Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith
MF&L’s Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Practice Group represents insurers on a nationwide basis in complex, high-exposure coverage and bad faith claims matters under a wide array of insurance coverages, including commercial property, builder’s risk, commercial auto, warehouse, jewelers block, general liability, environmental liability, and professional liability. MF&L has significant experience providing counsel to insurers concerning the proper handling and investigation of first-party property damage claims, including business interruption losses. The firm has litigated disputes over causation, fraud, failure to comply with post-loss obligations, exclusions, and the number of occurrences and allocation, among other complex issues. MF&L also has extensive experience in guiding insurers through the appraisal process. The firm has handled substantial property loss claims throughout the United States, including a number of claims related to major catastrophes like the events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Florida hurricanes, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Michael. MF&L has managed claims related to real property of virtually every scale ranging from homeowner’s claims to claims on substantial shopping malls, hotels, manufacturing facilities, and major sports venues under commercial property policies and builder’s risk policies. The firm has significant experience in overseeing property claims not associated with real property, such as cargo claims, warehouse claims, equipment claims, and jewelers block claims.
The firm also has considerable experience in handling coverage matters that arise out of construction defects, pollution and toxic torts, environmental contamination and pollution, intellectual property (“advertising injury” or “personal injury”), and products liability, which often involve significant exposure to a policyholder’s business.
Insurers need more than good coverage counsel when faced with claims of bad faith, which tend to be high exposure, complicated and hard fought. MF&L has extensive exposure in defending extracontractual, or bad faith, claims.
TRACK RECORD OF EXCELLENCE:
- ACE American Insurance Company v. The Wattles Company, 930 F.3d 1240 (11th Cir. 2019). MF&L prevailed on an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, reversing the district court’s decision that ordered ACE American Insurance Company to pay $1.1 million of a $2.6 million award that The Wattles Company won against ACE’s insured, Exide Technologies, for property damage to a warehouse used for Exide’s battery formation operations that were caused by the emission of sulfuric acid, ruling the policy’s tenants and neighbors liability provision did not apply.
- Ideal Diamond Corporation v. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, (N.D. Ga. 2019). MF&L convinced a Georgia federal court that the insured’s impossibility defense did not excuse the insured’s compliance with the off-premises travel coverage requirements and that those requirements did not violate public policy.
- Goldeagle Ventures, LLC v. Covington Specialty Ins. Co., 825 S.E.2d 881 (Ga. App. 2019). MF&L obtained an order from the Court of Appeals of Georgia affirming summary judgment to a commercial property insurer ruling that the lights in the building that the insured leased were not the insured’s business personal property, which was the only coverage purchased by the insured./li>
- Michael Borovsky Goldsmith LLC v. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, 359 F. Supp. 3d 306 (E.D.N.C. 2019). MF&L achieved summary judgment on behalf of a property insurer on claims arising from a denial of coverage for business interruption due to water damage and the presence of mold, which fell within the policy’s exclusion for “continuous or repeated seepage or leakage of water.”
- Villa Sonoma at Perimeter Summit Condominium Association, Inc. a/k/a Villa Sonoma Condominium Association, Inc., v. Landmark American Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-CV-3393-9, Superior Court of DeKalb County, Georgia (December 15, 2017). MF&L obtained the dismissal of the insured’s claims that a group insurance program issued by various insurers was illegal, finding no private cause of action was permitted and Georgia’s bad faith statute was the exclusive remedy.
- Art & More Construction, Inc. v. RSUI Group, Inc., et al., No. LC 102040, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles (April 14, 2017). MF&L convinced a California court to dismiss an insurer under a commercial property policy from a breach of contract and bad faith action because the policy was properly cancelled at the request of the premium finance company before the date of the loss.
- The American Insurance Company v. Willie Lee Horton, et al., No. 3:15-CV-00111-TCB, 2017 WL 3498705 (N.D. Ga. March 27, 2017). MF&L was successful in obtaining summary judgment for a purported uninsured motorist insurer under a farm policy for the death of an employee that occurred while he was driving a farm tractor on a public road, finding that the policy was not an automobile or motor vehicle liability insurance policy which required uninsured motorist coverage.
- Fuller v. Mercury Insurance Company. of Georgia, No. 1:13-CV-1914-TWT, 2017 WL 395693, (N.D. Ga. January 30, 2017). MF&L achieved summary judgment for a property insurer, finding the insured’s guilty plea to criminal charges of insurance fraud under Georgia’s First Offender Statute and North Carolina v. Alford conclusively established the fact of insurance fraud and precluded recovery under the policy.
- Haman, Inc. v. Chubb Custom Insurance Company, et al., No. 68-cv-2016-900146.00, Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama (July 5, 2016). MF&L convinced the court to refuse to compel appraisal because the insured failed to comply with its post-loss obligations, and subsequently, dismissed the lawsuit on that basis.
- Landmark American Insurance Company v. Gatchell, No. 2:11CV189-KS-MTP, 2015 WL 1806843 (S.D. Miss. April 21, 2015) (S.D. Miss. 2015).MF&L attained summary judgment for a commercial property insurer for a fire loss to an apartment building because the insured did not possess an insurable interest in the property at the time of the fire.
- RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc. v. ACE American Insurance Co., 841 F. Supp. 2d 1286 (N.D. Ga. 2011), aff’d, 446 Fed. Appx. 211 (11th Circuit 2011). MF&L successfully obtained the dismissal of a commercial liability insurer for claims of personal injury caused by inhalation of benzene vapors from gasoline based on policy’s absolute pollution exclusion.
- Aydin and Company v. Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, 426 Fed. Appx. 760 (11th Cir. 2011). MF&L achieved a victory in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals when the court affirmed the district court’s ruling granting Jewelers Mutual’s motion for summary judgment because the policy provides coverage for stock away from the insured’s premises only when the insured’s stock is in the custody of the insured, and the merchandise was not in the insured’s custody when it was placed in the airplane’s cargo hold during a flight.
- Northwest Packing Co. v. ACE American Insurance Co., 236 Fed. Appx. 574 (11th Cir. 2007). MF&L convinced the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the grant of summary judgment to the insurer for damages caused by rat infestation under a warehouseman’s legal liability insurance policy based upon an exclusion for damages caused by vermin.
- Uniondale Realty Associates v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co, et al., No. 585/06, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau (January 16, 2007). MF&L obtained summary judgment for an excess insurer under commercial property insurance policy for failure of the property’s under slab plumbing system due to the defective design and faulty workmanship exclusion.
- Gilbane Building Co. v. The Altman Company, 2005 Ohio 984 (Ohio App. 2005). MF&L prevailed in the Ohio Court of Appeals to affirm the grant of summary judgment to a builder’s risk insurer for damages from corrosion to equipment based on the policy’s exclusions for “rust and corrosion” and “faulty workmanship.”
- CNA International Reinsurance Co. v. CPB Enterprises, Inc., 982 F. Supp. 831 (S.D. Ala. 1997). MF&L achieved summary judgment for a commercial liability insurer as a result of allegations of sexual harassment asserted against the insured based upon the policy’s exclusion for sexual and/or physical abuse.
- Virginia Properties, Inc. v. The Home Insurance Company, et al., 74 F. 3d 1131 (11th Cir. 1996). MF&L secured a victory in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals when summary judgment to a commercial liability insurer that the cost to clean up chemical contamination at a wood treatment facility was not covered under the policies’ pollution exclusions was affirmed.
Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, Allied World Assurance Company, American International Group, Beazley Insurance Group, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, CNA, FCCI, Grange Mutual Casualty Company, Mercury Insurance Group, MetLife Auto & Home, RSUI Group, Inc., State Auto Insurance Companies, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Starr Adjustment Services, The Hartford