds' home following Hurricane Katrina, rejecting the homeowners insurer's argument that the state's administration of the elevation program sufficiently negated the exception of no right of action (Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., v. LAA Shoring, et al., No. 2016-CA-1136 consolidated with No. 2016-CA-1137, La. App., 4th Cir.).



Magistrate: Flood Exclusion Bars Coverage For Chocolate Maker's Sandy Damage
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge held June 30 that a chocolate manufacturer insured's claimed damage was indisputably caused by "storm surge" or "storm tide" associated with Superstorm Sandy and, therefore, that coverage is barred by its insurance policy's flood exclusion, recommending that the insurer's motion for summary judgment be granted (Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, Inc. d/b/a The Madelaine Chocolate Co. v. Great Northern Insurance Co., No. 15-5830, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103015).



Federal Judge Finds Insured Failed To Comply With SFIP Requirements
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 30 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment and denied an insured's cross-motion in a coverage dispute arising from Superstorm Sandy damage (Brian R. McDowell, Plaintiff, v. USAA General Indemnity Co., No. 14-4529, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101978).



9th Circuit: Dispute Over Phrase 'Direct Supplier' Is Question Of Fact For Jury
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 found that whether a manufacturer of hard-disk drives provided to a set-top box company was a direct supplier of a satellite television provider is a question of fact to be resolved by a jury, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a business interruption coverage dispute arising from the Thailand flood (DirecTV v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-55313, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10787).



Judge Dismisses All But Breach Of Contract Claim In Suit Arising From Flood Damage
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on June 8 granted an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings seeking dismissal of an insured's extracontractual claims in a flood coverage dispute, further exercising its discretion to dismiss the insured's declaratory judgment claim (Mike Farhat v. Texas Farmers Insurance Co., No. 16-1175, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87766).



Panel: Insured's Liability Expert Provided No Authority To Support His Opinion
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appeals panel on June 7 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer and an insurance agency in an insured's negligence and professional malpractice lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irene damage, finding that the insured's liability expert was properly excluded because he offered no authority to support his opinion (Satec Inc., et al. v. The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., et al., No. A-5103-14T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. LEXIS 68).



Panel Vacates Dismissal Of Insurance Claims, Affirms Dismissal Of Indemnity Claims
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 found that a lower court erred in dismissing insurance claims in a dispute over coverage for a maritime collision in the Gulf of Mexico, vacating the lower court in part and remanding for the court to review the insurance policies and determine their scope (International Marine, L.L.C., et al. v. Integrity Fisheries, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-30456, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11041).



California Panel Affirms No Coverage For Dentist's Claim For Lost Practice Income
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals panel on June 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a dispute over coverage for an individual dentist's claim for lost dental practice income due to a sewage backup (William A. Gilbert v. The Dentists Insurance Company, Inc., No. C075959, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4041).



Texas High Court Deems Hailstorm MDL Attorney Fee Info Protected As Work Product
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas Supreme Court majority on June 9 granted an insurer's petition for mandamus in a discovery dispute, finding that a trial court and an appeals court abused their discretion by granting a group of insured's request for billing records from other cases in the same multidistrict litigation because such records are protected from discovery as work product (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., Wardlaw Claims Service Inc. and Ideal Adjusting Inc., No. 15-0591, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 522).



Poor Methods Doom Opinions On Storm Wind Speed, Magistrate Judge Rules
WACO, Texas - A Texas federal judge on June 28 excluded testimony from two experts based on opinions of a third, undisclosed expert in a property damage insurance coverage dispute after finding that the opinions of the third expert regarding wind speed during a storm are unreliable due to flawed methodology (Spring Street Apts. Waco, LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 6:16-cv-00315, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99890).



Texas Federal Judge Grants Insured's Motion To Remand, Dismisses Adjuster From Suit
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on June 20 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation that an insured's motion to remand be denied because complete diversity of citizenship exists as the insured's complaint does not specifically allege any claims against the insurer's adjuster, who also is a resident of Texas (Max Wang v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, et al., No. 17-158, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94255).



Insurance Adjuster Not Properly Joined In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules
DALLAS - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is not proper because an insurance adjuster was improperly joined in the litigation, a federal judge in Texas ruled June 1 (Jesus Gutierrez v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-0636, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84253).



Federal Judge Won't Dismiss Insurer From Bad Faith Suit Over Storm Damage Claim
TULSA, Okla. - A federal judge in Oklahoma on June 13 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, rejecting the insurer's claim that, at this time, it is not a party to the insurance contract at issue (Ranchers Pipe & Steel Corp. v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-0192, N.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90278).



Louisiana Panel Lowers Statutory Penalties Award, Vacates Attorney Fees Award
GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on May 31 decreased a lower court's award of bad faith penalties against an insurer from $32,162.46 to $8,040.61 in a Hurricane Isaac coverage dispute and vacated the lower court's $12,864.98 attorney fees award in favor of the insured (Mary Williams v. Security Plan Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-CA-714, La. App., 5th Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 1004).



Expert Testimony Gets In Due To Missed Deadline, Mississippi Federal Judge Rules
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on May 15 rejected competing requests to exclude evidence and testimony in an insurance coverage dispute over storm property damage claims, allowing two experts to testify for the property owner and saying laypersons can testify about the period of restoration for the property and the owner's loss of income (Corinthian Court Holdings, LLC v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., Nos. 2:15-cv-111, 2:16-cv-18, S.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73395).



'Proportionality Is The Polestar,' Says Texas High Court In Discovery Dispute
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on May 26 found that neither an insurer nor its insureds have a unilateral right to specify the format of discovery under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 196.4, Texas R. Civ. P. 196.4, denying the insurer's request for mandamus relief without prejudice in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) (In re State Farm Lloyds, Nos. 15-0903 and 15-0905, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 482).



Insured May Be Able To Recover Against Adjuster In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on May 10 ruled that remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is warranted because an insured has shown that it may recover against the adjuster for failing to offer a fair settlement on a commercial property insurance claim (Arlington Heights Memorial Post No. 8234 Veterans Of Foreign Wars of the United States, Fort Worth, Texas, v. Covington Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3112, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71125).



Policy Limits Flood Coverage To $1M, Majority Says In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
TRENTON, N.J. - A majority of the Supreme Court of New Jersey on May 25 reversed an appeals court's ruling that held that an insured is owed $207,961.28 for debris removal in addition to $1 million in flood coverage under a surplus lines insurance policy, reinstating a lower court's partial summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (Oxford Realty Group Cedar v. Travelers Excess and Surplus Lines Co., No. A-85-15, 077617, N.J. Sup., 2017 N.J. LEXIS 570).



Federal Judge Terminates Breach Of Contract Suit Arising From Superstorm Sandy
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on May 31 issued a 90-day order administratively terminating an insured's breach of contract lawsuit stemming from Superstorm Sandy damage after the insured and the insurer announced that they reached a tentative settlement (Thomas Tennis v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5801, D. N.J.).



Insureds Challenge Choice Of New York Law In Superstorm Sandy Coverage Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - Insureds have asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court's ruling that granted an insurer's motion to compel arbitration in their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damage, arguing that New Jersey law applies (Fin Associates, et al. v. Hudson Specialty Ins. Co., 16-3541, 3rd Cir.).



Judge Dismisses Suit Against Insurers, Mortgagee Arising From 2 Lightning Strikes
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on May 24 granted insurers and mortgagee's motions to dismiss a coverage dispute arising from two lightning strikes and a power surge (Robin Guthrie Brown and Michelle Guthrie Brown v. American Modern Home Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-16289, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80057).



Judge Rejects 2 Equitable Apportionment Methods In Dispute Over 'Moonlight Fire'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 22 found that neither the "policy limits" approach nor the "relative fault" analysis is an appropriate equitable apportionment method in a coverage dispute arising from damage caused by the September 2007 "Moonlight Fire" in California (American States Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-01489, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79103).



Justice Stays Hurricane Coverage Suit Pending Insurer's Rehabilitation
NEW YORK - A New York trial justice on May 17 stayed an insured's coverage action against its insurer over damages from Hurricane Irene pursuant to a rehabilitation order against the insurer (25 Bay Terrace Associates, L.P., v. Public Service Mutual Insurance Co., No. 150345/2013, N.Y. Sup., Richmond Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1822).



Adjuster Was Improperly Joined To Coverage Dispute Over Storm Damage, Judge Says
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on May 16 denied insureds' motion to remand their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that they failed to allege a claim that is plausible on its face against an insurance adjuster (Hidden Cove Park and Marina, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-00193, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74097).



Panel Orders FIGA To Pay Actual Repair Costs Up To Combined Statutory Cap
LAKELAND, Fla. - On remand, a trial judge should enter a corrected judgment to show that an insured must contract for repairs within damages awarded by a jury and that the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) is required to pay actual repair costs to the contractors up to the combined statutory cap, a Florida appeals panel ruled May 12 (Maria Pupo v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 2D15-3901, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 6775).



Claims In Hurricane Irene Dispute Are Time-Barred, 4th Circuit Says In Reversal
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 3 held that a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a federal flood insurer arising from Hurricane Irene damage is barred by the one-year statute of limitations pursuant to its Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), reversing a lower court's ruling that awarded the insureds $233,398 for breach of contract, $700,194 for bad faith and $63,962.50 in attorney fees (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., Nos. 16-1935 and 16-2018, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7862).



Texas Panel Refuses To Revisit Ruling In Favor Of Insurer, Adjuster
FORTH WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on May 4 denied insureds' motion to reconsider a Feb. 9 ruling that found they failed to produce competent evidence to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether their property damage loss occurred during their homeowners insurance policy period (Richard Seim, et al. v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, et al., No. 02-16-00050, Texas App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 4068).



Insurer Did Not Impermissibly Depreciate Labor Costs, 10th Circuit Affirms
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a homeowners insurer did not violate its policy when it depreciated labor costs in determining the actual cash value of an insured's loss following hail and water damage (Margaret Graves v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-3187, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6980).



Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Storm Damage Dispute, 10th Circuit Affirms
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 19 rejected insureds' argument that an insurer acted in bad faith by unreasonably delaying an appraisal and by failing to conduct an adequate claim investigation, affirming a lower federal court's ruling in favor of the insurer (Hayes Family Trust, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty, No. 15-6231, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6713).



Judge Certifies Class In Dispute Over Application Of Deductible In Hailstorm Loss
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on May 1 granted insureds' motion for class certification in a dispute over whether a homeowners insurer should have applied a deductible to the actual cash value (ACV) payment it issued the insureds for their hail damage loss (David Bond, et al. v. Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 15-04236, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65701).



State Farm Tells Texas Supreme Court ESI Protocol Is Burdensome
AUSTIN, Texas - In an April 21 brief to the Texas Supreme Court, filed in response to a post-oral argument brief by the real parties in interest in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) in an insurance coverage lawsuit, an insurer argues that a trial court's requirement that ESI submission be in the form requested by the plaintiffs did not properly balance relevance, needs and burdens under Texas law (In re State Farm Lloyds, No. 15-0903, Texas Sup.).



Texas Federal Judge Says Insurer Had Reasonable Basis For Denying Claim
WACO, Texas - Because a property insurer had a reasonable basis to deny an insured's claim for roof damages incurred as the result of a hailstorm, a Texas federal judge on April 6 granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment as it pertained to the insured's claims for bad faith and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Stephen Hahn v. United Fire and Casualty Co., No. 15-218, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53178).



N.J. Panel: Broker Had No Duty To Provide Quotes For Higher Policy Limits
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey panel on May 1 rejected a tool manufacturer insured's argument that its insurance broker breached a duty to provide additional flood quotes for its Harrison, N.J., commercial facilities, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the broker in a dispute arising from Superstorm Sandy flood damage (C.S. Osborne & Co., Inc. v. The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. A-2182-15T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1051).



New York Justice Dismisses Appraisal Dispute Stemming From Superstorm Sandy Damage
NEW YORK - A New York justice on April 7 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss a dispute over a $170,129.96 appraisal award for Superstorm Sandy damage, rejecting the insured's argument that the appraisal award was an instrument for the payment of money only and further finding that the insured failed to file its lawsuit before the policy's two-year limitations period expired (MZM Real Estate Corp. v. Tower Insurance Company Of New York, No.: 452741/2015, N.Y. Sup., N.Y. Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1292).



Bad Faith, Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claims Severed In Coverage Suit
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on April 25 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss but stayed the insured's claims for bad faith and breach of fiduciary duty until the insured's declaratory judgment and breach of contract claims are resolved after determining that staying those claims will better help to manage the case (Port Liberte Homeowners Association Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 16-7934, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63394).



New York Justice Rules In Insurer's Favor In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
JAMAICA, N.Y. - Finding that insureds failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the predominant cause of their Superstorm Sandy loss was wind or wind-driven rain, a New York justice on March 1 ruled in favor of their homeowners insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit (Martin J. And Ingrid Ain v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 706068/13, N.Y. Sup., Queens Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1420).



Issues Of Fact Exist In Water, Mold Damage Suit, 10th Circuit Majority Says
DENVER - The majority of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 agreed with an insured that a Utah federal magistrate judge erred in granting judgment in an insurer's favor because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether water and mold damage occurred over an extensive period of time and whether the damage was caused by a sudden and accidental escape of water (Thomas Wheeler v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4159, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7954).



8th Circuit Rejects Marina Owner's Appeal Arising From Damages To Floating Docks
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that damages to a series of floating docks were caused by a flood and there were no genuine issues of material fact that should have been left for a jury to decide (Hudson Enterprises, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London Insurance Companies, No. 16-2846, 8th Cir.).



Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of Insurer In Flood Coverage Dispute
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 18 entered judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer one day after finding that the insured's failure to file a timely sworn proof of loss bars any recovery for his alleged flood damage (Jorge Abreu Sosa v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 16-1283, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58066).



In Remanded False Claims Act Suit, Discovery Limited To Identified Properties
GULFPORT, Miss. - In a case concerning an insurer's False Claims Act (FCA) violations on Hurricane Katrina claims, a Mississippi federal judge on April 12 granted the parties' motions to reopen the case, which was remanded after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, limiting initial discovery on those purported violations to properties previously identified in a list provided by the insurer (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).



Oklahoma Federal Judge Says Insureds' Bad Faith Claim Is Not Supported By Facts
TULSA, Okla. - An Oklahoma federal judge on April 7 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss claims of bad faith and intentional infliction of emotional distress alleged by insureds seeking coverage for damages to their home sustained by high winds after determining that the insureds failed to provide any facts in support of either claim (Lance W. Hightower, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-274, N.D ..Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53645).