As 2021 draws to a close, we at HKR wanted to take this opportunity to review some of the important property insurance decisions from the past year. Below, in no particular order, is our list of the top 10 cases from this year, with a particular emphasis on our home state of Pennsylvania:
Oral Surgeons, P.C. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. (8th Cir. 2021) (in the first appellate decision on the issue, the 8th Circuit ruled that a commercial insurance policy did not provide coverage for the temporary loss of use of property during the COVID-19 pandemic). Multiple Circuit courts have followed since.
Sproull v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. (Ill. 2021) (the Illinois Supreme Court held that an insurer could not depreciate labor costs when calculating actual cash value).
Butler v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co. (S.C. 2021) (the South Carolina Supreme Court held that “embedded labor costs” may be depreciated when calculating actual cash value).
Bonbeck Parker, LLC v. Travelers Indem. Co. of Am. (10th Cir. 2021) (the 10th Circuit, applying Colorado law, held that appraisers can determine causation as part of the appraisal process).
Dianoia’s Eatery, LLC v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co. (3d Cir. 2021) (the 3rd Circuit reversed the district courts’ discretionary remand of COVID-19-related declaratory judgment actions).
Fuentes v. USAA Gen. Indemnity Co. (M.D. Pa. 2021) (“red flags” should prompt additional investigation and provide a defense to claims of so-called “bad faith,” i.e. a reasonable basis).
State Auto Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Sigismondi Foreign Car Specialists, Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2021) (the policyholder’s alteration of invoices were material misrepresentations and a violation of the Insurance Fraud Act).
Commonwealth v. Succi (Pa. Super. 2021) (appellate court, in reviewing jail time and sentencing, recognized the importance of punishing and deterring financial crimes, including insurance fraud).
United States v. Larry (M.D. Pa. 2021) (allowed use of 20 year old insurance fraud conviction to impeach a witness at trial, and describing prior convictions involving dishonesty or false statements as having “high value” for impeachment purposes).
Williams v. State Farm (E.D. Pa. 2021) (receipt of an assignment of benefits does not confer standing to pursue a claim under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute, absent a showing that the assignee is also an injured plaintiff and a judgment creditor).
If you would like a copy of any of the cases discussed above, please reach out to any member of HKR’s team.
Thank you for all of your support and Happy New Year!
This post was originally published through Horst Krekstein & Runyon’s Property in 60 Seconds Newsletter. If you would like to receive future copies of that newsletter, please contact Sean Dever at firstname.lastname@example.org.