In HDI Global Specialty SE v. PF Holdings LLC, the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a district court ruling that the insurers of two apartment management companies did not have to cover a $54 million arbitration award against the companies for their alleged mismanagement of government-subsidized apartments. The Eleventh Circuit held that management companies’ failure to cooperate breached general liability insurance policies issued by the insurers.
Earlier this month, the Eighth Circuit remanded a COVID-19 insurance recovery case to the district court on jurisdictional grounds. See Great River Ent., LLC v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., No. 21-3815, 2023 WL 5839565 (8th Cir. Sept. 11, 2023). The Eighth Circuit’s decision underscores federal courts’ continued scrutiny of subject matter jurisdiction—especially in complex cases involving limited liability companies.
Continue Reading A Great River of LLC’s: The Eighth Circuit’s Take on Properly Assessing Diversity Jurisdiction
On August 21, 2023, Southern California was hit by its first tropical storm since 1997. The remnants of Hurricane Hilary brought record-breaking rainfall and knocked out power for thousands of Californians. This storm follows devastating wildfires in Maui, which killed over 110 people, and hot tub temperatures off the coast of Florida: the ocean reached 101 degrees (it should be just 74-88 degrees). The ocean’s record temperatures may strengthen the severity and prolong the season of this year’s hurricanes, which already plague Florida. According to an Accuweather meteorologist, the warm weathers are “just inviting a big system to hit the state again this year.” His prediction may prove true: Tropical Storm Idalia, expected to strengthen into a major hurricane, is scheduled to hit Tampa on Wednesday.…
A federal court recently denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s claim for declaratory relief. The insurer argued that the policyholder’s declaratory judgment claim was redundant of its breach of contract claim. The Court ruled that “redundancy is not grounds for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6).”
In The United Church of Marco Island, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Company , the policyholder, The United Church of Marco Island, Inc., fell victim to a $1.2 million fraud after a series of emails impersonating church officials and a Registered Financial Advisor who had a relationship with the Church resulted in the Church sending funds to an “illicit bank account.” The Church was able to recover $600,000 and sought coverage under its Commercial Crime Policy issued by Lexington Insurance Company for the remaining $600,000.
Continue Reading Insurer Can’t Dismiss Church’s Claim for Declaratory Relief
Whether an insurer has a right to reimburse defense costs after a finding that it has no duty to defend remains an open question in Georgia. However, in Continental Casualty Co., et al. v. Winder Laboratories, LLC, et al., Case No. 21-11758 (11th Cir. Jul. 13, 2023), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in with its prediction on the likely answer. Persuaded by the logic of other jurisdictions that, “wide-ranging reimbursement is necessarily inappropriate in a system—like Georgia’s—that is predicated on a broad duty to defend and a more limited duty to indemnify,” the Eleventh Circuit predicted that, “the Supreme Court of Georgia would follow that logic to adopt a ‘no recoupment’ rule to protect its insurance system.” …
The hurdles policyholders have faced with the appraisal process in Florida are far from over. In the past, many Florida courts have limited the scope for appraisal, strictly construing the policy provision against the policyholder. Yet, recently, in Positano Place at Naples I Condominium Association, Inc., et al. v. Empire Indemnity Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit dismissed an insurer’s appeal of the district court’s ruling compelling appraisal and a stay of a pending litigation. …
Continue Reading Not Our Territory: 11th Circuit Dismisses Hurricane Damage Appraisal Order for Lack of Jurisdiction
In a COVID-19 insurance coverage lawsuit that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. filed against several insurers in Nevada state court, two recent rulings in favor of Hilton highlight the importance of strategic decisions early in a case. …
Hunton commercial litigators and insurance recovery lawyers teamed up to address the intricacies of snap removal – a strategy being employed by insurers and other litigants with increasing frequency. The technique is designed to defeat the forum-defendant rule that permits a plaintiff to bring its case in state court when suing a defendant in the defendant’s own home state. However, some courts to confront this maneuver have rejected its use, disallowing a savvy defendant to effect an end-run on the forum-defendant rule by promptly removing a state court lawsuit before an in-state defendant is “properly joined and served.” A recent Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article written by Christopher Cunio, Nicholas Stelakis and Veronica Adams discusses the tension that is emerging on this issue and how courts have addressed it.
Continue Reading Oh Snap! Snap Removal is Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be
An amended version of the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act recently went into effect in New York State. This law applies to all civil lawsuits filed in New York State Court on or after December 31, 2021. The first disclosures required by the law will be due soon and it is important for defendants to be aware of their new obligations.
Continue Reading New York’s New Insurance Disclosure Law Goes Into Effect
Policyholders have scored another victory in the Delaware Superior Court, this time on the issue of whether a “mergers and acquisition” endorsement required payment of a higher retention in two securities class actions. In August, we reported that, in CVR Refining, LP v. XL Specialty Insurance Co., No. N21C-01-260 EMD CCLD, 2021 WL 3523925 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 11, 2021), a Delaware Superior Court judge upheld a policyholder’s preferred forum in Delaware, denying five insurers’ motion to dismiss or stay the Delaware coverage action filed after the insurers had filed suit preemptively in Texas.
Continue Reading Policyholder Prevails (Again) in Delaware D&O Retention Dispute