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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ California Insurance Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ California Insurance Legal News



Headline California Insurance Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Panel: Court Did Not Err In Dismissing Bad Faith Claim In Coverage Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court did not err in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on an insured's claim for insurance bad faith because the insured failed to plead any genuine issues of material facts to support the claim, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 19 in affirming (Jesse Kalberer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-17220, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10779).



9th Circuit Panel Upholds Court's Bad Faith Ruling In Auto Coverage Suit
PASADENA, Calif. - A federal district court did not err in denying an insurer's motion for judgment as a matter of law on an insurance bad faith claim because a reasonable jury could have determined that the insurer had a reasonable opportunity to settle the claims against its insured, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 15 in affirming (Carlos Madrigal, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., Nos. 16-55839 and 16-55863, 9th Cir.).



California Federal Judge Orders Insurer To Prove That Parties Are Completely Diverse
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 13 ordered an insurer to show cause as to why an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit should be litigated in federal court and not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Reseda Medical Clinic, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Company, et al., No. 17-3686, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90932).



California Appeals Panel Says Issue Of Fact Exists On Insurer's Denial Of Coverage
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The Fourth District California Court of Appeal on June 19 reversed a summary judgment ruling entered in favor of an insurer after determining that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the insurer's refusal to cover an insured's epidural injections for injuries sustained in an automobile accident was reasonable (Carmen Zubillaga v. Allstate Indemnity Co., No. G052603, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 562).



California Federal Judge Says Bad Faith Claims Are Not Duplicative Of Each Other
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 9 denied a motion to dismiss a life insurance beneficiary's claims of bad faith alleged against two insurers after determining that the beneficiary alleged sufficient facts in support of the claims (Mehdi Vossoughi v. AIG Property Casualty Company et al., No. 17-0247, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89206).



California Federal Judge Says No Additional Coverage Owed To Beneficiaries
LOS ANGELES - Beneficiaries of a director of photography who was killed in a helicopter crash while working on the production of a reality television show are not entitled to coverage under an accidental death and dismemberment policy because the insured was not a "participant" on the reality show, a California federal judge said July 7 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment on claims for breach of contract and bad faith (Jerie S. Rydstrom, et al. v. Federal Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-2543, 16-2614, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105473).



California Federal Judge Allows Plaintiff To Amend Complaint In Life Insurance Dispute
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 7 granted a life insurance beneficiary's motion to amend a complaint after determining that the amendment addresses the insurer's challenges to the beneficiary's standing to pursue the claims and the insurer's argument that the claims are time-barred (Yegeniy V. Sidorov, in his individual capacity and as administrator of the estate of Natalya N. Natalya, v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-00002, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105479).



California Federal Judge Allows Claims To Stand In Life Insurance Rate Case
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on July 10 determined that plaintiffs alleging that a life insurer wrongfully increased monthly deduction rates alleged sufficient facts to support their claims for breach of contract and bad faith (EFG Back AG, Cayman Branch, v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., No. 16-8104, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109780).



California Federal Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Counterclaims In Sewage Suit
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 23 denied a motion to dismiss bad faith counterclaims against an insurer in a coverage dispute arising out of a sewage spill after determining that the counterclaims sufficiently allege facts in support of the claims (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Mountain Movers Engineering Contactors Inc., No. 16-2127, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97731).



Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Reasonable, 9th Circuit Panel Affirms
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 affirmed a district court's ruling that the termination of a disability claim was reasonable based on the plan's mental health coverage limitation and the medical evidence considered by the disability insurer (Kathee A. Colman v. American International Group Inc. Group Benefit Plan, et al., No. 15-15903, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10394).



Claimant Owed Disability Benefits Under Plan's 'Own Occupation' Provision
SAN FRANCISCO - Following a one-day bench trial, a California federal judge on June 13 determined that a disability claimant submitted sufficient evidence showing that he was disabled under a plan's "own occupation" provision but failed to prove that he was disabled under the plan's "any occupation" standard (Robert Bosley v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 16-00139, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90803).



Excess Insurer Entitled To Recover $5M Settlement Payment, 9th Circuit Affirms
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a software firm insured's former first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer is entitled to recover the $5 million it paid to settle an underlying securities action plus prejudgment interest from the insured's latter first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer (Genesis Insurance Co. v. Magma Design Automation Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 15-16999, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12194).



9th Circuit: Dispute Over Phrase 'Direct Supplier' Is Question Of Fact For Jury
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 found that whether a manufacturer of hard-disk drives provided to a set-top box company was a direct supplier of a satellite television provider is a question of fact to be resolved by a jury, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a business interruption coverage dispute arising from the Thailand flood (DirecTV v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co., No. 16-55313, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10787).



California Panel Affirms No Coverage For Dentist's Claim For Lost Practice Income
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals panel on June 13 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a dispute over coverage for an individual dentist's claim for lost dental practice income due to a sewage backup (William A. Gilbert v. The Dentists Insurance Company, Inc., No. C075959, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4041).



Rescission Lawsuit Is Not 'Exceptional' To Justify Abstention, 9th Circuit Rules
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 5 found that a lower court's grant of an insured's request for abstention under Colorado River Water Conservation District v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1979), was an abuse of its narrow discretion because the insurer's rescission lawsuit is not "exceptional" to warrant disregarding a federal court's obligation to exercise its jurisdiction (Seneca Insurance Co. Inc. v. Strange Land Inc., et al., No. 15-16011, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11946).



9th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Coverage Dispute Over Theft
SAN FRANCISCO - Finding that an insured's argument on appeal is waived because it never presented it to the lower court, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 affirmed a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of a business owners insurer (Pacific Enterprises LLC v. AMCO Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-16042, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11319).



Insured Asks 9th Circuit To Find Loss Of Boats Was Due To Theft And Not Scheme
SAN FRANCISCO - A boat business insured has asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court's finding that an insurer did not breach an all-risk policy in bad faith by denying coverage for its theft claim (Pacific Marine Center, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 17-15897, 9th Cir.).



Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Seeking Rescission Of Products Liability Insurance
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on June 13 dismissed a rescission lawsuit after the primary products liability insurer and the manufacturer of the da Vinci Surgical System announced that they have reached a settlement (Illinois Union Insurance Co., et al. v. Intuitive Surgical Inc., No. 13-04863, N.D. Calif.).



Professional Services Exclusion Bars Coverage For Pipeline Explosion, Panel Says
SAN FRANCISCO - The First District California Court of Appeal on July 11 affirmed a trial court's judgment in favor of an excess insurer after finding that its policy's professional services exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims arising from a deadly pipeline explosion (Energy Insurance Mutual Limited v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. A140656, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).



Magistrate Judge Grants Voluntary Dismissal Of FDIC Suit Against Insolvent Insurer
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on June 8 granted the voluntary dismissal of a coverage lawsuit between the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as assignee of certain claims by a failed bank, and an insolvent insurer's receiver (Thomas T. Hawker, et al. v. John D. Doak, insurance commissioner as receiver for Red Rock Insurance Co. f/k/a BancInsure Inc., No. 12-1261 E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88319).



FDIC, Insolvent Insurer Seek Joint Dismissal Of Negligence Dispute
LOS ANGELES - Following an appeal that saw a reversal of summary judgment on negligence claims, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as receiver for a failed bank, and an insolvent insurer on May 30 submitted to a California federal court a joint stipulation asking for dismissal of a dispute over directors and officers liability coverage (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as receiver for Security Pacific Bank v. BancInsure Inc., No. 12-9882, C.D. Calif.).



Negligent Work Exclusion Precludes Coverage For Damaged Fuel Tank
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 26 granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by two insurers in a coverage dispute over a damaged fuel tank after determining that the policy's negligent work exclusion precludes coverage for the damage (Terra Nova Gas Station Inc., et al. v. AMCO Insurance Co., No. 16-1565, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98465).



Panel Denies Rehearing Of Ruling On Joint Reinsurance Association's Duty To Costs
SAN FRANCISCO - Denying a petition for rehearing, a California appeals panel on June 14 upheld its earlier ruling that an insurance industry placement facility and joint reinsurance association is obligated by California Insurance Code Section 2051 to pay the costs to repair an insured's home, less depreciation, even if the amount exceeds the fair market value of her home (California Fair Plan Association v. Marlene Garnes, No. A143190, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 552).



9th Circuit Finds Jury Instructions Were Adequate For Dispute Over Coverage
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 16 overruled arguments from a general contractor that a jury was not properly instructed about certain exclusions included in a policy obtained from ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Co., finding that the contactor was reading the exclusions too narrowly (ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company, RRG v. Valley Corp. B., et al., No. 14-17544, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10716).



Professional Services Exclusion Does Not Bar Coverage, Insured Tells 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - An insured has asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court's finding that coverage for an underlying qui tam action brought against it under the False Claims Act (FCA) is barred because the claims arose out of its professional services (HotChalk Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 16-17287, 9th Cir.).



No Coverage For Insured's Deliberate Acts Of Unprotected Sex, 9th Circuit Affirms
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a homeowners insurer has no duty to defend its insured against underlying claims of battery, sexual battery, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress (Travelers Commercial Insurance Co. v. Jennifer A., No. 15-15841, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10996).



California Panel Affirms No Coverage Due For Damage To Underground Storage Tank
LOS ANGELES - An insured is not entitled to coverage for the collapse of an underground storage tank because an impairment of the tank's structural integrity does not qualify as an actual collapse for which coverage is afforded under the policy, the Second District California Court of Appeal said July 3 (Tustin Field Gas & Food, Inc., v. Mid-Century Insurance Company, No. B268850, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 602).



Appeals Panel Upholds Ruling Sentencing Man To Jail For Probation Violations
VENTURA, Calif. - A California appeals panel on June 20 affirmed a trial court judge's decision to imprison a man for the remainder of his six-year concurrent prison sentences for insurance fraud and possession of a controlled substance after finding that he violated the terms of his supervised release by failing to regularly report to his probation officer (People v. Chad Tadao Stukey, No. B279666, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 6, 2017 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4189).



Excess Insurer Seeks Review By California High Court On Issue Of Policy Exhaustion
LOS ANGELES - In a June 27 petition for review filed in the California Supreme Court, an excess insurer says the high court should accept review of a silica coverage suit because the appellate court failed to address what constitutes proper exhaustion of the primary insurance policy at issue (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Moldex Metric Inc., et al., No. S242845, Calif. Sup., 2017 CA S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 1064).



Judge Refuses To Substitute Insurer As Defendant In UCL, Coverage Case
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 16 denied a request filed by a group of development companies to substitute an insurer as a defendant in an action seeking coverage in an underlying construction defects case, finding that the substitution would not advance the litigation and refusing to remand the case (Toll CA, L.P., et al. v. American Safety Indemnity Company, et al., No. 16-cv-1523, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94107).



Company: Insurer Owes Coverage For Fraudulent Email That Led To Financial Loss
SAN FRANCISCO - A company that was the victim of fraud by way of email has asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court's decision and find that an insurer must provide coverage under the terms of a policy regarding losses by computer fraud (Aqua Star [USA] Corp. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 16-35614, 9th Cir.).



Panel: Joint Reinsurance Association Is Required To Pay Costs To Repair Home
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurance industry placement facility and joint reinsurance association is obligated by California Insurance Code Section 2051 to pay the costs to repair an insured's home, less depreciation, even if the amount exceeds the fair market value of her home, a California appeals panel ruled May 26 (California Fair Plan Association v. Marlene Garnes, No. A143190, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 479).



9th Circuit Says Disability Claimant Failed To Provide Objective Medical Findings
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 11 affirmed a district court's ruling after determining that a long-term disability (LTD) claim was properly denied because the claimant failed to provide any objective medical findings in support of the claim for benefits (Tricia Z. Cooper v. Intel Corporation Long Term Disability Plan, No. 14-35745, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8380).



California Federal Judge Orders Parties To File Joint Proposed Judgment On Attorney Fees
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 15 ordered a disability claimant and a disability insurer to submit a joint proposed judgment on the claimant's motion for attorney fees after finding that the claimant is not entitled to collect attorney fees for all the tasks completed by the claimant's attorney (Marlon Montoya v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 14-2740, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73781).



9th Circuit Panel Says Wrong Standard Of Review Applied In Disability Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 11 reversed a district court's ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the district court applied the wrong standard of review pursuant to California law (Talana Orzechowski v. The Boeing Company Non-Union Long-Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 14-55919, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8348).



California Federal Judge: Disability Insurer Failed To Properly Weigh All Evidence
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on June 5 reversed a disability insurer's termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the insurer failed to properly consider the reports of the claimant's treating physicians when it found that the claimant was not disabled from the duties of her regular occupation (Lisa Gallegos v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-1268, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86123).



9th Circuit Affirms Ruling That Disability Claimant Waived Right To Contest Denial
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 affirmed a district court's finding that a disability claimant waived his rights to contest the termination of his disability benefits because the claimant signed a waiver of all rights, including his rights to contest the termination of his disability claim, as part of a settlement with his former employer for wrongful termination claims (Thomas A. Gonda v. The Permanente Medical Group Inc., et al., No. 15-16484, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8888).



California Federal Judge Says Evidence Supports Finding That Claimant Is Disabled
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 24 granted a disability claimant's motion for judgment on the administrative record after determining that the evidence does not support the disability insurer's termination of benefits after paying the claimant benefits for almost eight years (Nancy Hart v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 15-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79970).



Judge Rejects 2 Equitable Apportionment Methods In Dispute Over 'Moonlight Fire'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 22 found that neither the "policy limits" approach nor the "relative fault" analysis is an appropriate equitable apportionment method in a coverage dispute arising from damage caused by the September 2007 "Moonlight Fire" in California (American States Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, No. 12-01489, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79103).



Appeals Court Says Evidentiary Hearing Needed In Insurance Fraud Suit
LOS ANGELES - An evidentiary hearing should have been held to determine whether a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer had sufficient information in 2010 to begin an investigation into whether a man committed insurance fraud by further damaging a tow truck, a California appeals panel ruled June 12 (Mark Jeffrey Tornow v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al., No. B271895, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 7th Div., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub LEXIS 4020).



Judge Refuses To Dismiss Insurers' Class Claims For Damages After Subrogation
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on May 24 denied a motion filed by the makers of a defective dehumidifier that caused fires to dismiss class action claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and negligence and other claims and ordered them to show cause as to why they should not be sanctioned for misrepresenting the law as it pertains to insurer's rights to subrogate the rights of insureds (Homesite Insurance Company of the Midwest, et al. v. Gree USA Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-06769, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79809).



Federal Magistrate Judge Recommends Default Judgment Be Entered Against Insured
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on May 3 recommended that a default judgment be entered against an insured because the insured failed to response to its insurers' complaint seeking a declaration that no coverage is owed for an underlying construction defects suit and because no coverage exists for the underlying suit based on the insured's misrepresentation in a policy application (Associated Industries Insurance Co. Inc., et al. v. Detail Construction & Waterproofing, Inc., No. 16-6042, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67722).



No Jurisdiction Under CAFA's 'Mass Action' Provision, Judge Rules In Remanding
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 3 granted insurers' motion to remand a lawsuit arising from claims over defective water supply lines, finding that the 26 insurers, acting as subrogees of 145 insureds, are the only plaintiffs and therefore fail to satisfy the "mass action" provision under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) to retain jurisdiction (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. EZ-Flo International Inc., No. 17-228, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67761).



Abuse Exclusion Bars Coverage For Wrongful Death Verdict, 9th Circuit Affirms
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 17 rejected a doctor and his wife's argument that they were entitled to coverage for an adverse verdict in a wrongful death suit because their homeowners insurance policy's abuse exclusion was not applicable, affirming a lower federal court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Carlos F. Verdugo, M.D., et al., Nos. 16-15687 and 16-15717, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8828).



Production Company Owed No Further Defense For Suits Over Fatal Train Accident
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on May 23 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims in a production company insured's lawsuit seeking coverage for damages caused by a train accident that killed a camera technician and injured the film's director and several crew members (Film Allman LLC v. New York Marine and General Insurance Co., Inc., No 14-7069, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79139).



Judge Vacates 3 Demands Of Reimbursement Against CIGA For Workers' Claims
LOS ANGELES - California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) is entitled to an order vacating and setting aside three reimbursement demands of $119,122 made under workers' compensation insurance policies, a California federal judge ruled May 3 (California Insurance Guarantee Association v. Thomas E. Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 15-cv-01113, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67589).



9th Circuit: Court Properly Dismissed Complaint Without Leave To Amend
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 13 affirmed a lower federal court's dismissal of an insured's lawsuit against its partners management liability reimbursement insurer, finding that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in denying the insured leave to amend its complaint (Cove Partners, LLC v. XL Specialty Insurance Company, No. 16-55315, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10504).



Insurer Was Not Entitled To Rescind Policy, California Panel Says In Reversal
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel on June 12 reversed a lower court's finding that an insurer was entitled to rescind an "Owners, Landlords & Tenants Liability Coverage" insurance policy, finding that the insurer failed to satisfy its burden of showing that the insured made material misrepresentations on the insurance application (Victor Duarte v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co., No. A143828, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2).



California Panel Reverses Ruling In Lawsuit Alleging Claim Under Elder Abuse Act
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals panel held June 2 that a first amended complaint sufficiently alleges "deprivation" of "the property of an elder" pursuant to the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, 42 U.S. Code Section 3058(i), 42 U.S.C. 3058i, reversing and remanding a lower court (Frederick Mahan, et al. v. Charles W. Chan Insurance Agency, Inc., et al., No. A147236. Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 507).



Magistrate Dismisses Yahoo's Suit Seeking Coverage For TCPA Class Action Claims
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal magistrate on June 2 granted a commercial general liability insurer's motion to dismiss Yahoo! Inc.'s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for underlying class action allegations that it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by transmitting unsolicited text messages (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 17-00447, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85200).



9th Circuit Majority Vacates Ruling In Suit Seeking Coverage Under Surety Bond
PASADENA, Calif. - A majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 2 vacated and remanded a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a suit seeking to recover $305,000 under a surety bond (Nacimiento Water Company, Inc. v. International Fidelity Insurance Co., Nos. 15-56323 and No. 16-55311, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9810).



Investors: District Court's Ruling On Insurance Policy Limit Was In Error
SAN FRANCISCO - A company that contends that a federal judge in Montana wrongly dismissed its case against an insurance company recently filed an appeal brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the judge erred in determining that interrelated claims constituted a legal issue rather than a factual one (Sauerbier Ranches Inc., et al. v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Company, No. 16-35280, 9th Cir.).



California High Court Is Set To Rule On Coverage For Molestation Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer in an April 10 reply brief urges the California Supreme Court to find that claims against an employer for negligent hiring, retention and supervision of its employee qualify as an "occurrence" under the employer's commercial general liability (CGL) policy and that an "accident" can include unintended consequences of the employer's intentional acts (Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, et al. v. Ledesma and Meyer Construction Company, Inc., et al., No. S236765, Calif. Sup.).



9th Circuit Says Damage Is Not Continuation Of Assignee's Original Damage
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 20 determined that a district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of two insurers because it was reasonable for the assignees of the insured to assume that the damage sustained as the result of an insured's negligent repair is not a continuation of the assignee's original damage (Adrianus Alkemade and Rachelle Alkemade v. Quanta Indemnity Co. and General Fidelity Insurance Co., No. 14-35605, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6896).



Federal Judge Stays Defects Coverage Suit Until Underlying Suits Are Resolved
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on April 26 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment and stayed the insurer's suit until two underlying suits alleging claims related to the insured's alleged negligent workmanship are resolved because there are multiple issues of material dispute that need to be resolved before a coverage decision can be made (Tokio Marine Specialty Insurance Co. v. Thompson Brooks Inc., et al., No. 17-514, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63542).



Removal Of Construction Defects Suit Not Proper, California Federal Judge Says
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 21 granted an insurer's motion to remand after determining that removal was improper because complete diversity of citizenship may not exist as there is a possibility that several defendants in the construction defects suit, originally filed in California state court, are citizens of California (Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. Maison Reeves Homeowners Association, et al., No. 17-1704, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61241).



Judge Bars Testimony In Reinsurance Risk Company's Breach Of Contract Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge excluded on May 10 lay opinion testimony by a reinsurance risk management company's chief financial officer in a breach of contract lawsuit about funds that were improperly withdrawn from bank accounts (Les Fields/C.C.H.I. Insurance Services v. Stuart M. Hines, et al., No. 15-03728, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71620).



Federal Judge Remands Claim To Consider If Claimant Was Disabled From Any Occupation
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 12 remanded a disability claim to the plan administrator to determine whether the disability claimant was disabled under the plan's "any occupation" standard (Bertha Campos v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 15-8304, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56185).



Disability Claimant Owed Benefits Under Own-Occupation Standard, Federal Judge Says
SAN FRANCISCO - Because a disability claimant submitted substantial evidence proving that she was disabled from her own occupation, the claimant is owed retroactive disability benefits for the 24-month period of disability under the own-occupation standard, a California federal judge said April 11 (Cathleen Murphy v. California Physicians Service, et al., No. 14-2581, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55431).



Procedural Violation Does Not Justify Award Of Disability Benefits, 9th Circuit Says
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 4 vacated and remanded a district court's ruling in a disability benefits suit after determining that the disability insurer's failure to comply with procedural requirements does not, on its own, justify an award of benefits in favor of the claimant (Gregory Smith v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., Nos. 16-15319, No. 16-15413, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5835).



California Appeals Panel Affirms Insurer's Restitution Award In Fraud Suit
SAN DIEGO - An insurer is entitled to $37,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting to the company that nurses he sent to work at skilled-nursing facilities were computer programmers to obtain a lower workers' compensation policy premium, a California appeals panel ruled March 22 in affirming the man's conviction (People v. John Paul Riddles, No. D069419, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. LEXIS 259).



Prior Knowledge, Prior Litigation Exclusions Bar Coverage, 9th Circuit Affirms
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a business and management insurance policy's prior knowledge and prior litigation exclusions bars coverage for an underlying lawsuit against management insureds (Douglas Woo, et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 14-56992, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7616).



Judge Says Conservatorship Of Insolvent Insurer Is Futile, Orders Liquidation
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on March 30 ordered the end of the conservatorship of an insolvent insurer and the beginning of a liquidation proceeding (Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. CastlePoint National Insurance Company, and DOES 1-50, No. CPF-16-515183, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).



Judge Approves Early Access Distributions To Insurance Guarantors
LOS ANGELES - A California judge on April 5 authorized the liquidator of an insolvent insurer to pay $5 million in early access distributions to states' insurance guaranty associations that have been paying claims brought by the insolvent insurer's policyholders (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. SeeChange Health Insurance Company, No. BS152302, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).



Insurer Owes Insured For Prejudgment Interest, Some Attorney Fees, 9th Circuit Says
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 27 ruled that a business liability insurer has a duty to indemnify its insured for prejudgment interest on underlying damages for breach of contract and underlying attorney fees and costs attributable to California Labor Code claims brought by a former employee, reversing and vacating in part and remanding for further proceedings (Michael Feiz Medical Corp. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 15-56652, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7495).



Investment Solicitation Falls Outside Policy's Definition Of 'Professional Services'
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 found that an investment solicitation by an insured fell outside a professional liability insurance policy's definition of covered "professional services," affirming a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (Continental Casualty Co. v. Kool Radiators Inc., No. 15-16023, 9th Cir.).



9th Circuit Asked To Decide Whether Summary Judgment Was Proper In Bad Faith Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Parties in an insurance dispute asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently to determine whether a federal district court erred in granting an insurer's motion for summary judgment on claims that it breached its duty to defend and acted in bad faith in denying coverage under an indemnity insurance policy (Sunrise Specialty Co. Inc., et al. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 16-16856, 9th Cir.).



California Appellate Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Bad Faith Suit As Time-Barred
LOS ANGELES - A state trial court's dismissal of an insured's breach of contract and bad faith claims in a homeowners insurance dispute was proper because the insured's claims were filed after the claims' one-year statute of limitations had run, a California appellate panel ruled in affirming on May 12 (Heather A. Smillie v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. B268353, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2017 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3252).



Insured Waived Appeal Of Dismissal Of Unfair Competition Claim, 9th Circuit Says
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of a homeowners insurer in its insured's lawsuit alleging violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Kamlesh Banga v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 14-17147, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7284).



Business Pursuits Exclusion Bars Coverage For Injury, 9th Circuit Affirms
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 20 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from an underlying injury claim by a day laborer (Barbara Kellerer v. Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 15-56653, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6903).



California Federal Judge Allows Counterclaims In Sewage Spill Coverage Suit
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on May 4 partially granted a motion to assert breach of contract and bad faith counterclaims against an insurer in a coverage dispute arising out of a sewage spill after determining that the insurer would not be prejudiced if the counterclaims were asserted by the defendants (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Mountain Movers Engineering Contactors Inc., No. 16-2127, S.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68575).



Judge Grants Insureds' Motion To Stay Professional Liability Coverage Dispute
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on May 5 granted insureds' motion to stay a professional liability coverage dispute pending resolution of an underlying lawsuit alleging that they committed fraudulent conduct in managing a 40-unit mixed-use condominium complex in San Diego (Admiral Insurance Co. v. Urban Housing Partners, Inc., et al., No.: 16-2720, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69303).



9th Circuit Partly Reverses Ruling In Coverage Dispute Over Intellectual Property
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 9 affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded a coverage dispute arising from an underlying lawsuit alleging that insureds breached an intellectual property agreement and committed trade libel and tortious inducement to breach of contract (The Burlington Insurance Co. v. Minadora Holdings, LLC, et al., Nos. 15-55702 and 15-56657, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8232).



Insurer Says No Defense Owed For Suit Alleging Mattresses Emitted Chemical Odor
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer has no duty to defend an underlying consumer class action lawsuit alleging that an insured's mattresses were defective because the underlying suit alleges only intentional conduct on the part of the insured and does not allege an accident as required by the policy at issue, the insurer maintains in an April 14 reply brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Tempur-Sealy International Inc., et al., No. 16-16056, 9th Cir.).



California Federal Judge Tosses Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress Claims
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 20 dismissed with prejudice an elderly man's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) against Mutual of Omaha because the man has not identified "any extreme and outrageous conduct" by the defendant (Donald Mann v. Mutual of Omaha, et al., No. 16-2560, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60579).



Appeals Panel Says Policy Limits Were Exhausted, No Further Duty To Defend Exists
LOS ANGELES - The Second District California Court of Appeal on May 18 reversed a trial court's judgment in favor of an insured in a silica coverage case after determining that the insured released its right to assert any bad faith claims against the insurer and after finding that the insurer has no further duty to defend the insured because the insurer's policy limits were exhausted in 2013 (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Moldex Metric Inc., et al., No. B272378, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3485).