Washington Court of Appeals Holds That Statutory Bad Faith and Consumer Protection Claims May be Pursued Against Insurance Adjusters

In Keodalah v. Allstate Ins. Co., the Washington Court of Appeals reviewed an action against an insurer and an adjuster employed by the insurer for statutory insurance bad faith and violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, concerning the allegedly improper settlement of an underinsured motorist claim. The trial court dismissed the statutory bad faith and consumer protection act claims against the adjuster, on the grounds that such claims could not be pursued against employees of the insurer. The Court of Appeals began its analysis by noting that the Washington insurance bad faith statute imposes a duty of good faith
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Southern District of New York Precludes Coverage Under Insurer’s Professional Liability Policy for Settlement of Claim Arising Prior to Inception of Policy

In Colony Ins. Co. v. AIG Specialty Ins. Co., the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York considered a claim under a professional liability policy brought by Colony Insurance seeking reimbursement for extra-contractual damages paid on a “claims made” commercial general liability policy. The underlying claim concerned a construction defect lawsuit against a number of defendants, including a Colony insured. In September 2013, the underlying plaintiffs’ counsel sent a demand letter to Colony, stating that unless it paid its $2,000,000.00 policy limits as part of a global settlement, the underlying plaintiffs and the Colony insured would
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New Jersey Appellate Court Holds That Invasion of Privacy Claim Based Upon Surreptitious Recording is Not Conditioned Upon Existence of Recording

In Friedman v. Martinez, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, examined a lawsuit brought by over sixty women alleging that a janitor surreptitiously recorded them through hidden equipment placed in an office building restroom. The women brought suit against numerous defendants, including the janitor, building owner, and management company. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to dismiss the claims of thirty-five plaintiffs who did not appear in the approximately eight hours of recordings recovered by police during their investigation. The motion was granted, and the claims of these plaintiffs were dismissed. On appeal, the Appellate Division
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Clark & Fox Successfully Obtains Dismissal of Insurer in Bachir v. Lloyd’s of London, 2015-03060 (2d Dept. Jan. 24, 2018)

Affirming New York’s long-standing enforcement of insurance policy suit-limitation provisions, the Second Department upheld the dismissal of a group of Lloyd’s of London insurers from a lawsuit seeking payment for damages due to a fire loss at a Long Island restaurant. On January 13, 2008, a fire occurred at the Bayville Lobster House, a property insured by the London syndicates. The insured submitted a claim that was denied because the policy had been cancelled weeks prior to the fire due to late payment of the policy premium. In December 2010, the insured filed a Summons in the Supreme Court, Suffolk
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New York Federal Court Authorizes Deposit of Policy Proceeds in Interpleader Action Involving Priority of Liens

In Allstate Indem. Co. v. Collura, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York considered an interpleader action brought by a homeowners’ insurer. After determining the amount owed on a partial loss claim, the insurer learned that several parties were lienholders with potential entitlements to the insurance proceeds. The lienholders included the mortgagee, the bank to which the mortgage was assigned, the mortgage servicer, the United States government (which held tax liens), and a third party that asserted a claim against the policyholder. The insurer sought to deposit the actual cash value payment with the Court,
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New Jersey Appellate Court Holds That Additional Insured is Not Entitled to Coverage for Gross Negligence

In Moran-Alvardo v. Nevada Court Realty, LLC, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, addressed a liability insurance claim arising from a fall on snow in a shopping center parking lot. After the injured party filed an action against the shopping center owner and a tenant, the property owner filed a third-party indemnification action against the tenant and the tenant’s liability insurer. The trial court granted summary judgment in the tenant’s favor with regard to the indemnification claim, but granted summary judgment in the owner’s favor with regard to insurance coverage. Both decisions were reversed on appeal, as the
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New Jersey Supreme Court Holds That Anti-Assignment Clause Does Not Preclude Post-Loss Assignment of Claims

Consistent with numerous other jurisdictions, the New Jersey Supreme Court has held that insurance anti-assignment clauses do not preclude policyholders from assigning claims after a loss. In Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., the Court examined claims for the defense and indemnification of an environmental liability action. The plaintiff brought a declaratory judgment complaint against several insurers, contending that it was entitled to coverage as an affiliate of the named insured. While the declaratory judgment action was pending, the corporate successor-in-interest to the named insured executed an assignment of rights under the policy to the plaintiff. Citing
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New Jersey Superior Court Finds for Defendants in Slip-and-Fall Case Brought by Trespasser

In Negron v. Warriner’s Construction Co., Inc., the Law Division of the Superior Court of Cumberland County, NJ granted summary judgment to three defendants in a case concerning a slip and fall in a bank parking lot. The plaintiff fell while using the parking lot as a shortcut while walking from a store to his apartment. The plaintiff claimed that he fell on ice that was covered by a light coating of snow that had fallen within 30 minutes of the accident. The motion for summary judgment was filed by three of the four defendants, including the landowner, possessor of
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Florida Supreme Court Adopts Concurrent-Cause Doctrine

Resolving a split among lower-level appeals courts, the Florida Supreme Court has adopted the concurrent-cause doctrine, ruling that coverage exists under an all-risk property policy when multiple perils combined to create a loss and at least one of the perils is covered by the terms of the policy. Under the facts outlined in Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co., No. SC14-897 (Fla. Dec. 1, 2016), John Sebo purchased a Naples, Florida home in April 2005, when it was four years old. American Home Assurance Company AHAC) provided homeowners insurance as of the date of the purchase. The policy, which insured
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New Jersey Federal Court Declines to Dismiss ERISA Action Against Health Insurance Claims Administrators

In HUMC Opco, LLC v. United Benefit Fund, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey addressed motions to dismiss an ERISA action brought against a health insurer and insurance claims administrators. The action concerned medical bills in excess of $7 million, for medical care provided by a hospital over the course of nearly a year. According to the Complaint, the patient’s health insurer was obligated to pay over $789,000.00 for the medical care based upon the so-called “Medicare rate,” but instead paid less than $12,900.00. Following the patient’s death, his spouse assigned his right to benefits
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