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Headline Catastrophic Loss Legal News from LexisNexis®
Texas High Court Remands Coverage Dispute Over Hurricane Ike Wind Damage
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on April 7 held that a lower court erred when it disregarded a jury's answer to a question in a Hurricane Ike wind coverage dispute and the appellate court erred when it affirmed the trial court's judgment, reversing the appellate court's judgment and remanding the case for a new trial (USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Gail Menchaca, No. 14-0721, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 361).
Judge: Decision-Making Authority Does Not 'Arise Out Of' Tangible Property Damage
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on March 23 found that an insurance policy's property damage exclusion does not bar directors and officers and entity liability coverage for at least two underlying claims against a homeowners association insured stemming from Hurricane Ike damage (The Landing Council of Co-Owners v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-1902, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42087).
Panel Rejects Argument That Insurer, Agent Misrepresented Property Was Insurable
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 7 affirmed a lower federal court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer and an insurance agent in an insured's lawsuit over Hurricane Ike flood damage, rejecting the insured's argument that she reasonably relied on the defendants' misrepresentations that her property in the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) was insurable (Danuta Lobeck v. Tina M. Licatino, et al., No. 16-40967, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4040).
Federal Law Does Not Apply To State Law Procurement Claims, Insureds Tell 5th Circuit
NEW ORLEANS - Insureds have asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse 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 and Kerry Spong v. Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-41165, 5th Cir.).
Judge Interprets Leases For World Trade Center Buildings In Sept. 11 Dispute
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on April 6 interpreted four identical net leases for Buildings One, Two, Three and Four of the World Trade Center that were destroyed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to provide parameters for experts to express their opinions regarding the values of the leaseholds immediately following their destruction (In Re September 11 Litigation, Nos. 21 MC 101, 08 Civ. 3719, 08 Civ. 3722, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53129).
Insurers Sue Saudi Arabia Under Justice Against Sponsors Of Terrorism Act
NEW YORK - Insurers on March 23 filed a new complaint against Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and/or the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina (SHC) in a federal district court, contending that facts and related evidence presented by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have taken on additional significance as a result of the U.S. Congress' enactment of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) this past September (Underwriters Inc., et al. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, et al., No. 17-02129, S.D. N.Y.).
New Mexico Federal Judge Says Bad Faith, Breach Of Contract Claims Can Stand
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico federal judge on March 29 denied a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by insurers in a hail damage and theft coverage dispute after determining that the insured alleged sufficient facts in support of claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Sedillo Electric, et al. v. Colorado Casualty Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 15-1172, 16-43, D. N.M., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46442).
Federal Judge Rules On Dueling Summary Judgment Motions In Hailstorm Dispute
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on March 16 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment by insureds and a homeowners insurer in a class action alleging that the insurer committed breach of contract when it unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37755).
Judge: Jury Must Decide If Enforceable Settlement Exists In Sandy Dispute
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 denied an insurer's motions for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from wind damage caused by Superstorm Sandy (Coleman Enterprises Co. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 14-07533, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50078).
Federal Judge Rules In Insurers' Favor In Suit Over Hurricane Irene, Sandy Damage
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 granted insurers' motion for summary judgment in its insureds' lawsuit seeking recovery for losses arising from Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy (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 52591).
Federal Judge Rules In Flood Insurer's Favor In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 31 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, rejecting the insured's argument that bulletins from Federal Emergency Management Agency waived the proof-of-loss requirement and extended the time under which she could file her coverage lawsuit (Theresa Caivano v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 15-5791, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50490).
Judge Rules On Insurer's Duty To Hurricane Sandy Claims Based On Expert Testimony
TRENTON, N.J. - After finding expert testimony on the scope and value of damages incurred by two supermarkets during Hurricane Sandy to be admissible, a New Jersey federal judge on March 28 granted in part and denied in part summary judgment to an insurer (MD Retail Corp. d/b/a Monmouth Beach Supermarket and MS Retail Corp. d/b/a Sea Bright Supermarket v. AmGuard Insurance Group, No. 14-6589, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44996).
Judge: Fact Issue Exists As To Whether Insured Submitted Acceptable Proof Of Loss
NEWARK, N.J. - Finding that there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether an insured complied with a provision of a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) regarding proof of loss, a New Jersey federal judge on March 20 denied a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit stemming from Superstorm Sandy (Thomas Tennis v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5801, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39244).
Florida Panel Affirms Court's Refusal To Conduct New Appraisal In Wilma Suit
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 22 held that an insured's post-appraisal submission of increased costs 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. 3D16-1367, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3787).
Federal Judge Finds 'Adjuster' Was Not Improperly Joined, Remands Coverage Dispute
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on March 24 held that plaintiffs in a coverage dispute over storm damage have sufficiently asserted that one of the defendants was an "adjuster" engaged in the "business of insurance" and, as a result, a "person" pursuant to Texas Insurance Code, further finding the plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim for relief against the adjuster under the Texas Insurance Code (Ronald E. Cohen, et al. v. Seneca Insurance Co., Inc., et al., No. 15-1837, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43762).
Homeowners Insurer Paid Full Amount Of Claims, Magistrate Judge Concludes
PHILADELPHIA - A homeowners insurer paid the entire amount it owed to insureds for damage to their home because the insureds failed to offer expert reports to rebut the insurer's evidence that the unpaid portions were not covered, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 22, granting summary judgment to the insurer on a breach of contract claim (Scot Fazio and Dawn Fazio v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-1987, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41604).
No Coverage Owed For Insured's Land, Relocation Damages, Federal Judge Rules
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on March 21 held that a federal flood insurer does not owe coverage for an 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 40239).
State Law Claims Against Flood Insurer Are Preempted By Federal Law, Judge Rules
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on March 16 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in a lawsuit brought by its insureds, finding that the insureds' negligent misrepresentation and other state law claims are all preempted by federal law (Peggy Enriques Miranda, et al. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 16-12555, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37796).
Judge: Insured Improperly Used Motion For Reconsideration In Flood Coverage Dispute
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on March 14 denied an insured's motion to reconsider a ruling in favor of an insurer in her lawsuit seeking coverage for structural damage to her home under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) (Marie Clifford v. Preferred Mutual Insurance Co., No. 12-1331, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35860).
New York Panel: Insurer Failed To Provide Timely Notice Of Its Denial Of Coverage
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York appeals panel on March 15 held that a commercial general liability insurer is estopped from disclaiming coverage under a policy exclusion because it failed to provide an additional insured timely notice of its denial of coverage on the basis of the exclusion, partly reversing a lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a coverage dispute arising from a building collapse (Harco Construction, LLC, et al. v First Mercury Insurance Co., et al., [Index No. 16011/13] No. 2015-00839, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1766).
Insurer's Investigation Did Not Amount To Bad Faith, Federal Judge Says
OKLAHOMA CITY - An insurer conducted a reasonable investigation in adjusting an insured's property claim following a tornado, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled March 8, granting summary judgment to the insurer on a bad faith claim (Shanta Inc. d/b/a Green Carpet Inn v. Nautilus Insurance Co., No. 15-872, W.D. Okla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32702).
Federal Judge: SFIP's 1-Year Statute Of Limitations Bars Insured's Lawsuit
GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on March 3 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's lawsuit seeking to have the insurer fully comply with the appraisal provisions under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) (Reef Enterprises, a Mississippi Corporation doing business as Jordan River Steamer v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., formerly known as Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 16-22, S.D. Miss., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30317).
Louisiana Panel Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hurricane Isaac Dispute
GRETNA, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel on Feb. 8 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Isaac damage to a three-story building owned by the insured (Advanced Sleep Center, Inc., et al. v. Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's, London, No. 16-CA-525, La. App., 5th Cir.).
Federal Judge: Public Adjuster's Declaration Does Not Create Disputed Issue Of Fact
CAMDEN, N.J. - Granting a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, a New Jersey federal judge on March 1 rejected the insured's argument that there is a genuine dispute of material fact regarding his reliance on a public adjuster's declaration as to damages (Dane Knutson v. Selective Insurance Company, et al., No. 16-306, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29322).
New York Panel: Insurer's Expert Report Never Rose Above Level Of Speculation
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on Feb. 21 found that an insurer failed to demonstrate prima facie that all of its restaurant insured's claimed losses were caused by flood waters resulting from Superstorm Sandy (Pastabar Cafe Corporation v 343 East 8th Street Associates, LLC, et al. No. 2899, 652078/13, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1285).
Judge Rules In Insurer's Favor In Suit Arising From Superstorm Sandy Flood Damage
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 14 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by insureds seeking a declaration that they are entitled to coverage and compensatory damages stemming from the insurer's purported mishandling of their Superstorm Sandy flood claim (Herbert Ruth and Danna Ruth v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-2616, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20534).
Negligent Work Exclusion Bars Coverage For Water Damage, Pennsylvania Court Says
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 28 held that although the lower court erred in finding that "surface water" caused the insured's damage, it did not err in finding that the policy's "negligent work exclusion" precluded coverage for the water damage (The Ridgewood Group, LLC v. Millers Capital Insurance Co., No. 1138 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 764).
Judge: Broker Is Liable For Breach Of Implied Contract; Damages Are In Dispute
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 24 held that there is no genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether an insurance broker breached its implied contract to secure a total of $975,000 worth of federal flood insurance coverage for an insured, further finding that the amount of potential damages that the breach caused is in dispute (Hudson Henley v. Love Insurance Group, LLC, No. 15-3078, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26244).
Panel Finds Insured's Flood Loss Barred, Affirms Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict
DES MOINES, Iowa - Finding that a church's cause of loss was a flood and, consequently, that the loss was excluded under its insurance policy, an Iowa appeals panel on Feb. 8 affirmed a trial judge's granting of an insurer's motion for judgment notwithstanding a $717,000 verdict in favor of the church (Salem United Methodist Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-0170, Iowa App., 2017 Iowa App. LEXIS 122).
Judge: Developer Has No Insurable Interest, Is Not Entitled To Building Coverage
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 8 found that the developer of a condominium that is also a member of the insured condominium association does not have an insurable interest and is not entitled to building coverage under a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP), granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for flood damage caused when the Raritan River overflowed (Branchburg Commerce Park, LLC v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, et al., No. 15-6719, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17518).
Newly Filed Complaint Warrants Remand To State Court, Federal Judge Rules
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Feb. 8 granted a motion to remand insureds' breach of contract lawsuit against their insurer, finding that their complaint makes no claims as to the insurer's denial of their flood loss claim but instead asserts that the insurer's procurement of the "worthless" insurance policy was "improper, misleading and deceptive" (Don Henderson, et al. v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No.16-839, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17926).
Insureds Failed To Comply With Post-Loss Obligations, Florida Panel Says, Reverses
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 15 reversed a lower court's ruling compelling appraisal against an insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, finding that the insureds failed to comply with their post-loss duties under their insurance policy (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Jose R. Fernandez and Sandra Fernandez, No. 3D16-1441, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2004).
Florida Panel: Evidence Of Insured's Health Should Have Never Been Introduced
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 8 held that there is a reasonable possibility that the introduction of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence as to an insured's health condition contributed to a jury verdict against an insurer in a dispute over coverage for roof damage caused by Hurricane Wilma, reversing for a new trial (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Dina Figueroa, No. 4D15-2698, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 1548).
Texas High Court Refuses To Rehear Ruling On Discovery Order In Hailstorm Dispute
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court refused to revisit its ruling in a hailstorm coverage dispute that directed a lower court to vacate the part of its discovery order compelling production of management reports and emails and to re-evaluate the issue of sanctions against the insurer, according to its Feb. 17 orders pronounced (In Re National Lloyds Insurance Co., No. 15-0452, Texas Sup.).
Insured's Breach Of Contract Is Barred By 2-Year Statute Of Limitations, Judge Says
DENVER - A two-year statute of limitations precludes an insured's breach of contract claim against its insurer for denied coverage for property damage to commercial properties, a Colorado federal judge ruled Feb. 13 (The Pinewood Townhome Association Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 15-01604, D. Colo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19999).
Federal Judge: Fact Issues As To Economic Damages Defeat Summary Judgment
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Feb. 16 held that there are genuine issues of material fact as to what $125,000 in economic damages awarded against an insured encompasses, denying an insurer's motion for summary judgment in part in a dispute over commercial general liability coverage (Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co. v. Shane Colclasure, individually and d/b/a Sunrise Buildings, et al., No. 16-424, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22193
Texas Panel Finds Take- Nothing Judgment In Hurricane Ike Coverage Suit Was Proper
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals panel held Feb. 9 that a take-nothing judgment against insureds is proper because a commercial insurer overpaid the actual cash value of Hurricane Ike property damage by more than $1.5 million based on the jury's findings as to actual cash value (Triyar Companies, LLC, et al. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 14-14-00160, Texas. App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1126).
Panel: Insureds Provide No Competent Evidence To Raise Fact Issue As To Occurrence
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 9 held that insureds have 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, affirming a lower court's ruling in favor of the insurer and its adjuster (Richard Seim, et al. v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, et al., No. 02-16-00050, Texas App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1154).
Joinder Of Adjuster Was Improper, Federal Judge Rules In Denying Motion To Remand
DALLAS - Finding that an insured improperly joined an insurance adjuster in a dispute over coverage for storm damage, a Texas federal judge on Feb. 14 denied the insured's motion to remand and dismissed the claims against the adjuster without prejudice (Hutchins Warehouse Limited Partners v. American Automobile Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3336, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20417).
7th Circuit Reverses Ruling In Part In Airport Collapse Coverage Suit
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 partly reversed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the collapse of an airport terminal during construction (Indianapolis Airport Authority v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, No. 16-2675, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2856).
Judge Rejects Insurer's Request To Exclude Testimony On Sinkholes
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 22 denied an insurer's motion to exclude expert testimony on sinkhole damage, finding that the expert's methodology is reliable and that the testimony will assist a trier of fact (Goetz D. Vehse v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. 8:16-cv-599, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24483).
Judge Finds No Facts To Support Kentucky Law Claims Against Insurer
LOUISVILLE, Ky.- A Kentucky federal judge on March 1 held that claims for bad faith and fraud related to coverage under an insurance policy for tornado damage should be dismissed, finding that the insured failed to assert facts to support a claim for violation of the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (KUCSPA) (Frasure v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 16-540, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28753).
Texas High Court Dismisses Wind Coverage Dispute Following Settlement
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court lifted a Dec. 8 abatement order in a wind coverage dispute, reinstated the insurer's petition for review and granted the insurer's unopposed motion to dismiss the suit after the parties reached a settlement, according to its Feb. 10 orders pronounced (State Farm Lloyds v. Ginger Hanson, No. 16-0799, Texas Sup.).
Judge Rules That Letter Is Written Denial That Triggered SFIP's Statutory Period
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Feb. 2 found that a federal flood insurer's letter that rejected 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 Insurance Co., No. 15-5688, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15497).
Judge: Assignee Of Mortgage Is Not Entitled To SFIP Coverage For Sandy Damage
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge held on Feb. 1 that an assignee of a mortgage cannot collect on the insured mortgagee's standard flood insurance policies (SFIP) for a Superstorm Sandy loss that predates the assignment, granting two federal flood insurers' motions for summary judgment (Goldstein Group Holdings, Inc. v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, et al., No. 15-03851, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14560).
Federal Judge: Fact Issues Exist As To Proof Of Loss In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
CAMDEN, N.J. - Finding that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether an insured submitted and an insurer received a proof of loss for the insured's Superstorm Sandy damage, a New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 31 denied the insurer's motion for summary judgment in the resulting coverage dispute (Gregg S. Balin v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., No. 14-5001, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12952).
Judge: Insureds' Claim Is 'Directly Contradicted' By Federal Law And Regulations
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 25 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in its insureds' lawsuit seeking coverage for additional Superstorm Sandy damages, finding that the insureds' failure to submit a supplemental proof of loss defeats their claim (Thomas Rossetti and Yana Rossetti v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5737, D. N.J.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10670).
New York Justice Allows Breach Of Contract Claim To Stand In Superstorm Sandy Suit
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - A New York justice on Jan. 23 dismissed five out of six claims against an insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute but allowed the breach of contract claim to proceed (Elite Catering Company, Inc. v. National Specialty Insurance Co., No. 101041/2013, N.Y. Sup., Richmond Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 239).
Majority Affirms Ruling In Coverage Dispute Over $2.6M Tornado Damage
NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an insurer failed to provide sufficient notice that it was canceling a commercial property insurance policy, further affirming that the insurer had an arguable basis for its decision to deny coverage for the alleged $2.6 million tornado damage to a church building (GuideOne Elite Insurance Co., et al. v. Mount Carmel Ministries, et al., No. 15-60915, 5th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1147).
Panel Certifies 2 Questions To N.Y. High Court In Dispute Arising From 9/11 Attacks
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 19 certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals in a dispute over whether a public benefit corporation has the capacity to challenge as unconstitutional a New York statute that revived claims against public corporations for personal injuries incurred during the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (In re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation, Nos. 15-2181, 15-2283, 15-2285, 15-2487, 15-2506 and 15-2687, 2nd Cir.).
California High Court: Statutory Authority Supports Replacement Cost Regulation
SAN FRANCISCO - The Supreme Court of California on Jan. 23 held that statutory authority supports the California Insurance commissioner's 2011 regulation covering replacement cost estimates for homeowners insurance, reversing and remanding an appeals court's judgment that invalidated the regulation (Association of California Insurance Companies et al., v. Dave Jones, as commissioner, etc., No. S226529, Calif. Sup.; 2017 Cal. LEXIS 217).
Judge: Insurer's Delay In Appraisal Process Supports Insureds' Bad Faith Claim
PHILADELPHIA - Although insureds have failed to plead their claim for breach of contract against their insurer, they have shown that the insurer's delay in taking part in a mandatory appraisal process was in bad faith, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 30 in granting in part and denying in part the insurer's motion to dismiss (Charles Dagit, et al .v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-3843, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12124).
7th Circuit: Insured Fails To Show Causal Relationship Between Windstorm, Damage
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a church insured has failed to adduce evidence of a causal relationship between a March 1, 2011, windstorm and its purported property damage (Olivet Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-1689, 7th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 647).
Federal Judge Dismisses All But Breach Of Contract Claim In Flood Coverage Dispute
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 2 granted a federal flood insurer's motion to dismiss all extracontractual state law claims brought by an insured in a coverage dispute arising from a heavy rainfall (Jianhua Ling v. Farmers Insurance Group d/b/a Fire Insurance Exchange, No. 16-2961, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14882).
Judge: Insured Pleaded More Than 'Mere Conclusions' In Pleading Bad Faith
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - An insured has sufficiently pleaded more than just "mere conclusions" in making his insurance bad faith claim against his homeowners insurance carrier and, thus, his claim is sufficient pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a federal judge in South Dakota ruled Feb. 3 in denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Steven Haney v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-4113, D. S.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15154).
Judge: Claims Adjuster, Employee Were Properly Joined In Bad Faith Suit
SAN ANTONIO - An insured has shown that a claims adjuster and its employee violated provisions of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and, thus, that those defendants were properly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in Texas ruled Jan. 31 in granting an insured's motion to remand the action to state court (Kris Hospitality LLC, d/b/a Days Inn, v. Tri-State Insurance Co. of Minnesota, et al., No. 16-1229, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13532).
Judge: Insured's Breach Of Contract Is Barred By 2- Year Statute Of Limitations
DENVER - An insurance policy's two-year statute of limitations precludes an insured's breach of contract claim regarding denied additional coverage for hailstorm claims, a Colorado federal judge ruled Jan. 13 (The Pinewood Townhome Association Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 15-01604, D. Colo.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5456).
Plaintiff Not Owed Coverage As Additional Insured, 9th Circuit Affirms
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for property and business interruption losses (Bita Trading Inc. v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-55371, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 521).
Parties Ask 4th Circuit To Determine Whether Bad Faith Suit Was Time-Barred
RICHMOND, Va. - Parties in an insurance dispute recently asked the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to determine whether an insurance breach of contract and bad faith suit was time-barred when filed and whether it met the presuit "claims presentment requirements of the insureds' Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) (Gary Woodson, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-2018, 4th Cir.).