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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Insurance Bad Faith Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Insurance Bad Faith Legal News



Headline Insurance Bad Faith Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Panel: Court Did Not Abuse Discretion In Bifurcating Claims In Bad Faith Suit
NEW ORLEANS - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in bifurcating claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because insureds' extracontractual and punitive damages claims required the same showing on the part of their insurer, but their breach of contract claim did not, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 13 in an unpublished per curiam opinion (Edward and Rebecca Briggs v. State Farm, No. 16-60098, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22101).



Florida Panel Reverses Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Dec. 9 held that a lower court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of a homeowners insurer on the insureds' bad faith lawsuit arising from a sinkhole coverage dispute, reversing and remanding (Sandra Barton And Gregory Barton v. Capitol Preferred Insurance Co. Inc., No. 5D15-1587, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 18168).



Insurer Owed Plaintiff No Obligation, Judge Rules In Bad Faith Suit
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer did not act in bad faith in failing to make a good faith settlement offer in an employment discrimination action because the plaintiff was not an insured and the insurer had no obligation to him, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 12 (Steven LeBoon v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 16-2088, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22019).



Insurer Acted In Good Faith In Seeking Release For Insured, Panel Rules
CINCINNATI - An insurer did not act in bad faith in declining to settle a wrongful death lawsuit for policy limits without a release of all claims against its insured because under Kentucky law, the insurer was required to protect its insured from an excess judgment while attempting to settle the claim with the third-party in good faith, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 15 (Joseph Shaheen, ancillary administrator of the Estate of Nadia Shaheen, deceased, v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-5863, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22422).



Insured's Failure To Respond To Requests Caused Delays, Judge Rules
LAS VEGAS - An insured's failure to respond to an insurer's timely requests for information caused a delay in payment of underinsured motorist benefits and not the actions of the insurer, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Dec. 12 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Loreli Nolan v. American Family Insurance Co., No. 15-2051, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171423).



Judge: Insurer Acted In Bad Faith In Delaying Payment Of Covered Benefit
DENVER - An insured was entitled to a covered benefit of $350,000 under the terms of an underinsured motorist (UIM) provision of an automobile insurance policy, and payment of those benefits to her were unreasonably delayed by her insurer, a federal judge in Colorado ruled Dec. 14 (Wendy L. Peden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 14-0982, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119978).



Genuine Dispute Exists As To Coverage In Insurance Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules
LAS VEGAS - An insurer has shown that a "genuine dispute as to coverage" exists, and an insured failed to show that the insurer undertook any unreasonable delay in paying on an uninsured motorist provision of an automobile insurance policy, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Dec. 8 in granting the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment (Kenya L. Kelly v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-2169, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170777).



Insured Failed To Provide Evidence To Support Bad Faith Claim, Panel Rules
TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because the insured failed to provide sufficient evidence showing that material facts were in dispute, a Kansas Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 16 in a per curiam opinion (Classico LLC v. United Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 114,833, Kan. App.; 2016 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1014).



Judge Allows 3rd Party To Amend Counterclaim In Interpleader Action
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Over the objections of an insurer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 20 granted a third party's motion to amend her counterclaim against another third party in an interpleader action, ruling that amendment will be allowed because the amendment will be used only to clarify claims already made and not to add new material (MONY Life Insurance Co. v. Carol Snyder, f/k/a Carol Eckert, and Pamela Eckert, No. 15-2109, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175414).



Magistrate Judge: No Bad Faith Claim Without Showing Of Breach Of Contract
MIAMI - An insured cannot bring claims against its insurer for bad faith until it has first shown that the insurer breached the terms of its insurance policy with the insured, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled Dec. 19 in granting the insurer's motion to abate the insurer's bad faith claims (Katchmore Luhrs LLC v. Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty, No. 15-23420, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175004).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Summary Judgment Ruling In Bad Faith Suit
PHILADELPHIA - A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because an insured failed to properly bring her claims, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 29 (Kerry Johnson, et al. v. GEICO Casualty Co., et al., No. 16-1132, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21298).



Judge: Missouri Does Not Recognize Bad Faith Refusal To Pay Claim
ST. LOUIS - Dismissal of a bad faith claim in an insurance dispute is proper because the state does not recognize a claim for bad faith refusal to pay benefits, but an insured has properly stated his claim for breach of contract against the insurer, a federal judge in Missouri ruled Nov. 29 in granting in part and denying in part the insurer's motion to dismiss (Roger L. Smith v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 16-0187, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163444).



Judge Rejects Insureds' Breach Of Contract Arguments In Bad Faith Suit
LOS ANGELES - Summary judgment is warranted against insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insureds have failed to show that their insurer breached its contract in failing to pay their claims for benefits or denied their requests for a defense or indemnification, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6 (Julie Sohn, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-8841, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555).



Lack Of Factual Allegations Dooms Bad Faith Claim, Federal Judge Rules
PHILADELPHIA - Dismissal an insured's bad faith claim against his insurer for failure to pay uninsured motorist benefits pursuant to an automobile insurance policy is proper because the insured failed to state any factual allegations to support his bad faith claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Dec. 5 (Vincent Talotta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-5557, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167248).



Insured's Auto Policy Not In Effect At Time Of Accident, Judge Rules
TUCSON, Ariz. - Because an insured's automobile insurance policy had lapsed for nonpayment at the time of an at-fault accident, no contract existed, and as a result, there could be no breach of that contract or any action performed in bad faith, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Dec. 5 (Kevin Perry, et al. v. Peak Property and Casualty Insurance, No. 16-555, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167491).



Judge: Insurer's Revision Of Estimate In Insurance Dispute Not In Bad Faith
SCRANTON, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 5 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claim for insurance bad faith in a homeowners insurance dispute, ruling that the insured failed to show that the insurer's actions during the investigation and subsequent issuance of an estimate and revised estimates rise to the level of bad faith under Pennsylvania law (Joan Yatsonsky v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., No. 15-1777, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167224).



Louisiana Majority Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Bad Faith Dispute
SHREVEPORT, La. - A majority of a Louisiana appeals panel on Nov. 23 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of insureds' bad faith claim against their homeowners insurers, finding no error in the trial court's conclusion that the insurer was more than reasonable in how it adjusted the insurance claim (Sheila Cooper wife of/and James Cooper v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 50,978-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 2142).



Insured's Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit Barred By Res Judicata, Judge Rules
CAMDEN, N.J. - An insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against a life insurance provider is barred by res judicata because the insured was a class member in a class action settlement against the insurer for the same claims he seeks to bring against the insurer in the instant action, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Nov. 28 (Ipatios Karatzas v. Mass Mutual Financial Group, et al., No. 16-1302, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163455).



Judge: Amount In Controversy Standard In Bad Faith Suit Not Met
LOS ANGELES - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 1, because an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy meets the statutory requirements for removal (Jules Kraut, et al. v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co., No. 16-6791, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166929).



Insured's Bad Faith Claim Lacks Factual Support, Judge Rules
OKLAHOMA CITY - An insured's insurance bad faith counterclaim was dismissed Dec. 5 after a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that the insured failed to plead its counterclaim with any facts to support it (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. W-W Trailer Manufacturers, d/b/a W.W. Trailer Manufacturing, No. 16-995, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167362).



'Earth Movement' Exclusion Bars Insured's Claim For Repairs, Judge Concludes
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An "earth movement" exclusion precludes insurance coverage for an insured's repairs to damages from water loss to one of its pools caused by "landsliding" and "sinking," a Tennessee federal judge ruled Nov. 22, dismissing the insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims against its insurer (Ski Chalet Village Owners Club Inc. v. Employers Mutual Casualty Co., No. 16-20, E.D. Tenn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161563).



Federal Judge: False Claims Suit Arose Out Of Insured's Professional Services
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 15 held that an underlying qui tam action brought against an insured under the False Claims Act arose out of the insured's professional services and, therefore, coverage is barred by the policy's professional services exclusion, dismissing breach of contract and bad faith claims against the insurer (HotChalk Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 16-3883, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163046).



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



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



Judge: Insurer Breached Insurance Policy, But Reading Of Policy Was Reasonable
SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Nov. 18 granted in part and denied in part competing motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insurer breached its contract with its insureds under a homeowners insurance policy, its reading of the policy was reasonable (Noah Baskett, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1317, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160449).



Judge Allows Insured To Add Wife As Indispensable Party In Bad Faith Suit
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 rejected an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit for failure to join an indispensable party, allowing an insured to amend his complaint to add his wife as a plaintiff (William Koepke v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co., No. 16-4633, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161112).



Judge: Amount In Controversy In Bad Faith Suit Doesn't Meet Removal Requirement
PHOENIX - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper because an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy in the action exceeds statutory requirements for removal, a federal judge in Arizona ruled Nov. 16 (Ray Romero, et al. v. Mendota Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-3149, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158651).



Damages Demand Shows Amount In Controversy Is Met In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An insured's damages demand in her statement of damages in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit constitutes sufficient evidence that the amount in controversy has been met, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 16 in denying the insured's motion to remand (Beth Wheeler v. United Financial Casualty Co., No. 16-1875, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158907).



Judge Denies Insured's Request To Amend Complaint As Untimely In Bad Faith Suit
TULSA, Okla. - An insured's request for leave to amend his complaint to add a claim for declaratory relief is untimely because the deadline to file such a claim had passed nearly eight months before filing the request, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Nov. 14 (Ruben Hernandez v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-0014, N.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157093).



Amount In Controversy In Bad Faith Suit Doesn't Exceed $75,000, Judge Rules
LOS ANGELES - On his own motion, a federal judge in California on Nov. 17 remanded an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeded the statutory requirement (Maria L. Monroy, et al. v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-5296, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159591).



Panel: Settlement Agreement Made In Bad Faith, Cannot Be Enforced Against Insurer
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 held that a lower federal court properly applied the appropriate framework to determine whether an underlying settlement agreement could be enforced against an insurer, further affirming the lower court's finding that bad faith in the negotiation of the settlement agreement rested on substantial evidence (Orline Sidman, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety, No. 15-15197, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20580).



Louisiana Panel Affirms Ruling Granting Exception Of Res Judicata In Bad Faith Suit
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on Nov. 16 affirmed a lower court's ruling that granted an exception of res judicata and sustained exceptions of no cause and no right of action in favor of insurance agencies in a claimant's bad faith lawsuit (Munson Fletcher d/b/a Fletcher's Auto Sales and Service v. Southern Insurance Agency, No. 2016-0238, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2016 La. App. LEXIS 2126).



Judge: State Law Bars Insurers From Indemnifying For Punitive Damages Awards
FRESNO, Calif. - An insurer is entitled to summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 18, because California law bars insurers from indemnifying their insureds for punitive damages awards (Paul Evert's RV Country Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0124, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160519).



Insurer's Evidence 'Overwhelms' Insured's Wind Argument, New York Justice Rules
MINEOLA, N.Y. - A New York justice on Nov. 4 dismissed an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute, finding that the evidence demonstrates that the damage to the insured's two Inwood, N.Y., buildings pre-existed the storm or was the result of flooding from it, which is excluded from coverage (Five Towns Mason Materials, Inc. v. Hermitage Ins. Co., No. 603021/2013, N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co.).