Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

by
After two boys drowned at a pool party sponsored by the FCA, the boys' survivors filed suit against the FCA in state court, alleging negligence and loss of consortium. The FCA then filed this declaratory judgment and breach of contract action against its insurers in federal district court seeking a "judicial determination as to whether Iowa Claims constitute one or two occurrences" under its commercial general liability insurance policy. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the primary insurer, holding that there existed only one occurrence. View "Fellowship of Christian Athletes v. Ironshore Specialty Ins." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff sought coverage from Farm Bureau for flood damage to her home but failed to submit the one-page proof of loss form required by the federal standard flood insurance policy. The court concluded that plaintiff's failure to complete and submit the form precluded coverage as a matter of federal statutory, regulatory, and common law. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Farm Bureau. The court declined to tax Farm Bureau's costs against plaintiff. View "Stoner v. Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Ins." on Justia Law

by
After the denial of his flood insurance claim, plaintiff filed suit against Farm Bureau alleging a state bad faith claim and federal breach of contract. The court held that the district court committed reversible legal error by excusing plaintiff from complying with the standard flood insurance policy's (SFIP) proof of loss requirement. Even if Farm Bureau wished to waive the proof of loss, FEMA has not authorized waiver in this case. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of Farm Bureau. View "McCarty v. Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Ins. Co." on Justia Law

by
United Fire sought a declaratory judgment that an insurance policy it issued to Rose did not provide coverage to Wayne Rockett, a supervisory level employee of Rose. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to United Fire, concluding that the term "directors" in the insurance policy unambiguously provided coverage only to Rose's actual board of directors and not to employees such as Rockett. View "United Fire & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Thompson" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Annett, alleging that the company acted in bad faith when it failed to provide medical care and refused to pay him healing-period benefits. Annett counter-claimed for fraud. The court concluded that the district court correctly ruled that plaintiff was required to exhaust his claim with the commissioner; under Iowa law, Annett had a reasonable basis to believe that it could request plaintiff to undergo an examination by the company's chosen physician and plaintiff's refusal to submit to the examination made the propriety of the company's denial of healing-period benefits at least fairly debatable; therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment for Annett on plaintiff's bad-faith failure to pay benefits claim; and, under either Iowa law or federal law, Annett was judicially estopped from proceeding against plaintiff because Annett had admitted liability in plaintiff's alternate care petition. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. Annett's motion to strike portions of plaintiff's supplemental appendix was denied as moot. View "Spencer v. Annett Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Defendant appealed the district court's grant of Allstate's motion for summary judgment and denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment, concluding that defendant's son-in-law was not an insured person under an umbrella insurance policy. Because the plain language of the Allstate umbrella policy provided XL coverage only for the legal obligation of insured persons, and the son-in-law was not an insured person under the umbrella policy, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Allstate Indemnity Co. v. Rice" on Justia Law

by
United filed a declaratory judgment action against Titan, seeking a declaration that United did not owe a duty to defend or indemnify Titan against a pending state-court lawsuit because the policy's absolute pollution exclusion barred coverage for the claims raised in the lawsuit. Titan counter-claimed for relief. The district court granted Titan's motion and denied United's, entering a judgment declaring that United owed a duty to defend and indemnify Titan against the state-court lawsuit. The court concluded that an ordinary person of average understanding purchasing the policy would consider TIAH, an acrylic concrete sealant, to fall unambiguously within the policy's definition of "pollutant." Because the district court premised its denial of United's motion for summary judgment exclusively on the erroneous conclusion that TIAH does not constitute a pollutant, the court vacated the district court's order. The court declined to direct the entry of summary judgment in favor of United. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "United Fire & Casualty Co. v. Titan Contractors Service, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, through his guardian, sought to recover from an insurance policy of ACE. Plaintiff is developmentally disabled and requires a personal care assistant. Plaintiff, while supervised by an assistant, was blinded in one eye by a BB gun given to him by the assistant. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to ACE, finding that plaintiff's claim was excluded from the policy's general-liability coverage. Plaintiff argued that his injury was within the general-liability coverage because he was not a "patient" within the meaning of the patient exclusion in the policy. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court, concluding that the district court correctly found that the term "patient" was unambiguous. View "Volk v. Ace American Ins. Co." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against National Life and Penn Mutual after both companies denied his claims for disability benefits under insurance policies they had issued to him. Plaintiff was unable to practice chiropractic because his license was suspended. The court concluded that an incapacity arising from license suspension was not a sickness or injury that qualified as total disability under the policies. Once plaintiff lost his chiropractic license, the practice of chiropractic no longer was an occupation from which he could become disabled by virtue of sickness. That a sickness or illness might have prevented plaintiff from reestablishing a practice of chiropractic did not qualify him for disability benefits because the sickness did not render him unable to perform an occupation under the terms of the policies. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to National Life and Penn Mutual and denied plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. View "Cich v. National Life Ins. Co., et al," on Justia Law

by
Continental appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiffs. The district court determined that plaintiffs' had made more than one claim against their former financial advisor. The financial advisor was insured by Continental under a professional liability insurance policy. Therefore, the district court held that the insurance policy's coverage limit for a single claim did not apply and that plaintiffs' claims triggered the insurance policy's aggregate coverage limit. The court concluded that, although the financial advisor made different alleged misstatements, omissions, and promises on different dates to each plaintiff, there nonetheless existed a logical connection between her wrongful acts. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded to the district court for entry of judgment in favor of Continental. View "Kilcher, et al. v. Continental Casualty Co." on Justia Law