Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • December 15, 2023

    Florida Panel Affirms $884,371 Judgment In Insured’s Favor In Hurricane Irma Suit

    MIAMI — A Florida appeals panel affirmed a lower court’s $884,371.90 final judgment in favor of an insured after a jury returned a verdict in its favor in its breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses caused by Hurricane Irma, finding that the insurer failed to establish reversible error.

  • December 15, 2023

    5th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Favor Of Insurer In Hurricane Hanna Coverage Dispute

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that adopted a magistrate’s report recommending that summary judgment be granted in favor of a property insurer in a hotel owner’s breach of contract, fraud and bad faith lawsuit, finding that the insured failed to carry its burden under the concurrent causation doctrine to demonstrate that its roof damage was caused solely by Hurricane Hanna.

  • December 15, 2023

    Insureds Breached Terms Of Policy By Failing To Provide Proof Of Loss, Judge Says

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insureds’ claims for breach of contract and bad faith against their homeowners insurers in a dispute over damages and losses caused by a California wildfire cannot proceed because the insureds breached the terms of the insurance policy by failing to file a proof of loss for their personal property losses, a California federal judge said in granting the insurers’ motion for summary judgment.

  • December 14, 2023

    Louisiana Federal Judge Dismisses Hurricane Coverage Suit After Counsel Suspension

    LAFAYETTE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge dismissed a hurricane coverage suit, concurring with a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to grant a homeowner’s motion for dismissal against his now-insolvent insurer after the judge suspended the homeowner’s legal counsel for purported insurance fraud related to alleged misconduct in filing hurricane-coverage suits.

  • December 14, 2023

    Insured’s Remand Bid Denied In Hurricane Coverage Row With Insurer In Receivership

    NEW ORLEANS  — A Louisiana federal judge denied a homeowner’s motion to remand to state court his breach of contract and bad faith suit against his now-insolvent insurer alleging that the insurer failed to cover damage from Hurricane Ida, finding that because the homeowner did not amend his complaint to add the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) as a defendant, there is still “complete diversity between the parties.”

  • December 14, 2023

    Bifurcation Of Bad Faith Claim In Wildfire Coverage Suit Not Warranted, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — Bifurcation of a bad faith claim from a breach of contract claim in a dispute over coverage for property damages sustained by an insured’s wineries during four California wildfires is not warranted, a California federal judge said after determining that judicial efficiency would not be served through bifurcation and that any potential prejudice to the insurer incurred by trying both claims together could be avoided by issuing clear and limited jury instructions.

  • December 13, 2023

    Panel:  Insured’s Argument In COVID-19 Dispute ‘Runs Into A Wall Of Precedent’

    ST. LOUIS — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower federal court’s grant of an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the shutdown of its event venue in response to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured has failed to plausibly assert any “direct physical loss of or damage to” its property.

  • December 12, 2023

    Minnesota Panel:  Insured Failed To Allege Coronavirus Was Present At Its Properties

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota appeals panel on Dec. 11 affirmed a lower court’s ruling dismissing an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit against its insurers, finding that the insured failed to assert that the coronavirus was present at and contaminated its insured casino and golf course properties and, therefore, it did not cause direct physical loss or damage.

  • December 12, 2023

    Court Lacked Authority To Coordinate Not-Yet-Filed COVID-19 Coverage Suits

    PITTSBURGH — A majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 213.1 does not allow the coordination of actions that have not been filed at the time of the motion for coordination and that an insurer waived its argument that insureds were not entitled to seek coordination in the first place, affirming a Superior Court’s partial reversal of a lower court’s order coordinating coronavirus coverage lawsuits against Erie Insurance Exchange in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

  • December 12, 2023

    Dental Practice Incurred No Direct Physical Loss, Insurers Argue To Pa. High Court

    PITTSBURGH — Insurers filed a reply brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court defending their appeal of a Pennsylvania Superior Court majority’s ruling that at the very least, it is reasonable to interpret the phrase “direct physical loss of . . . property” to encompass the loss of use of a dental practice’s property due to the spread of the coronavirus “absent any actual damage to property.”

  • December 12, 2023

    Insured Failed To Show Coronavirus Is A Pollution Condition, Panel Says

    PORTLAND, Ore. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on Dec. 11 affirmed a district court’s ruling that no coverage is owed to an insured for business interruption losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because the insured failed to show that the coronavirus qualifies as a pollution condition as required by the policy at issue.

  • December 12, 2023

    California Judge Sustains Insurer’s Demurrer To Nonprofit’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A California judge sustained an insurer’s demurrer to its nonprofit insured’s breach of contract, bad faith, negligent misrepresentation and declaratory relief complaint seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, holding that the coronavirus and the subsequent governmental orders “are inextricably intertwined.”

  • December 07, 2023

    COMMENTARY: Fire & Rain: 2023 Key Decisions & Developments Impacting The Wide World Of Insurance

    By Scott M. Seaman, Pedro E. Hernandez and Lisa M. Roccanova

  • December 08, 2023

    Home Inspector Can Testify In Dispute Over Insurance Payout, Repairs

    TULSA, Okla. — A federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma on Dec. 7 denied an insured couple’s motion to exclude expert testimony by a property inspector who was hired by the insurer to review work done on a home damaged by a storm after the couple filed a breach of contract suit against the insurer.

  • December 05, 2023

    Insurer Seeks Reimbursement From Government For Losses Caused By Contaminated Water

    HONOLULU — In a complaint filed in Hawaii federal court, an insurer claims that the U.S. government must reimburse it for more than $500,000 paid to its insured for business losses after a fuel spill at a jet fuel storage facility operated by the U.S, Navy contaminated local drinking water and forced the insured to close its fast food restaurants for approximately four months.

  • December 04, 2023

    Judge Allows Insurers To Amend To Add Fraud Defense For Pre-Hurricane Damage

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on Dec. 1 issued an order granting a motion to amend an answer in a breach of contract suit filed against a commercial property insurer and an insurance syndicate over their failure to cover a condominium’s hurricane-related losses, finding that the proposed fraud defenses were sufficiently pleaded after discovery revealed that the alleged hurricane-related damage purportedly occurred before the hurricane.

  • December 04, 2023

    Insureds’ Motion To Remand Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Suit Denied

    BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana federal judge adopted a report recommending the denial of a motion to remand a hurricane damage coverage suit filed by insureds against a homeowners insurer, agreeing with the magistrate judge’s finding that complete diversity of citizenship exists because the insureds’ claims against a non-diverse, Louisiana insurance agent fail.

  • November 28, 2023

    No Coverage Owed For Clothing Retailer’s COVID-19 Losses, N.C. Panel Affirms

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of an insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the insured failed to allege a tangible alteration to its more than 1,300 clothing stores to trigger coverage.

  • November 28, 2023

    No Coverage Owed For COVID-19 Losses Under Pollution Policy, Court Says

    NEW YORK — No coverage is owed for business interruption losses caused by the coronavirus because the virus is not a pollution condition and does not constitute an indoor environmental condition as defined in the pollution and remediation policy, a New York appellate panel said in affirming a trial court’s ruling.

  • November 28, 2023

    Additional Work Not Barred By Policy’s Mold Sublimit Provision, Judge Says

    PHILADELPHIA — A claim for additional coverage for mold remediation work required by a local building code is not subject to a policy’s mold sublimit provision because the policy’s ordinance or law provision provides coverage for the additional work that was required by the enforcement of a local building code, a Pennsylvania federal judge said in partially granting the insureds’ motion for summary judgment.

  • November 28, 2023

    Expert On Hail Damage Admissible, But Federal Judge Orders 2nd Deposition

    DALLAS — A forensic engineer retained in an insurance coverage dispute can testify, a federal judge in Texas ruled, rejecting a motion filed by the insurer to exclude his testimony, but the judge ordered that the expert be made available for a second deposition at the insured’s expense.

  • November 27, 2023

    Judge Grants Substitution Motion In Hurricane Coverage Row With Insolvent Insurer

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana federal judge granted a motion to substitute the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA) as a defendant in a property owner’s breach of contract and bad faith suit against its now-insolvent insurer that purportedly failed to cover alleged losses from Hurricane Ida, finding that substituting LIGA as a defendant is permitted in an action  seeking to resolve covered claims.

  • November 20, 2023

    Judge Issues Opinion Reaffirming Order In Landlord’s Coronavirus Coverage Suit  

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York issued an opinion reaffirming its Sept. 29 order granting a commercial property insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a coronavirus coverage suit, finding that a commercial landlord insured failed to meet the contractual prerequisites to recover under the insurance policy’s two communicable disease provisions.

  • November 16, 2023

    Insurer Says Dismissal Of Claims In Hurricane Damage Suit Must Be Affirmed

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should affirm a district court’s dismissal of claims alleging breach of contract, bad faith and violation of North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) against a homeowners insurer because the district court properly found that the insured’s amended complaint did not allege sufficient facts in support of the insureds’ claims, the insurer contends in its appellee brief.

  • November 16, 2023

    Bad Faith, Unfair Practices Claims In Hurricane Coverage Suit Are Time-Barred

    NEW BERN, N.C. — An insured’s claims for bad faith and for violation of North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) arising out of claims for property damages caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence cannot proceed because the claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, a North Carolina federal judge said in partially granting a commercial property insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

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