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Tennessee Panel Reverses $200M Judgment Against Insurers In Flood Dispute
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee appeals panel on Jan. 26 reversed a lower court's finding that insureds' policy limits were $200 million in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from a May 2010 Nashville flood, finding that the $50 million sublimit applies because the insured property is partially located within one of the zones listed under the policy's High Hazard Flood Zones (Opry Mills Mall Limited Partnership, et al. v. Arch Insurance Company, et al., No. M2016-01763, Tenn. App., 2018 Tenn. App. LEXIS 40).



Federal Judge Remands Flood Suit, Refuses To Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Feb. 1 granted a motion to remand a lawsuit arising over flood damage to state court, declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the insureds' remaining state law claims against their insurance broker (Peggy Enriques Miranda, et al. v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, et al., No. 16-12555, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16439).



Claims In Bad Faith Suit Found To Be Preempted By Federal Law
SAN FRANCISCO - Insureds' claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit over coverage under a homeowners insurance policy and a standard flood insurance policy (SFIP) are preempted by federal law, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 10 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (Alicia Martin, et al. v. CSAA Insurance Exchange, No. 17-4066, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4675).



Summary Judgment Ruling In Flood Insurance Suit Affirmed By 3rd Circuit
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 insurer's lawsuit against his flood insurance provider was time-barred since he filed the suit outside the one-year statute of limitations for standard flood insurance policies (SFIP), a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 31 in affirming (Anthony Migliaro v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 17-1434, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2097).



North Carolina Panel Affirms Ruling In Insurers' Favor In Superstorm Sandy Suit
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina appeals panel on Jan. 16 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of insurers in their declaratory judgment lawsuit challenging coverage for underlying property damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, finding that the insured's interpretation of the examination under oath (EUO) policy provision is unreasonable (North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, Inc., et al. v. Ronnie D. Lilley, Sr., No. COA16-998, N.C. App., 2018 N.C. App. LEXIS 60).



Federal Flood Insurer Seeks Dismissal Of New York Insured's Superstorm Sandy Suit
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Wright National Flood Insurance Co. on Jan. 10 moved for a New York federal court to dismiss an insured's lawsuit alleging that he was wrongfully denied $141,274.50 in insurance proceeds for Superstorm Sandy damage to his Long Beach, N.Y., home, contending that the lawsuit is time-barred (David Clutter v. William B. Long, et al., No. 17-4833, E.D. N.Y.).



Panel: Insurer Failed To Prove Causation, Notice In Dispute Over Roof Collapse
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that an insurer failed to prove that a developer breached its lease with a sporting goods retailer, concluding that the developer is not liable for the insurer' damages arising from a roof collapse during a rainstorm (Developers Diversified of Tennessee, Inc. v. Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co., 16-6615, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1552).



Panel: Insurer Breached Duty To Defend, Is Equitably Responsible For Defense Costs
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin appeals panel on Jan. 17 affirmed that an insurer is equitably responsible for a government agency insured's $1.55 million underlying defense costs because it breached its duty to defend the insured against a lawsuit alleging that the insured was negligent in the inspection, maintenance, repair and operation of its sewer system before and during a June 2008 rain event in the greater Milwaukee area (Steadfast Insurance Company v. Greenwich Insurance Company, No. 2016AP1631, Wis. App., Dist. 1, 2018 Wisc. App. LEXIS 51).



3rd Circuit Panel Affirms Summary Judgment Ruling In Bad Faith Lawsuit
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 the insurer paid full coverage limits for mold remediation under the terms of a homeowners insurance policy and, thus, could not have acted in bad faith, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 10 in affirming (Mary Ann Andrews, et al. v. Merchants Mutual Insurance Co., No. 17-1413, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 637).



Insureds' Claims For Contract Breach, Bad Faith Can Stand, Federal Judge Determines
TULSA, Okla. - An Oklahoma federal judge on Feb. 2 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on breach of contract and bad faith claims in a dispute over coverage for earthquake and mold damages after determining that the insureds offered sufficient evidence to support their claims (Larry W. Thomas, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Co., No. 16-17, N.D. Okla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17418).



Insurers Object To Magistrate's Report As To Reinsurance Claims In 9/11 Dispute
NEW YORK - Insurers on Jan. 25 filed an objection to a New York federal magistrate judge's recommendation that their claims arising out of reinsurance contracts be denied in a coverage dispute stemming from the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and also challenged the magistrate's calculation of prejudgment interest (In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, No. 03-MDL-1570, Continental Casualty Co. v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army, No. 04-5970, S.D. N.Y.).



Erroneous Jury Instruction Warrants Reversal Of Hailstorm Coverage Suit, Panel Says
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 17 found that a lower court wrongly applied the efficient proximate cause doctrine in instructing the jury and improperly shifted the burden of proof in a hailstorm coverage dispute, reversing and remanding (Richard W. Jones, et al. v. Federated National Insurance Company, No. 4D16-2579, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 561).



Texas Federal Judge Denies Motion To Remand, Dismisses Adjuster As A Defendant
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 25 denied an insured's motion to remand in a property damage coverage dispute after determining that the insured failed to support its allegations that the claims adjuster breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing (University Baptist Church v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-962, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12057).



Question Of Fact Exists On Insurer's Initial Adjustment Of Property Damage Claim
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Jan. 23 refused to dismiss an insured's bad faith claim alleging that an insurer unreasonably adjusted its claim for property damages caused by a hailstorm because a question of fact exists regarding the insurer's initial adjustment of the insured's claim (Provincetown Landing II Association LLC v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-1403, D. Col., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10537).



Rulings On Expert Affirmed In $550,000 Verdict Against Insurer For Hail Damage
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 4 upheld a jury award of more than $550,000 for a Georgia apartment complex on its breach of contract claim against an insurer for not paying enough to replace hail-damaged shingles, finding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in any of its Daubert rulings (The Grand Reserve of Columbus, LLC v. Property-Owners Insurance Company, No. 17-10264, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 217).



Hurricane Irene Claim For Additional Damage Is Untimely, Federal Judge Says
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 11 found that insureds' claim for additional damage was made well beyond the Federal Emergency Management Agency deadline for Hurricane Irene-related claims, further concluding that the subrogation provision in a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) provides no basis for the relief that the insureds' seek (Robert Shearer, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, et al., No. 17-31, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6298).



Individuals, Businesses File Class Suit For Losses From Fire, Montecito Mudslides
LOS ANGELES - Southern California Edison Co. and Edison International (collectively, SCE) own, operate and improperly maintained unsafe electrical infrastructure that caused a December 2017 fire in southern California that, in turn, triggered a January 2018 mudslide, killing nearly two dozen people and destroying homes and business, individuals and businesses allege in a Jan. 24 class complaint filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking an unnamed amount for damages and destruction of property, loss of use of property, loss of business, other damages and attorney fees (Victoria Frost, et al. v. Southern California Edison Company, et al., No. BC691146, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).



Flood Claim Barred By Statute Of Limitations, Federal Judge Rules
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 9 granted a federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for flood damage caused by a May 2015 storm in Houston, finding that the lawsuit is untimely (Ali Ekhlassi v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1257, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3568).



Federal Judge Enforces $30,000 Settlement In Coverage Dispute Over Storm Damage
FLORENCE, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on Dec. 21 granted an insurer's motion to enforce a $30,000 mediated settlement agreement in a dispute over coverage for storm and flood damage, noting that the insured will receive a final settlement of $16,090.01 after the parties' attorney fees are paid (Sherye Epps d/b/a Sunshine Shoes, Plaintiff, v. Midvale Indemnity Company, No. 16-2747, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210127).



Flood Sublimit Applies To $25M 'Time Element Losses,' Insurer Argues To 6th Circuit
CINCINNATI - An insurer argued to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that there are "multiple, reinforcing provisions" in an insurance policy that unambiguously make clear that a high hazard flood sublimit applies to all coverage for losses caused by a flood, including an insured's alleged $25 million "time element losses" arising from a Thailand flood (Federal-Mogul Corp. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, Nos. 17-1649 and 17-1716, 6th Cir.).



Texas High Court Refuses To Disturb Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Hailstorm Dispute
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 5 denied an insured's petition to review a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from a $73,000 appraisal award for the insured's hailstorm damage, according to its orders pronounce list (Floyd Circle Partners LLC v. Republic Lloyds, No. 17-0734, Texas Sup.).



8th Circuit Vacates 'Ambiguous' Appraisal Award, Remands For Clarification
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 5 held that an appraisal award in a hailstorm coverage dispute is ambiguous, vacating the award and remanding for the lower court to resubmit to the appraisal panel (Mark Herll, et al. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-1889, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 262).



Rulings On Expert Affirmed In $550,000 Verdict Against Insurer For Hail Damage
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 4 upheld a jury award of more than $550,000 for a Georgia apartment complex on its breach of contract claim against an insurer for not paying enough to replace hail-damaged shingles, finding that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in any of its Daubert rulings (The Grand Reserve of Columbus, LLC v. Property-Owners Insurance Company, No. 17-10264, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 217).



Georgia Federal Judge Says Insurer Had Reasonable Basis To Dispute Mold Claim
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on Dec. 6 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim but granted the insurer's motion on a bad faith claim after determining that the insurer had a reasonable basis to deny the insured's claim for coverage of mold and water damages incurred to her home as a result of a hailstorm (Carrie Finch v. Owners Insurance Co., No. 16-169, S.D. Ga., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200934).



'5th Circuit Affirms Denial Of Oil Spill Claim For Not Arm's-Length Transactions
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana did not err when refusing to review the denial of a man's claim for compensation under the Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, finding that a policy in the agreement excludes transactions that are not arm's length transactions as revenue (Claimant ID 100190818 v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al, No. 17-30099, 5th Cir.).



5th Circuit Affirms Gas Retailer's $58.4M Award From Settlement Agreement
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 14 affirmed a federal judge in Louisiana's decision to award a gasoline retailer $58.4 million under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement, finding that the judge did not err when finding that the company was not excluded from the settlement agreement (BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al. v. Claimant ID 100211268, No. 16-31118, 5th Cir.).



Federal Judge Transfers Coverage Suit Over Damage Caused By California Forest Fire
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 3 granted an insured's motion to transfer venue of an insurer's lawsuit challenging coverage for the insured's structural and smoke-related damage caused by a July 31, 2015, forest fire (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Hume Lake Christian Camps, Inc., No.: 17-1600, S.D, Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1186).



New York Justice: Subcontractor Was Proximate Cause Of Throgs Neck Bridge Fire
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Dec. 26 found that a contractor is entitled to coverage as an additional insured under a subcontractor's primary insurance policy because the subcontractor was the proximate cause of a fire on the Throgs Neck Bridge (E.E Cruz & Company, Inc. v. Axis Surplus Insurance Company, et al., No. 152988/2012, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5137).



Judge: City Is Not Entitled To Independent Counsel In Sewer Backup Coverage Suit
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 18 denied the city of Laguna Beach's motion for partial summary judgment but granted its motion for partial stay in a coverage dispute over damages arising from an April 26, 2016, sewer backup (Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Company v. Laguna Beach, No. 17-00277, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212828).



Insured's Suit Against Adjuster In Hurricane Ike Coverage Dispute Is Untimely
GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Dec. 5 found that an insured's breach of contract and negligence lawsuit against an adjuster is time-barred by a two-year statute of limitations, granting the adjuster's motion for summary judgment in Hurricane Ike coverage dispute (Gracie Reese v. Aftermath Public Adjusters, Inc., et al., No. 16-273, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199527).



Judge Allows Subpoena Of Insurer's Consultants In Windstorm Coverage Dispute
SEATTLE - Finding insufficient support for an insurer's claim that its consultants were engaged in advance of possible insurance fraud litigation, a Washington federal judge on Dec. 5 denied the insurer's motion to quash subpoenas served on them by the plaintiff in a coverage suit related to extreme weather events (Premier Harvest LLC, et al. v. AXIS Surplus Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:17-cv-00784, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199910).



Judge Stays Class Action Challenging Insurance Practices After Settlement Announced
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge in a Nov. 29 text order granted a joint motion to stay a class action alleging that a homeowners 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 after the parties announced that they reached a settlement (Jean Heckmann v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo.).



No Homeowners Coverage Owed For Flood Damage, Federal Judge Says
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 27 granted a homeowners insurer's motion for partial summary judgment in an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for flood damage caused by a May 2015 storm in Houston, finding that the policy excluded flood damage from coverage (Ali Ekhlassi v. National Lloyds Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1257, S.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194467).



Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith By Only Paying For A Portion Of Floor Replacement
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 15 dismissed a bad faith claim alleged against a homeowners insurer after determining that the insureds failed to prove that the insurer acted unreasonably by paying for only a portion of the insureds' kitchen floor following a flood at the insureds' home (Steven Barnwell et al. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-4739, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188427).



Federal Judge: Flood Did Not Become Excluded Peril Once Sublimits Were Exhausted
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 9 granted insureds' motion for partial summary judgment in their breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that the insurer remains liable for any damages caused by pure wind and the combination of wind and flood if such damages are proven by the insureds (Hidden Cove Park and Marina, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-00193, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186191).



Magistrate Judge Recommends Denial Of Reinsurance Claims In 9/11 Insurance Dispute
NEW YORK - In a dispute over claims stemming from the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, a New York federal magistrate judge on Nov. 27 recommended that insurers be awarded $221.5 million but that their claims arising out of reinsurance contracts be denied (In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, No. 03-MDL-1570, Continental Casualty Co. v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army, No. 04-5970, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196192).



Insurer Must Cover Damage By Wind, Not Construction Defects, Appeals Panel Says
DETROIT - An insurer is responsible to cover damage from wind-driven rain to condominium units but is not responsible for damage caused by construction defects, a Michigan appeals panel held Nov. 16, reversing summary disposition to the insurer (Walters Beach Condominium Association v. Home-Owners Insurance Co., No. 335172, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1810).



3rd Circuit Affirms Ruling In Favor Of Insurer In Superstorm Sandy Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 affirmed a district court's summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute after determining that the insurer fulfilled the requirements of accord and satisfaction when it sent its insureds a check representing payment for the insureds' losses (Anna Cranmer, et al. v. Harleysville Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-1596, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23187).



Judge Enjoins Insureds From Removing Any Property From Storage Unit In Sandy Suit
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Nov. 6 confirmed that an Oct. 23 court-ordered subpoena remains in effect to make a storage space in Brooklyn, N.Y., available to allow the inspection of the contents of several storage units maintained by insureds in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute and enjoined the insureds from removing any boxes or property from the storage units absent permission form the court (Robert Toussie v. Allstate Insurance Co., et al., Nos. 14-2705 and 15-5235, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183603).