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Decisions in Bankruptcy and Civil Matters Plus Suit Under Magnuson-Moss Act

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By FindLaw Staff on March 25, 2010 4:07 PM

In Miller v. Herman, No. 08-3093, the Seventh Circuit dealt with the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against a homebuilder under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act and state law in connection with defendant's installation of windows in plaintiff's newly constructed home causing personal and property damage due to water leaks.  In affirming the district court's dismissal of the Magnuson-Moss claims with modification, the court held that the claim is dismissed under Rule 56 as the determination that windows are not consumer products is properly understood as a merit-based rather than a jurisdictional determination.  Thus, dismissal of the state law claims and any cross claims and counterclaims are vacated and remanded for determination of whether supplemental jurisdiction is warranted for these claims.

In Ojeda v. Goldberg, No. 09-2008, the court faced a challenge to district court's reversal of the bankruptcy court's conclusion that the loan owed to the creditors was dischargeable and that even if it wasn't dischargeable, the amount excepted from the discharge was only the amount of unpaid interest and attorney fees.  In affirming the reversal of the bankruptcy court's judgment, the court held that the it was a clear err in finding that the creditor was unjustified in relying on debtor's continued asserted ownership of McDonald's restaurants and in finding that creditor did not establish a claim for fraudulently inducing forbearance.  Furthermore, the bankruptcy court committed an error of law in concluding that the only unpaid interest and attorney's fees were non-dischargeable.

W. Bend Mut. Ins. Co. v. U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co., No. 09-2519, involved an action for breach of contract arising from defendant's refusal to defend a mutual insured in a class action lawsuit alleging that the insured's gas station contaminated groundwater in a residential neighborhood.  Here, because the pollution exclusion to the defendant's policy was sufficiently explicit to exclude gasoline contamination from coverage, district court's judgment that the policy excluded this type of claim in granting summary judgment was correct.  Also, the district court did not err in holding that neither the excess liability coverage nor the products-completed operations hazard coverage contained in the supplemental defendant's umbrella policy provide grounds for the relief that plaintiff seeks. 

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