Insurance Caselaw Roundup (11/14/08)

Insurance Caselaw Roundup (11/14/08)

The following is a list of recent insurance-related opinions issued in California:

Owner Who Could No Longer Work "Hands On" Held not "Totally Disabled" under Disability Policy to Perform Listed Duties of Buyer/Manager -- Hecht v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., 168 Cal. App. 4th 30; 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 1726 (2nd App. Dist. Div. 6 11/5/08): Based upon Erreca v West States Life Ins. Co., 19 Cal. 2d 388; 121 P.2d 689; 1942 Cal. LEXIS 373 (1942), the trial court ruled that there were no triable issues of fact that appellant was not "totally disabled" to handle duties listed as "buyer/manager/office operations" though plaintiff owner could no longer perform "hands on" work due to chronic pain and lessened strength. Court of Appeal reviewed de novo and affirmed the trial court's finding.

Return of Premium on Surrendered Bail Bond not Permitted Where Remand was by Trial Court -- Indian Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company v. Alexander, 167 Cal. App. 4th 1544, 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 1724 (2nd App. Dist. Div. 8 11/4/08) (holding that insurer and bail bond company was not required to refund premium for bail bond where criminal defendant was remanded to custody by trial court, not bail bond company, for out-of-state warrant).

Non-Arbitrable Question of Whether Claimant for UM Benefits is "Insured" Can Be Addressed by Court in Proceeding Initated by Petition to Compel Arbitration -- Bouton v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company 167 Cal. App. 4th 412; 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 1569 (4th App. Dist. Div. 1 10/7/08): Appellate court reversed trial court's denial of petition to compel Section 11580.2(f) arbitration of UM benefits. While trial court denied petition on ground that it sought arbitration of non-aribtrable question of petitioner's status as "insured," appellate court held that trial court could and should have determined this question and that petitioner need not have filed a separate declaratory relief action to ascertain ability to obtain UM benefits.

[Please note that this post does not constitute legal advice and provides only the author's own snapshot view of the cited opinion. No warranties are made as to the accuracy of the author's view of the opinion or as to its legal effect (including, but not limited to, whether it may be subsequently modified, depublished, and/or overruled). The import and applicability of a cited opinion to an actual matter depends upon the specific facts presented and should be reviewed by an attorney. ]

© Copyright 2008 by Steven H. Weinstein, Richard G. DelaMora and Spencer Y. Kook. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This blog originally appeared on The Cal Insurance Regulation Blog.