Mealey's California Insurance

  • November 08, 2023

    Judge Modifies Class In Driver’s Suit Against GEICO For Unfair COVID Premiums

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Nov. 7 granted an insured’s motion to modify a previously certified class of automotive policy holders in the insured’s suit claiming that GEICO violated California’s unfair competition law (UCL) by profiting from a premium giveback program initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the judge agreeing based on evidence produced to change the class time period.

  • November 08, 2023

    California Panel Affirms Ruling In Equitable Contribution Suit Between Insurers

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals panel held that the undisputed evidence establishes that insureds knew that “bodily injury” and “property damage” asserted in an underlying complaint occurred before the inception of a defendant commercial general liability insurer’s policy period, affirming a lower court’s judgment in favor of the defendant CGL insurer in an equitable contribution lawsuit brought by another CGL insurer.

  • November 07, 2023

    Judge Allows Law Firm To Intervene To Enforce Lien Against D&O Policy Proceeds

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California granted a law firm’s motion to intervene in an insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that a directors and officers employment practices liability and fiduciary liability policy is rescinded because of the insureds’ material misrepresentations, permitting the firm to enforce a charging lien against the proceeds of the policy.

  • November 02, 2023

    9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Vizio’s 4th Amended Complaint On Other Grounds

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of Vizio Inc.’s fourth amended complaint seeking coverage for an underlying $17 million settlement and defense costs arising from class claims alleging unauthorized collections of consumers’ television viewing data, finding that Vizio breached the insurance policy by not soliciting the excess insurer’s consent before settling the underlying lawsuit.

  • November 02, 2023

    California Supreme Court To Review Time Limitation On UCL Insurance Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court granted a petition for review filed by an insured challenging the dismissal as time-barred of her property insurance claim for replacement of a decayed staircase without investigation, writing that it will address whether an insured’s claim for injunctive relief under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) falls under the statute of limitations set forth in the UCL or the state’s insurance code.

  • November 01, 2023

    Stay Granted In Insurance Rescission Suit Due To Overlap With Underlying Case

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge granted a stay in an insurer’s suit against its insured and a lessee contracting with the insured for a remodeling project, seeking rescission of policies and a declaratory judgment that there is no duty to defend and indemnify the insured in an underlying negligence suit regarding the remodeling project, finding that factors weigh in favor of a stay, including the overlapping facts in the underlying action and the declaratory judgment suit.

  • October 30, 2023

    Federal Judge Dismisses Coverage Suit Over Tenants’ Claims Against Mutual Insured

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Three days after a plaintiff insurer and a defendant commercial general liability insurer filed a stipulation for dismissal of a declaratory judgment lawsuit arising from an underlying action alleging that their mutual insured attempted to drive tenants out of their units, a federal judge in California dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.

  • October 30, 2023

    California Appeals Panel Affirms Ruling For Insurer In Water Damage Suit

    LOS ANGELES — The Second District California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of an insurer in a bad faith coverage dispute over water damage caused by a sewer line backup after determining that the insured forfeited its argument that coverage is provided for the water damage by not raising the issue in the trial court.

  • October 30, 2023

    9th Circuit Affirms Judgment In Insurance Fraud Dispute Over Employee’s Status

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a corrected opinion, affirming a district court’s summary judgment for an insurance broker acting as a licensed agent for a health insurer awarded $2.4 million in damages when its insured company was found liable for fraud regarding classifying an employee incorrectly as full time, finding, in part, that the district court correctly determined that the broker did not act outside its agency authority for the health insurer.

  • October 30, 2023

    Force Majeure Provision Does Not Excuse Rent Payment, Panel Says In Coronavirus Suit

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California appeals panel affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an appellant cannot recoup rent payments for periods during which it was prevented from operating its indoor health and fitness facility due to the government orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, rejecting the appellant’s argument that the commercial lease's force majeure provision excused it from paying rent.

  • October 27, 2023

    Contractor Did Not Timely Report Claim; No Professional Liability Coverage Owed

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a professional liability insurer in a contractor insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that the insured failed to timely report underlying counterclaims for negligence, delay, breach of contract, construction defects and failure to complete construction.

  • October 26, 2023

    Policy’s Business Income Coverage Language Is Ambiguous, Federal Judge Rules

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge partly denied a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from a now defunct restaurant’s suspension of operations, finding that the policy’s business income coverage language is ambiguous.

  • October 26, 2023

    Panel Affirms Ruling For Insurer In Coverage Dispute Arising From Battery Fire

    SAN DIEGO — A California appeals panel concluded that insureds failed to present a triable issue of material fact as to their breach of contract claim against their insurer, affirming a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer in a coverage dispute arising from damage caused by a lithium battery that caught on fire.

  • October 24, 2023

    Verdict On Bad Faith, Unfair Practices Claims Supported By Substantial Evidence

    PASADENA, Calif. — Substantial evidence supports a jury verdict on claims for bad faith and unfair insurance practices, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 23 in affirming a more than $5.7 million judgment entered in favor of an insured and against an auto insurer.

  • October 23, 2023

    Reinsurer Gets Arbitration Order Over Liquidator’s Opposition In California Court

    LOS ANGELES — Saying in part that the dispute is “precisely the type . . . that must be resolved through an independent action, not the summary claims process,” a California judge granted a reinsurer’s motion to compel arbitration with an insurer in liquidation over a disagreement regarding the calculation of sliding scale commissions.

  • October 23, 2023

    Federal Judge Dismisses Claims That Insurer Has Duty To Defend Battery Suit

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California dismissed without prejudice breach of contract and other claims against an insurer that denied liability for two insurance policy holders accused of battery in a lawsuit following an altercation.

  • October 17, 2023

    Judge Dismisses Insurer’s Complaint Against Amber Heard In Defamation Coverage Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California adopted a tentative ruling dismissing without leave to amend an insurer’s second amended complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Amber Heard for a defamation judgment awarded to Johnny Depp.

  • October 17, 2023

    Settlement Agreement Bars Insured From Reopening D&O Coverage Suit, Panel Affirms

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that the plain language of a settlement agreement between an insured and its directors and officers liability insurer bars the insured from reopening its coverage dispute against the insurer, affirming a lower federal court’s dismissal of the insured’s breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit without leave to amend.

  • October 16, 2023

    Late Exclusion Bid Follows Final OK Of Life Insurance COI Increase Settlement

    PHILADELPHIA — Following final approval of a class settlement of two similar cases over universal life insurance policy cost of insurance (COI) increases, two groups on Oct. 13 asked a Pennsylvania federal court to let them request that 52 policies be excluded from the settlement class even though the opt-out deadline has passed.

  • October 12, 2023

    Judge Rules For Insurer In Hotel’s Coverage Suit Over Theft, Vandalism Claims

    LOS ANGELES — A California judge granted a businessowners insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a hotel owner insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from alleged theft and vandalism that occurred following its shutdown of operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the policy’s vacancy provision bars coverage and estoppel does not apply.

  • October 10, 2023

    California Federal Judge Finds Contractor Cannot Bring Bad Faith Claim

    LOS ANGELES — Because there has been no excess judgment in underlying arbitration proceedings stemming from a general contractor’s alleged failure to properly secure a building under construction in advance of a hurricane, the contractor cannot state a claim against a commercial general liability insurer for bad faith, a federal judge in California ruled in granting the insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on the claim.

  • October 10, 2023

    Citing Mudpie, 9th Circuit Affirms Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Losses

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of insureds’ lawsuit seeking coverage for their losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent governmental orders, finding that, as in Mudpie, Inc. v. Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. of Am., the insureds failed to plausibly assert that “the efficient cause” of their losses was anything other than the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout California.

  • October 10, 2023

    Insured Claims Property Insurer Owes Additional Coverage For Water Damage

    LOS ANGELES — An insured filed suit in California state court against its property insurer, seeking a declaration that the insurer owes additional coverage to repair a property damaged when water pipes burst in the building and alleging that the insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith by refusing to release additional fund for repairs.

  • October 10, 2023

    9th Circuit Panel Won’t Revive $75M ERISA Suit Against Insurers Under Bristol

    PASADENA, Calif. — In an unpublished memorandum disposition rejecting the appellant’s reliance on Bristol SL Holdings, Inc. v. Cigna Health & Life Ins. Co., a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in part that a debt collector “lacks derivative authority to bring [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] claims as a second assignee.”

  • October 06, 2023

    IP Exclusion Bars Coverage For Misappropriation Of Likeness Claim, Panel Affirms

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Oct. 5 affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a commercial general liability insurer in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for a lawsuit brought against its insured, finding that the policy’s intellectual property exclusion bars coverage for the underlying misappropriation of likeness claim.

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