Residential Real Estate Civil Procedure Insurance

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NY Joins Texas In The Broad Use Of Appraisal

Virtually all property insurance policies include an appraisal provision to resolve disputes over the “amount of loss” for a covered claim. Historically, the phrase “amount of loss” was interpreted to limit appraisal to those...more

Court Grants Motion For Partial Judgment On The Pleadings In RESPA Class Action Regarding Private Mortgage Insurance

We have previously reported on a case styled Munoz v. PHH Corp., one of similar suits alleging putative class actions under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act arising from purported “sham” reinsurance transfers...more

Current Florida Sinkhole Statute Held to Apply Even Though Policy Used Prior Statute’s Formulation

Florida adopted a stringent, five-part definition of what constitutes a covered sinkhole loss in 2011, but many policies continue to employ the 2005 statutory formulation which merely defined “sinkhole loss” as “structural...more

RESPA Class Action Alleging “Captive Reinsurance Scheme” Allowed To Proceed

A Pennsylvania federal court recently denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action lawsuit in which homeowners claim violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 based on an alleged “captive...more

Illinois Case Law and Legislation Update

Effective January 1, 2015, Section 18.4 of the ICPA was amended to permit a condominium Board of Directors to adopt and amend its rules and regulations to allow for electronic delivery of notices and other communications...more

Texas' Progressive Claim Affliction Is Treatable

A case recently considered by Texas' Thirteenth Court of Appeals illustrates a fact pattern becoming all too familiar in Texas first-party property insurance claims. The story goes something like this....more

South Carolina: Admission of Cause & Origin Testimony by Fire Chief Was Prejudicial Error

In James D. Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 2014 WL 3844215, 2014 S.C. App. LEXIS 209 (S.C. App., Aug. 6, 2014), South Carolina’s Court of Appeals recently held that it was prejudicial error to allow the jury to...more

Class Action Alleging Mortgage Kickback Captive Reinsurance Survives Dismissal Pending Discovery On Tolling Of Limitations

A court denied dismissal of a putative class action involving claims against Suntrust Bank subsidiaries and a captive reinsurer for an alleged illegal kickback scheme arising out of captive reinsurance covering Suntrust’s...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: August 2014 #1

Trial court erred in granting lender’s motion to vacate an order dismissing its foreclosure complaint for lack of prosecution without first giving borrower an opportunity to be heard at an evidentiary hearing. – Arcila v. BAC...more

Vermont: There is No Cause of Action for Negligence in Adjusting a Property Loss

Last week, the Vermont Supreme Court firmly rejected the notion that an insured can bring a cognizable claim for negligence against his or her carrier in connection with the inspection and handling of a first-party property...more

City May Be Liable for Damage to Home Caused by Falling Tree in Inverse Condemnation and Nuisance

During a windstorm, a tree owned by the City of Pasadena fell on Mr. O’Halloran’s residence, causing damage to his home. Mercury Casualty Company paid Mr. O’Halloran for the damage pursuant to his homeowner’s insurance...more

If A Tree Falls In The City, Is It Serving A Public Purpose?

Today’s posting has nothing to do with corporate law and everything to do with trees. On November 30 and December 1, 2011, the City of Pasadena experienced an unusually violent windstorm. Wind speeds in excess of 100 miles...more

Louisiana Court Upholds Proof Of Loss Requirement Of Standard Flood Insurance Policy

n Villemarette v. FEMA et al., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113667 (E.D. La.), the court analyzed whether plaintiffs were entitled to unpaid proceeds of a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP). Plaintiffs’ policy had coverage...more

Appellate Court Notes

SC19089 - Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America v. Netherlands Ins. Co. - Travelers brought a declaratory judgment action, claiming that the Netherlands Insurance Company had to participate in the defense costs of...more

Judgment Against Insurer For Fire Loss Reversed Due To Admission Of Opinion Testimony Of Non-Expert Volunteer Fire Chief

The S.C. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a half million dollar verdict against a homeowner’s insurance company because the fire chief was allowed to testify regarding his opinion on causation. Fowler v. Nationwide...more

New Jersey Federal Court Examines Claim Dispute Under Standard Flood Insurance Policy

The court in Damiano v. Harleysville Ins. Co., Case No. 13-cv-07293-FLW-LHG, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97988 (D.N.J. July 17, 2014) recently addressed the scope of claims that can be asserted against property insurers issuing...more

District Court Figures Out What The Hail Is Going On

Seeing a significant increase in the number of hail damage lawsuits in her courtroom, it appears Judge Jane Boyle of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas has figured out "What the Hail is Going...more

Public Adjusters Do Not Have Free Pass To The Stand

In Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds, the Western District of Texas reminded litigants that licensed public adjusters are not immune from expert witness qualification requirements. Namely, a public adjuster’s license does not...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update

Eminent Domain/Deposit Funds: plaintiff’s right to interest on funds placed on deposit with Clerk during eminent domain proceedings pursuant to section 74.051, Florida Statutes (2007) needed to be resolved in initial takings...more

Sandy in the Courts

Hurricane Sandy (also known as Superstorm Sandy) struck the northeast coast of the United States in October 2012, causing an estimated $65 billion* in property damage, including wind damage, severe flooding and power outages....more

C.D. Cal. Dismisses False Claims Act Qui Tam Suit Against Group of Lenders

On July 15, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a relator real estate agent’s suit against a group of lenders the relator alleged submitted claims for FHA insurance benefits to HUD based...more

Defendants Granted Limitations-Based Summary Judgment In Captive Reinsurance Class Action

A putative class of mortgage consumers sued Flagstar Bank and its captive reinsurer alleging that they engaged in an illegal “kickback” scheme with private mortgage insurers, which scheme artificially inflated the price of...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update

Easements: trial court erred in denying statutory easement or “way of necessity” where owners established all elements pursuant to section 704.01(2), Fla. Stat. – Messer v. Sanders, No. 1D13-3084 (Fla. 1st DCA July 9, 2014)...more

Sixth Circuit Blurs Line Between Primary and Excess

The Sixth Circuit recently addressed the question of whether an excess insurer must provide a defense when the primary insurer fails to do so. In IMG Worldwide v. Westchester Fire Insurance Company, No. 3836 (6th Cir. July...more

Sixth Circuit Holds That Market Crash Cannot Be Considered in Determining ACV

In Whitehouse Condo. Group, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11708 (6th Cir. June 17, 2014), the insured condominium building located in Flint, Michigan was destroyed by a fire. The parties disagreed over the...more

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