News & Analysis as of

Florida Court: Your Own Attorney is Simply Not a “Disinterested” Appraiser

As noted yesterday, last month saw an intermediate level appellate panel in Florida address whether the attorney for the policyholder could serve as that party’s appraiser. It was a case of first impression in the Sunshine...more

Construction Case Law Update - October 2014 #2

Disputes over a mediation agreement’s validity must be resolved prior to a court ruling on discovery requests regarding matters potentially settled by the agreement. A dispute arose after Jilco, Inc. (“Jilco”) subleased a...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

Texas Supreme Court Accepts a Concurrent Cause and Ordinance or Law Matter Involving Hurricane Ike

On October 3rd, the Texas Supreme Court granted a policyholder’s petition for review in a Hurricane Ike matter that potentially gives Texas’ highest court an opportunity to address several important insurance issues. They...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

Insurer’s Liability for Breach of Contract Is Not a Condition Precedent to Insured’s Bad Faith Claim

A Florida appeals court recently held in Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co. that an insured is not required to show that its insurer breached the insurance policy before it can bring a claim for bad faith. Although...more

NE Supreme Court Issues Insurer-Friendly Decision on the Applicability of the Pollution Exclusion

In interpreting the scope of the pollution exclusion, one question seems to appear in case after case — what exactly does the pollution exclusion exclude? In State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Dantzler, 289 Neb. 1 (2014),...more

Property Policy’s Pollution Exclusion Not Subject to Proximate Cause Analysis

An insured’s argument to broadly apply an exception to a pollution exclusion was recently rejected by the British Columbia Supreme Court in Whitworth Holdings Ltd. v. AXA Pacific Insurance Co., 2014 CarswellBC 2648, 2014 BCSC...more

Florida’s Fifth District Holds Method of Repair is within the Scope of Appraisal and a Party’s Attorney may not Serve as a...

In Florida Insurance Guaranty Assoc., v. Branco, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D2020a (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Sept. 19, 2014), the Fifth District affirmed in part and reversed in part a Hernando County trial court’s order...more

Alabama Supreme Court Clarifies (And Criticizes) Its Bad Faith Jurisprudence

In an opinion released for publication on August 14th, 2014, one year after issuance, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously held that the state has but one tort of bad faith, albeit with two separate methods of proof, and...more

Eastern District of Pennsylvania Denies Bad Faith Claim in Homeowner’s Policy Dispute

White v. Metro. Direct Prop. and Cas. Ins. Co., Civ. A. No. 13-434 (E.D. Pa. July 29, 2014) - Eastern District of Pennsylvania enters summary judgment for the insurer on statutory bad faith claim in coverage dispute...more

Texas Supreme Court Argument Preview (9/14)

13-0080, RSUI Indemnity Co. v. The Lynd Co. - The primary issue in this insurance coverage case is how the policy limits of an excess property insurance policy should be calculated. The policy at issue covers multiple...more

Pennsylvania Court Addresses What Is a Coverage Dispute for Appraisal Purposes

Last month, a Pennsylvania federal court rejected the notion that a dispute over whether an admittedly covered occurrence necessitated repair of certain discrete portions of the damaged structure was a coverage dispute,...more

Insurance Coverage for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Odile

Reports are coming in from Baja California about substantial damages from Hurricane Odile. As of September 15, 2014, the airport in Cabo San Lucas is closed, as are roads up and down the Baja peninsula. While there is no way...more

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal Holds “Wrongful Conduct” on Behalf of Insurer is Necessary Prerequisite to an Insured’s...

In Omega Insurance Co. v. Kathy Johnson, 2014 Fla. App. Lexis 13737 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Sept. 5, 2014), the Fifth District reversed a Marion County trial court’s grant of attorneys’ fees based upon Omega’s...more

Property Insurance Law 101 – A Primer from Texas

On the Fourth of July in 2011, a fire damaged a nightclub in Beaumont, Texas. The fire was not unusual, but the lawsuits it generated—O’Quinn v. General Star Indemnity Company, No. 1:13-CV-471 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 5, 2014), and...more

Connecticut Supreme Court addresses insurer standing to pursue DJ against another insurer, “known injury” exclusion, allocation...

In Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of America v. The Netherlands Ins. Co., the Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled on several significant insurance coverage issues, including whether an insurer has standing to pursue a...more

Florida: Coverage Determination, Not Breach of Contract, Permits Bad Faith Litigation

The risk of bad faith litigation continues to increase for insurance companies following a Florida court’s determination that an insurer’s confirmed liability for coverage and the scope of damages – but not breach of contract...more

The Napa Earthquake Reminds Us To Protect Insurance Rights in the Aftermath of Disaster

The August 24 earthquake in Napa Valley and the numerous after-shocks caused significant damage to businesses throughout the area. Although the overall financial impact directly attributed to damaged property at local...more

If Rainwater Lands Where it Doesn’t Belong, It’s Still “Surface Water” in the Eleventh Circuit

The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a decision of the Southern District of Georgia, finding an insured’s claim for water damage fell within an exclusion for loss or damage caused by “surface water.” In Williams v. State...more

Insurance Coverage for Businesses Affected by the Napa Earthquake

As the Napa Valley community begins the process of repairing damage and healing from injuries and losses related to the earthquake that struck on August 24, 2014, we extend our heartfelt wishes to those affected by the...more

Texas Limits Scope of Anti-Technicality Statute and Material Breach Doctrine in Vacancy Clause Case

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court handed down an opinion that involved two unique (and somewhat troublesome) creatures of state law – the so-called “anti-technicality” statute and the material breach doctrine – and in Greene...more

Florida Finds No Coverage For Property Damage Caused By Neighbor’s Corpse.

On August 20, 2014, the Florida Court of Appeals refused to reconsider its decision in Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 4D12-3410 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. April 23, 2014), that the insured breached the policy by not...more

Sixth Circuit Finds Excess Carrier Had Duty to Indemnify Insured for Property Damage Arising From Alleged Misrepresentations and...

In a decisively pro-policyholder decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in IMG Worldwide, Inc. v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., Nos. 13-3832, 13-3837 (6th Cir. July 15, 2014), the court...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

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