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Judge Allows Insured To Amend Petition To Properly Assert Insurer's Citizenship
BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana federal magistrate judge on Nov. 2 allowed an insured to amend her complaint to adequately allege a flood insurer's citizenship in her breach of contract lawsuit arising from flood damage (Sarah Faye Carrier v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 17-1543, M.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182386).



Judge: New York Insureds Failed To Submit Timely Proof Of Loss In Flood Dispute
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Oct. 23 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a flood coverage dispute, finding that the insureds failed to timely submit a signed and sworn proof of loss for all their alleged damages caused by a June 1, 2015, flood (John Scharr, et al. v. Selective Insurance Company of New York, et al., No. 16-06821, W.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175222).



Judge: Negligence Per Se Claim, Attorney Fees Request Are Preempted By NFIA, NFIP
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Oct. 16 granted insurers' motion to dismiss an insured's negligence per se claim and request for attorney fees in a coverage dispute over damage to hotel rooms caused by tidal waters, finding the claims preempted by the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (Surfsand Resort LLC v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-00866, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171548).



Motion To Alter Is Untimely, Federal Judge Rules In Dispute Over Flood Damage
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - For the second time in less than one month, an Alabama federal judge on Oct. 11 denied an insured's motion to alter or amend an earlier judgment that found that a federal flood insurer does not owe coverage for the insured's claim for land and relocation damages arising from a heavy rain that caused a local river to flood (Crawford Nixon v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-00186, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167866).



New York Justice: Insurers Not Entitled To 2nd Proof Of Loss In Superstorm Sandy Suit
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Oct.22 denied two insurers' request for an order compelling an insured to provide them with a signed and sworn proof of loss (POL) detailing Superstorm Sandy property damage because the insured has already provided them with a signed and sworn POL (The Howard Hughes Corporation v. Ace American Insurance Co., et al., No. 650308/15, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5261).



New York Justice: Fact Issues Remain In Superstorm Sandy Flood Coverage Dispute
NEW YORK - Ruling on an insured's motion for summary judgment, a New York justice on Oct. 10 held that fact issues remain in a Superstorm Sandy excess flood coverage dispute (Great American Insurance Company of New York v. L. Knife & Son Inc., et al., Index No. 157164/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3888).



Panel Reverses Ruling As To Excess Coverage In Dispute Arising From Forest Fire
WAUSAU, Wis. - A Wisconsin appeals panel on Oct. 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurance policy's $2 million aggregate limit applied in a coverage dispute over a forest fire that burned thousands of acres of land, but reversed and remanded for a factual determination on the issue of damages relevant to coverage under the logging company's umbrella insurance policy (Secura Insurance v. Lyme St. Croix Forest Company, LLC, et al., No. 2016AP299, Wis. App., Div. 3, 2017 Wisc. App. LEXIS 791).



Florida Panel Reverses Hurricane Wilma Coverage Suit For 2nd Time
MIAMI - After previously reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of a homeowner in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on Oct. 18 reversed the lower court's ruling on remand in favor of the insurer, finding that a genuine issue of material fact remains regarding whether a letter from the insurer constituted a denial of coverage (Haim Michel Ifergane, Appellant, vs. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D16-1142, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14745).



Florida Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Bad Faith Suit In Hurricane Wilma Dispute
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 18 found that a bad faith lawsuit should not have been dismissed because the record undisputedly establishes that an insurer received an insured's civil remedies notice (CRN) in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute nearly four years before the insured filed its bad faith suit and responded to the CRN without challenging its service (Evergreen Lakes HOA, Inc. v. Lloyd's Underwriters at London, No. 4D16-2657, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14833).



Florida High Court Accepts Appeal Of Court's Refusal To Conduct New Appraisal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Oct. 20 accepted an appeal of an appellate decision finding that an insured's post-appraisal submission of increased costs with a state insurance guaranty association in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute is not a legally sufficient basis to reopen the existing appraisal or conduct a new appraisal (Orlando Noa v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. SC17-738, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2124).



Federal Judge: No Evidence Insured's Race Prompted Insurer's Coverage Decisions
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on Oct. 27 dismissed with prejudice an insured's 42 U.S. Code Section 1981 claim against his insurer, finding that there was no evidence that the insured's race prompted the insurer's coverage decisions regarding damage caused by two storms (Kasib Tauheed Bilal v. IDS Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-675, E.D. Ark., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178317).



Bad Faith Claim Survives Dismissal In Homeowners Insurance Dispute
OKLAHOMA CITY - Insureds have pleaded minimally sufficient facts to support their insurance bad faith claim against their homeowners insurance provider for its alleged failure to properly investigation their claim and provide coverage under the policy, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Oct. 24 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss the bad faith claim (Daniel E. Lang, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Co. Inc., No. 17-0919, W.D. Okla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175858).



Insurance Adjuster Improperly Joined In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules
FORT WORTH, Texas - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is not necessary because insureds improperly joined an insurance adjuster in an attempt to defeat federal court jurisdiction, a federal judge in Texas ruled Oct. 27 in denying the insureds' motion (Cheryl Fernandez, et al. v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, et al., No. 17-729, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178273).



Judge Transfers Hurricane Matthew Coverage Dispute To New Federal Venue
MIAMI - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Oct. 18 granted insurers' alternative motion to transfer a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Matthew damage, finding that the Middle District of Florida is the proper venue because that is where the insureds' property is located (Flash Restoration LLC v. Rockhill Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-23416, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173319).



Bad Faith Suit Over Property Insurance Claim Remanded To State Court
OXFORD, Miss. - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because an insured has shown that the amount in controversy in the action will not exceed statutory limits, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled Oct. 17 in granting the insured's motion to remand (Strawberry Missionary Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Company Foundation Inc., No. 17-155, N.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171545).



8th Circuit Grants Insurer's Petition In Venue Dispute Over Hailstorm Coverage Suit
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 granted a homeowners insurer's petition for a writ of mandamus seeking a venue transfer of the insured's breach of contract lawsuit arising from hail damage, vacating the lower court's denial of the insurer's motion to transfer venue and remanding (In re: Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-3243, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19535).



Panel: Method Of Calculating Estimated 'Actual Cash Value' Does Not Breach Contract
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court Appeals on Sept. 25 found that a homeowners insurer's method of determining an insured's estimated "actual cash value" does not breach its replacement cost contract, further finding there is no basis to certify a class of insureds who incurred "unique, individual covered losses" and no basis to sustain a special master's "burdensome classwide discovery orders" in a hailstorm coverage dispute (In re: State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Nos. 16-3185 and 16-3562, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 18457).



Texas High Court Refuses To Revisit Take-Nothing Judgment In Hailstorm Coverage Suit
AUSTIN, Texas - According to its Sept. 22 pronounced orders, the Texas Supreme Court refused to disturb a lower court's finding that a church insured take nothing on its breach of contract, bad faith and conspiracy allegations against its insurer and a claims adjuster in a dispute over coverage for hailstorm damage to the roofs of two of its buildings (Richardson East Baptist Church v. Philadelphia Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-0347, Texas Sup.).



Bifurcation Is Not Warranted In Property Damage Coverage Dispute, Federal Judge Says
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A New Mexico federal judge on Sept. 26 denied a motion to bifurcate and stay discovery of the extracontractual claims at issue in a property damage coverage dispute because bifurcation would prolong the case and the insurer would not be prejudiced if the claims were tried together (Welcome Properties 201 LLC v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co., No. 16-1301, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157541).



Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Diminished Value Suit Arising From Hail/Wind Damage
MACON, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Sept. 15 denied a homeowners insurer's motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it committed breach of contract by refusing to assess and pay for the diminished value of the insureds' home caused by wind and/or hail damage (Tonya Long v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 17-28, M.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149594).



State Farm Defends Motion To Compel Discovery For Computer Fraud Claims
GULFPORT, Miss. - In an Oct. 2 rebuttal brief supporting its motion to compel discovery related to its computer fraud counterclaims in a decade-old false claims suit related to Hurricane Katrina claims, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. calls its discovery requests "straightforward," while arguing that the counterdefendants failed to show that the requests are burdensome or cover privileged material (United States, ex rel. Cori Rigsby, et al. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 1:06-cv-00433, S.D. Miss.).



Illinois Federal Judge Decides Admissible Evidence In Bad Faith Coverage Dispute
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Sept. 27 determined that an insured's claims for punitive damages and attorney fees should be withheld from a jury but that evidence related to how long the insurer took to process the insured's claim is relevant for the jury to hear as it pertains to the insured's claim for bad faith arising out of a dispute for lost business property and income caused by the contamination of the insured's property and business with lead dust (Jordan Mozer & Associates Ltd. v . General Casualty Company of Wisconsin, No. 14-10264, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159518).



Fee Arrangement Exclusion Bars Coverage, New York Justice Rules
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Sept. 18 granted insurers' motions for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for the insureds' purported participation in kickback schemes involving force-placed insurance, finding that the fee arrangement (FA) exclusion bars coverage and that the legal costs sought by the insureds are not covered losses (QBE Americas, Inc., et al. Ace American Insurance Company, et al., No. 653442/2013, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3543).



Judge: Wind Endorsement Does Not Alter Unambiguous Language That Bars Flood Coverage
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 26 agreed with a magistrate's report that found that an insurance policy unambiguously excluded coverage for the damage floodwaters caused to a facility as a result of Superstorm Sandy, adopting the magistrate's report and recommendation in its entirety (Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, d/b/a The Madelaine Chocolate Co. v. Great Northern Insurance Co., No. 15-5830, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157821).



New Jersey Judge: $100M Flood Sublimit Does Not Apply In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge held Aug. 24 that a $100 million flood sublimit does not apply to an insured's water damages that were caused by the named windstorm Superstorm Sandy, ruling against excess insurers (New Jersey Transit Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al., No. ESX-L-006977-14, N.J. Super., Essex Co., Law Div.).



Magistrate Administratively Terminates Superstorm Sandy Suit After Parties Settle
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge recently issued an order administratively terminating an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a federal flood insurer arising from Superstorm Sandy damage after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Brian R. McDowell, Plaintiff, v. USAA General Indemnity Co., No. 14-4529, D. N.J.).



Judge Dismisses Superstorm Sandy Suit After Parties Announce Tentative Settlement
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge recently signed an insured's and an insurer's stipulation to dismiss the insured's breach of contract lawsuit stemming from Superstorm Sandy damage after the parties announced that they reached a tentative settlement (Thomas Tennis v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5801, D. N.J.).



Insured Challenges 1-Year Statute Of Limitations In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - An insured has asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court's finding that a federal flood insurer's letter rejecting its insured's proof of loss for Superstorm Sandy damage constituted a written denial of the claim and, therefore, triggered a Standard Flood Insurance Policy's (SFIP) one-year statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit (Anthony Migliaro v. Fidelity National Indemnity Ins. Co., No. 17-1434, 3rd Cir.).



Texas Homeowners Sue River Authority For Flooding Days After Hurricane Harvey
HOUSTON - The San Jacinto River Authority mishandled the "controlled release" of water from Lake Conroe following Hurricane Harvey, resulting in the flooding of thousands of homes and businesses, a Harris County, Texas, couple allege in their class complaint filed Sept. 6 in the Harris County District Court (Thomas E. and Beth F. Ross v. San Jacinto River Authority, No. 2017-58385, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).



Panel: No Evidence To Support Finding That Tenant Is Third- Party Beneficiary To Lease
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota appeals panel on Sept. 5 reversed in part a lower court's ruling in favor of a tenant in a commercial landlord insurer's subrogation lawsuit arising from a flood that damaged the tenant's restaurant (North Star Mutual Insurance Co. v. Al Juan Huang, et al., No. A17-0216, Minn. App., 2017 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 796).



Insurer Owes No Coverage For Water Damage From Leaking Roof, Judge Says
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 6 held that a building owner insured has failed to satisfy its burden of establishing that an exception to a deluxe property policy's rain limitation applies, concluding that neither the property policy nor a commercial general liability insurance policy covers the insured's damages arising from a roof leak caused by 2.43 inches of rain (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Brookwood, LLC, No. 15-01016, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143894).



Kansas Federal Judge Allows Insured To Add Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims
WICHITA, Kan. - An insured seeking coverage for hailstorm damage to two commercial buildings is permitted to amend its complaint to add claims for breach of contract and bad faith because the addition of the claims would not be futile and the insurers will not be prejudiced as a result of the amendment, a Kansas federal judge said Sept. 8 (Flex Financial Holding Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC et al., No. 15-7205, D. Kan., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145349).



Florida Panel Affirms Judgment, Corrects Order In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- A Florida appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed a lower court's final judgment but remanded with instructions to enter a corrected order reflecting that when the insured provides his homeowners insurer with a signed contract to complete the necessary subsurface repairs, the insurer shall pay that amount instead of tendering the policy limits (Joseph Ringelman v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 5D16-260, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 12567).



Florida Panel Reverses Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held Aug. 23 that because an insurer denied coverage for the insureds' claim for sinkhole damage, a lower court erred in finding that the insureds' failure to comply with the policy's conditions precluded them from filing suit (Juan Castro, et al. v. Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 2D15-5456, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11979).



Florida Majority Reverses Ruling In Bad Faith Suit Over Sinkhole Damage
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals panel on Aug. 11 held that no Florida statute or case law precludes an insured from filing a civil remedy notice (CRN) while a demand for appraisal is outstanding, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a bad faith lawsuit arising from the insured's claim for sinkhole damage (Phillip Landers v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 5D15-4032, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11543).



Judge: Claimants Failed To Show Insurer Erred In Deeming Residence A 'Basement'
NEWARK, N.J. - Granting summary judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, a New Jersey federal judge held Aug. 30 that claimants have failed to establish that a condominium unit is at or above ground level on any side (Trinova Garden Street Condominium Association, Inc., et al. v. Wright National Flood Insurance Company, No. 15-4195, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142188).



Judge Denies Recusal Motions In Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene Coverage Dispute
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 30 denied insureds' motions to recuse a judge and a magistrate from their lawsuit seeking recovery for losses arising from Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, finding the recusal motions untimely (Robert Jacobsen, et al. v. Hartford Insurance Company Flood & Home, et al., Nos. 14-3094, 13-6910 and 13-7160, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139848).



Federal Judge Denies Motion To Disqualify Insured's Counsel In Superstorm Sandy Suit
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 refused to disqualify an insured's counsel in a lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damage, finding that the defendants failed to show that there was an implied attorney-client relationship between the attorney and one of the defendants (The Residences at Bay Point Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Chernoff Diamond & Co., LLC, et. al., No. 16-5190, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131332).



New York Insured Sues FEMA, Administrators, Insurer In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - An insured sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency, its administrators and Wright National Flood Insurance Co. on Aug. 17 in a New York federal court, alleging that he was wrongfully denied $141,274.50 in insurance proceeds for Superstorm Sandy damage to his Long Beach, N.Y., home (David Clutter v. William B. Long, et al., No. 17-4833, E.D. N.Y.).



Judge: Second-Level Excess Insurer Has No Duty To Defend Against Landslide Suits
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Aug. 21 found that a second-level excess insurer has no duty to defend its county insured against underlying lawsuits arising from a March 2014 landslide, three days after finding that the first-level excess insurer has a duty to defend, concluding that the second-level excess insurer's duty is not triggered until the insured's self-insured retention and first-layer excess coverage have been exhausted (Snohomish County v. Allied World National Assurance Co., et al., No. 16-63, W.D. Wash.).



Panel Affirms Ruling In Excess Insurer's Favor In Dispute Over Hotel Damage
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 16 found that an excess insurance policy is unambiguous and not illusory, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit over damage to the insured's New Orleans hotel (The Warwick Corporation, et al. v. Matthew Turetsky, et al., No. 4D16-2567, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 11792).



Federal Judge Dismisses Coverage Dispute Over Damage To Texas Motel
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 15 granted an insured's motion to dismiss its commercial insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for alleged storm damage to the insured's motel, finding that the majority of the factors in Brillhart v. Excess Ins. Co. of Am., 316 U.S. 491, 495, 62 S. Ct. 1173, 86 L. Ed. 1620 (1942), weigh in favor of dismissal (GuideOne National Insurance Company v. Bhav Harri, LLC, No. 16-00740, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129473).



Arizona Federal Judge Denies Motion To Remand Insured's Bad Faith Suit
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 4 denied an insured's motion to remand after determining that the insurer has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional minimum of $75,000 (Ziva Hoarau v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, No. 17-1594, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123059).