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1st Circuit Allows Negligence Claims Against U.S. In Oil Spill Coverage Dispute
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Sept. 15 reversed a district court's dismissal of admiralty and maritime negligence claims filed against the United States in an oil spill dispute after determining that the negligence claims are viable under the Suits in Admiralty Act (Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-1589, 1st Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 17928).



Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Manure Contamination, Judge Says
YAKIMA, Wash. - No coverage is owed to insureds seeking coverage for an underlying environmental contamination suit arising out of liquid manure that seeped from the insureds' holding pond and contaminated the local water because the policies' pollution exclusions clearly bar coverage for the contamination, a Washington federal judge said Sept. 11 (The Dolsen Cos., et al. v. Bedivere Insurance Co, et al., No. 16-3141, E.D. Wash.).



Repopulation Of Bird Flock Lost In Avian Flu Outbreak Is Covered Under Policy
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Sept. 12 determined that an insured is entitled to reimbursement for the costs of repopulating its bird flock after an outbreak of the avian flu virus required the flock to be destroyed because the destruction of the birds qualifies as a remediation expense as it is damaged property (Rembrandt Enterprises Inc. v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 15-2913, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147030).



Massachusetts Justice Says Issues Of Fact Exist In Contamination Coverage Suit
BOSTON - A Massachusetts Superior Court justice on Sept. 7 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an environmental contamination coverage suit after determining that issues of fact exist about the insured's knowledge of the contamination and whether some of the contamination occurred prior to the inception of the policy at issue (Casella Waste Systems Inc., et al. v. Steadfast Insurance Co., No. 2016-2521, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).



Insurer Says To New York High Court: Reinsurer Must Pay Its Share Of Defense Costs
NEW YORK - Reinsurance certificates should be treated as concurrent with underlying insurance policies, an insurer argues in an Aug. 4 reply brief in the New York Court of Appeals, so that a reinsurer must pay its share of defense costs for asbestos litigation (Global Reinsurance Corporation of America v. Century Indemnity Co., No. CTQ-2016, 0005, N.Y. App.).



Reinsurer Opposes Motion To Bar Employee's Testimony In Asbestos Coverage Dispute
UTICA, N.Y. - In a dispute over an underlying $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, a reinsurer responds in a Sept. 13 opposition brief to an insurer's motion to exclude testimony from the reinsurer's former employee, arguing to a New York federal court that the former employee has extensive knowledge regarding reinsurance practices, policies and procedures (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-cv-00853, N.D. N.Y.).



Insurer Is Responsible For 25 Percent Of Lead-Paint Judgment, Federal Judge Says
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Sept. 14 said an insurer is responsible for paying for 25 percent of a judgment entered against its insured in an underlying lead-paint injury case after determining that the allocation must be calculated based on the time period during which the tenant lived in the insured's property (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co., v. Jacob Dackman & Sons LLC, et al., No. 16-2640, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148907).



Issue Of Fact Exists As To Whether Water, Mold Damage Occurred Within Policy Periods
TRENTON, N.J. - The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court on Sept. 11 vacated a portion of a trial court's ruling after determining that the evidence creates a question of fact as to whether water and mold damage caused by the faulty installation of doors and windows occurred during the applicable policy periods (Selective Insurance Company of America v. TRH Builders Inc., et al., No. A-1015-15T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2265).



Horizontal Exhaustion May Not Apply To All Policies In Environmental Coverage Suit
LOS ANGELES - The Second District California Court of Appeal on Aug. 31 determined that an insured cannot electively stack its excess insurance policies in an environmental coverage dispute and said that each of the more than 115 policies at issue must be individually analyzed to determine whether a horizontal exhaustion method should be applied (Montrose Chemical Corporation of California v. Superior Court of the State of California, et al., No. B272387, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 759).



Insured Must Produce Identity Of Documents Sought By Insurer In Environmental Dispute
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Sept. 1 determined that an insured must provide its insurer with the identity of a number of compiled documents sought by the insurer and must produce the final summaries used by the insured's corporate representative during a deposition in an environmental contamination coverage dispute (Eli Lilly and Co., et al. v. Arch Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1770, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141732).



Judge: Issues Remain On Pollution Exclusion, Primary Insurance Exhaustion
CHICAGO - An insured showed that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether all primary policies have been exhausted for an excess insurance policy to be triggered and as to whether a pollution exclusion applies, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 7, denying summary judgment to a reinsurer who indemnified the excess policy (Velsicol Chemical LLC v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-2534, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144698).



California High Court Declines To Review Ruling On Policy Exhaustion In Silica Dispute
LOS ANGELES - The California Supreme Court on Aug. 9 denied petitions for review filed by insurers and an insured seeking review of an appellate court's' ruling regarding the exhaustion of a primary policy in a silica coverage dispute (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Moldex Metric Inc., et al., No. S242845, Calif. Sup., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 6325).



Connecticut Federal Magistrate Judge: Insurer Cannot Redact Claims-Related Data
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal magistrate judge on Aug. 31 ordered an insurer to produce a number of requested documents in an asbestos coverage dispute and said that the insurer is permitted to redact only policyholders' information and is not permitted to redact any claims-related data (ITT Corp. and Goulds Pump Inc. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., No. 12-38, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140588).



Federal Judge Schedules Jury Trial In Reinsurance Suit Over Asbestos Claims
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Aug. 30 scheduled a reinsurance dispute between Utica Mutual Insurance Co. and R&Q Reinsurance Co. involving coverage for underlying asbestos injury claims for a March 12 jury trial (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. R&Q Reinsurance Co., No. 15-cv-270, N.D. N.Y.).



Panel Says Trial Court Erred In Striking Expert Testimony In Water, Mold Damage Suit
BATON ROUGE, La. - A trial court erred in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for water and mold damage because the expert testimony proffered by the insureds was improperly excluded by the trial court, the First Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal said Sept. 8 (Melvin and Anjeanette Adolph v. Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp., No. 2016 CA 1275, La. App., 1st Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 1597).



No Coverage For Cracking, Crumbling Foundation, Connecticut Federal Judge Says
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No coverage is owed for an insured's foundation damage caused by a chemical reaction because the damage was not sudden and accidental as required by the policy's exception to the collapse exclusion, a Connecticut federal judge said Aug. 29 in dismissing the insured's claims of breach of contract and bad faith (Daniel Adams v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1360, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139998).



No Sudden Or Accidental Damage, Federal Judge Says In Dismissing Bad Faith Claim
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No coverage is afforded for damage to the foundation walls of an insured home because the damage was not sudden and accidental as required by the terms of the policy at issue, a Connecticut federal judge said Aug. 29 in dismissing the insureds' claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Linda Clough, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-140, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140009).



10th Circuit Affirms Owned-Property Exclusion Clearly Precludes Coverage
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 affirmed a district court's dismissal of an insured's complaint in an environmental contamination dispute after determining that the owned-property exclusion clearly precludes coverage for the cleanup of the environmental contamination (Taos Ski Valley Inc. v. Nova Casualty Co., No. 16-2118, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16254).



Asbestos Claims Potentially Fall Within Policy Periods; Duty To Defend Exists
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An insurer has a duty to defend its insured for several underlying asbestos exposure suits because the underlying complaints allege injuries that potentially fall within the applicable policy periods, a Rhode Island justice said Aug. 10 (Textron Inc. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., et al., Nos. PB-2012-1371, PC-2016-0587, R.I. Super., 2017 R.I. Super. LEXIS 130).



Insured Seeks Coverage For $12.9M Asbestos Liability Verdict, Says Coverage Owed
LOS ANGELES - An insured claims in an Aug. 18 complaint filed in California state court that its insurers are required to indemnify it for an underlying $12.9 million jury verdict entered against it in an asbestos bodily injury and wrongful death suit (The Hillshire Brands Co., et al. v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. BC672967, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).



Insurer Cannot Litigate Coverage Dispute In State Court, Bankruptcy Judge Says
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 24 denied an insurer's request to sue a company's asbestos trust in state court over the amount of coverage owed for asbestos personal injury claims, issuing a strong rebuke to the insurer's attorneys, who claimed that the trustee knew the claims he submitted to the insurer did not trigger the polices at issue (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 2411).



9th Circuit Reverses Ruling In Water Damage Suit, Says Questions Of Fact Exist
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 reversed and remanded a district court's ruling that no coverage is afforded for water damage to a California couple's home after determining that the lower court abused its discretion in excluding relevant evidence that, if properly considered, raises genuine issues of material fact on the breach of contract and bad faith claims alleged against the insurer (Neda Raschkovsky, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-55093, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16006).



Pennsylvania Federal Judge: Insured Failed To Prove Carrier Acted In Bad Faith
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 25 granted an insurer's motion for partial summary judgment on a bad faith claim after determining that the insured, seeking coverage for water damages, failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that State Farm acted unreasonably in its denial of his insurance claim (Darryl Brodzinski v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-6125, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136644).



Bad Faith Claim Dismissed, Breach Of Contract Claim Stands In Coverage Dispute
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 28 held that despite the court's rejection of a homeowners insurer's coverage position regarding concrete wall cracks in the insureds' basement, the evidence on record is insufficient for a reasonable jury to find that the insurer denied the insureds' claim in bad faith (Michael Roberts v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-0435, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137412).



Judge Finds Failing Concrete Walls Not Covered In Home's Insurance Policy
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - An insurer did not breach its contract when it refused to pay to correct structural concrete issues caused by a chemical reaction because under the policy a home's walls must actually fall, a federal judge in Connecticut held Aug. 28 (Barry Agosti, et al. v. Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co., et al., No 16-1686, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137411).



Connecticut Federal Judge Finds No Coverage Owed For Foundation Damages
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Aug. 29 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims in a suit seeking coverage for a cracked foundation after determining that the cause of the foundation loss was not sudden and accidental as required for coverage to exist under the policy (Sandra Miller v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-2059, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140023).



5th Circuit Remands Asbestos Coverage Suit For Finding On Sudden, Accidental Exception
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 18 vacated and remanded a district court's ruling in an asbestos coverage dispute after determining that the lower court must consider whether the "sudden and accidental" exception to the policies' pollution exclusion applies to afford coverage for the underlying asbestos claims (Longhorn Gasket and Supply Co., et al. v. U.S. Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-41625, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15706).



Question Of Fact Exists As To Whether Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Oil Leak
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 17 partially denied two insurers' motions for summary judgment on the applicability of their policies' pollution exclusions after determining that a question of fact exists as to whether the leakage of heating oil from an underground storage tank constitutes "traditional environmental pollution" that is precluded under the exclusion (Nimrod Benjamin, et al., v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-4123, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131078).



Insurers' Contribution Suit Barred Under Oregon Law, Appeals Panel Affirms
SALEM, Ore. - A group of insurers is not permitted to seek contribution from insurers that settled claims with the insured for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the contribution action is barred pursuant to amendments issued in 2013 to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act, the Oregon Court of Appeals said Aug. 16 in affirming a trial court's dismissal of the suit (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, et al. v. Massachusetts Bonding and Insurance Co., et al., No. A156649, Ore. App., 2017 Ore. App. LEXIS 983).



Jury To Decide When, If Amtrak's Operations Caused Environmental Damage
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Aug. 17 determined that a jury must determine when, if ever, Amtrak's operations first caused environmental damage to third-party property because both the cause of the environmental contamination and its effect on third-party property are disputed issues of fact (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, et al. v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., et al., No. 14-4717, E.D. N.Y.).



Washington Supreme Court Denies Rehearing In Carbon Monoxide Coverage Suit
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Supreme Court on Aug. 17 refused to reconsider its ruling that an insurer has a duty to defend underlying claims arising out of carbon monoxide poisoning because the efficient proximate cause of the loss was the negligent installation of a hot water heater, which is a covered occurrence under the policy (Zhaoyun Xia, et al. v. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al., No. 92436-8, Wash. Sup., 2017 Wash. LEXIS 839).



Rapid-American Protests Insurers' Subpoenas To Claims-Processing Facilities
NEW YORK - Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and the asbestos claimants in its case asked a New York federal bankruptcy judge on Aug. 15 to stop the debtor's insurers from enforcing subpoenas they issued to six asbestos claims-processing facilities, saying the subpoenas are "facially overbroad and seek material that is wholly irrelevant" to the issues in an insurance coverage adversary action (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).



Insureds Seek Reversal Of Court's Dismissal Of Declaratory Judgment Claim
LAKELAND, Fla. - A trial court erred in dismissing a declaratory judgment claim in a water damage coverage dispute because the insureds should not be precluded from bringing the claim for declaratory judgment, the insureds argue in their Aug. 6 reply brief filed in the Second District Florida Court of Appeal (Samuel Rivera, et al. v. Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance Co. Inc., No. 2D16-4567, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).