Homeowner's Insurance

News & Analysis as of

Construction Case Law Update - March 2015 #2

Sinkholes; “Structural Damage” – When undefined in a homeowner’s insurance policy, “structural damage” caused by a sinkhole is best defined as “damage that impairs the structural integrity of the building.” Homeowners argued...more

Insurance Payout Goes Up In Smoke: Sixth Circuit Finds Manufacturing Marijuana Changes Use Of A Residence.

In Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. McDermott, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3012 (6th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015), a homeowner’s claim for a total fire loss was denied based on the policy’s “change of use” endorsement. On January 13,...more

Court Finds Potential for Personal Umbrella Coverage of Sexual Assault Not Covered by Underlying Homeowners Policy

In Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange (No. H039368, filed 2/5/15), a California appeals court ruled that a personal umbrella policy's broader coverage gave rise to a duty to defend sexual molestation allegations that were...more

Sixth Circuit: Growing Marijuana is Not the Same as Buying a Houseplant or Entertaining Visitors

Half of the states in this country have now legalized marijuana for medical use, and that has led to a number of small-scale growing operations in policyholders’ homes.  While not nearly as dangerous as cooking meth on the...more

Florida’s Fifth District Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer, Finding that “Vandalism” and “Malicious Mischief” include “Arson”

In Botee v. Southern Fid. Ins. Co., 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1566 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Feb. 6, 2015), the Fifth District affirmed an Orange County trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Botee...more

District Court Strikes Homeowners Policyholders’ Class Action Allegations

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted defendant State Auto’s motion to strike plaintiffs’ class allegations, holding that the complaint itself demonstrated that the proposed class was not...more

Southern District of Ohio Strikes Policyholders Class From Suit Against State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company

In Schumacher v. State Auto. Mut. Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-00232, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11857 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 2, 2015), the Southern District of Ohio struck class allegations from a putative class action alleging breach of the...more

Florida Insurance Law: 2014 Year in Review

This past year brought a number of important insurance decisions in Florida, some favorable to insurers and others that reaffirm the challenges for insurers litigating in Florida. For example, after a broad statutory...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Formally Adopts “Gist of the Action” Doctrine

Pennsylvania’s “gist of the action” doctrine prohibits plaintiffs from pursuing tort claims for what are, in actuality, breach of contract claims. A variety of defendants, including those in the financial services industry,...more

Gist of the Action Doctrine May Not Bar Tort Claims Arising from Negligent Performance of Contractual Duties

On December 15, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court broke its long silence on the gist of the action doctrine when it issued its decision in Bruno v. Erie Insurance Co. The gist of the action doctrine precludes a plaintiff...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Weeks Ending November 28 & December 5, 2014

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - Contract Interpretation: trial court erred by interpreting declaration in way that rendered provisions meaningless – Bethany Trace Owners’ Association, Inc. v Whispering Lakes I, LLC, et al., No....more

Seventh Circuit Declines to Issue Bright-Line Rule Regarding Trigger in First-Party Property Cases

The Seventh Circuit addressed Strauss v. Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. 21794 (7th Cir. November 18, 2014) on an appeal from the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Strausses constructed a home in Mequon, Wisconsin in...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - November 2014

In This Issue: - Southern District of California Denies Motion to Dismiss Bad Faith Claim in Homeowners Policy Dispute - Northern District of Indiana: No Bad Faith Where Insurer Has a Rational Basis for its...more

Keeping Pace With Texas Hail Claim 'Case-Runners'

Texas insurance carrier clients writing significant property insurance business in Texas all confirm a disturbing trend. Historically, Texas insurers have seen less than 2 percent of their property insurance claims result in...more

Northern District of Indiana: No Bad Faith Where Insurer Has a Rational Basis for its Coverage Position

Thorne v. Member Select Ins. Co., No. 2:09 CV 87, 2014 WL 4700873 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 22, 2014). The Northern District of Indiana denies an insured’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s entry of summary judgment in...more

Texas Supreme Court Denies Policyholder’s Discovery Regarding Claims Handling

It is rare to see a state’s highest court address a discovery issue. But the Supreme Court of Texas did just that recently in In re National Lloyds Insurance Co., holding that a policyholder’s demands for discovery about how...more

Is That Covered? Hail Damage

Back in May, 2014, parts of Berks and Lancaster counties were hit with a freak hail storm. With hail as large as tennis balls reported, homes and cars suffered significant damage. Hail damage is generally covered under auto...more

Southern District of California Denies Motion to Dismiss Bad Faith Claim in Homeowners Policy Dispute

Eastman v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 14cv0703, 2014 WL 5355036 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 20, 2014) - Southern District of California denies motion to dismiss bad faith claim in connection with coverage dispute under homeowners...more

Fifth Circuit Reaffirms the Importance of a Reasonable Claim Investigation Prior to Denial

In Santacruz v. Allstate Texas Lloyds, Inc., 2014 WL 5870429 (Nov. 13, 2014), the 5th Circuit allowed a policyholder to pursue a claim for common law and statutory bad faith even though the policyholder repaired the alleged...more

Construction Case Law Update - October 2014 #3

Insurance, Sinkhole litigation -- Neither “Concealment or Fraud” nor “Duties After Loss” provision in homeowner’s insurance policy required insured to provide insurer with expert’s sinkhole damage analysis solicited by...more

Report From Counsel: Insights and Developments in the Law - Fall 2014

In this Report: - Homeowners’ Insurance: The Devil Resides in the Details - “Cybersmear” Lawsuits - Age Discrimination in Employment - The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Weeks Ending October 10 & October 17, 2014

REAL PROPERTY CASES - - Sinkhole Loss/Statute of Limitations: homeowners’ lawsuit was barred by the one-year statute of limitations, even though lawsuit was filed promptly after FIGA processed the claim and made a...more

My Advice? Pay Me!

Shopping for insurance can raise hard questions: How much coverage do I need? What types of risk should be covered? What must I do to get the maximum benefits allowed? Policyholders who get the wrong answers often end up...more

Tennessee Legislature Passes Legislation Changing Requirements for Coverage of Sinkhole Losses

The Tennessee Legislature recently reformed the law of sinkhole coverage and sinkhole losses in the State of Tennessee with legislation which became effective July 1, 2014. Under the prior Tennessee law, every insurer...more

Homeowners’ Insurance: The Devil Resides In The Details

Reading and understanding all of the language in a homeowners’ insurance policy are not formalities to be skipped over while searching for the signature line. As with any contract, the fine print can have real and lasting...more

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