Insured Is Entitled To Return Of Collateral Funds From Insolvent Insurer, Panel Says

    HARRISBURG, Pa. - An insured is entitled to the return of any identified collateral funds or any portion thereof that remained in an insolvent insurer's accounts at the time the liquidator took possession of the assets, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled Aug. 27 (Tenco Excavating Inc. v. First Sealord Surety Inc. $(in Liquidation$(, No. 20 FSS 2012, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 343).

    Judge: Legal Basis For Insurer's Competition Law Claims Lacking

    SAN FRANCISCO - Rules governing bar members' conduct cannot form the basis of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims for unlawful conduct, and an insurer fails to tether the challenged conduct to any constitutional, statutory or regulatory provision for its unfair-prong claim, a federal judge held in dismissing the claims with prejudice on Aug. 26 (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Centex Homes, et al., Nos. 13-0088, 12-0371 & 11-3638, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121401).

    Louisiana Federal Judge Remands Breach Of Health Care Contract

    NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 26 remanded a breach of health care contract suit to state court, finding that the defendant did not show that the amount in controversy for removal to federal court had been met (Omega Hospital LLC v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, No. 13-4891, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12195).

    Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Request To Add Nonparties To Defects Insurance Dispute

    DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a general contractor's insurer's motion to extend the deadline for designation of nonparties at fault so that the insurer may name additional subcontractors and insurers as nonparties at fault to a construction defects coverage dispute (The Phoenix Insurance Co. and St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Trinity Universal Insurance Company of Kansas, et al., No. 12-01553, D. Colo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120931).

    Judge Approves Settlement Between Insurers, Insured For Defect Claim Dispute

    LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on Aug. 23 approved a $410,000 settlement between commercial general liability insurers and an additional insured regarding coverage for an underlying construction defect dispute (Big-D Construction Corp. v. Take It For Granite Too, et al., No. 11-00621, D. Nev.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121865).

    9th Circuit Seeks Briefing From Plant, Insurers On Contribution Rights

    SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 23 directed Chapter 11 debtor Plant Insulation Co. and insurance companies appealing Plant's confirmed plan of reorganization to provide additional briefing on the insurers' argument that the plan and its injunctions affect their contribution rights (In Re: Plant Insulation Company $(Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, et al., v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., Nos. 12-17466 and 12-17467, 9th Cir.$)).

    Ill. Federal Judge Dismisses Antitrust Claims Against Health Insurer, Hospital

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 26 dismissed antitrust claims brought by an outpatient surgery center against a health insurance company and a corporation owning multiple hospitals in Illinois, holding that the plaintiff failed to properly show a relevant market (Marion Healthcare v. Southern Illinois Healthcare, et al., No. 12-871, S.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120722).

    Federal Court Finds For Insurer In Suit Seeking Coverage For Trademark Dispute

    FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal court entered judgment in favor of a commercial general liability insurer on Aug. 27 in a dispute over coverage for an underlying trademark dispute (Power Corp. v. Amerisure Insurance Co., No. 2:12-cv-192-FtM-29DNF, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121077).

    Judge: Insurer Has No Duty To Satisfy Judgment Against Broker/Dealer Insured

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - An underlying $617,786.47 judgment against a broker/dealer insured did not arise out of "the rendering or failing to render professional services" and, therefore, is not covered under an insurance policy, a Minnesota senior federal judge ruled Aug. 26 (Jackson National Life Insurance Co. v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co., No. 12-1406, D. Minn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120858).

    Judge: Conspiracy Claim Is Sufficiently Alleged Against Insurance Broker, Insurer

    RALEIGH, N.C. - A consumer of a disability insurance policy sufficiently asserts a conspiracy claim against an insurance broker, insurer and policy seller, a North Carolina federal judge concluded Aug. 23, denying motions to dismiss (Mario Petruzzo v. HealthExtras Inc., et al., No. 12-113, E.D. N.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120202).

    Mississippi Federal Judge Declines To Remand Denial Of Benefits Suit

    JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a motion to remand a wrongful denial of health care benefits suit, saying a later-added defendant timely and properly removed the case to federal court (Silas Anderson v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, et al., No. 13-402, S.D. Miss.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121014).

    11th Circuit Affirms Reversal Of Denial Of Health Care Benefits

    ATLANTA - In an unpublished, per curiam opinion, a panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 affirmed judgment in favor of a plaintiff in a wrongful denial of benefits suit, agreeing that the plan excluded coverage for injuries received committing felonies and not misdemeanors (Cornelius B. Faison v. Donalsonville Hospital Inc., No. 12-15400, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17578).

    Connecticut Supreme Court: Insurance Broker Did Not Violate Unfair Trade Practices

    HARTFORD, Conn. - An insurance broker did not violate the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes Section 42-110a, et seq., and the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), General Statutes Section 38a-815, et seq., the Connecticut Supreme Court held Aug. 27, reversing a trial court's judgment on the basis that the court erred in relying on the broker's alleged fiduciary duty (State of Connecticut v. Acordia Inc., No. SC 18756, Conn. Sup.; 2013 Conn. LEXIS 294).

    Judge: Insurer Has No Duty To Reimburse Utah Insurance Guaranty Association

    SALT LAKE CITY - An insurer has no duty to reimburse the Utah Property & Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (UPC) for the amount it had a statutory obligation to pay on an additional insured's behalf toward an underlying settlement because the policy issued to the insured contractor does not cover claims arising from defective work, a Utah federal judge ruled Aug. 23 (Utah Property & Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, No. 12-00224, D. Utah; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120299).

    Insurer Fulfilled Duties, Judge Finds, Dismisses It From Foreclosure Dispute

    RENO, Nev. - Finding it undisputed that an insurer fulfilled its obligations under a mortgage protection life insurance policy, a Nevada federal judge on Aug. 22 granted the insurer's motion to dismiss breach of contract, bad faith and other claims against it related to the foreclosure of the insured's property (Linda Downs v. River City Group LLC, No. 3:11-cv-00885, D. Nev.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119508).

    N.Y. Justice Consolidates Balance Billing Disputes, Dismisses 1 Defendant

    NEW YORK - A New York justice on Aug. 21 consolidated two disputes related to balance billing and health care reimbursements into one action, moved the location of the consolidated suit and dismissed one of the defendants (Aetna Health Inc., et al. v. Shuriz Hishmeh, M.D., et al., No. 653477/12, N.Y. Sup.; New York Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3702).

    Arizona Federal Judge Declines To Dismiss Health Care Denial Of Benefits Case

    PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 22 denied a health insurance company's motion to dismiss a wrongful denial of benefits suit, saying the court had personal jurisdiction over the case (Jason Brown v. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, et al., No. 13-990, D. Ariz.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119457).

    Majority Reverses Dismissal Of Cleveland Indians' Negligence Claims Against Broker

    CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 23 held that a lower court erred when it found that an insurance broker could not be liable in negligence for failing to obtain insurance that would cover an underlying accident that occurred at an event held at a professional baseball game, reversing the lower court's ruling in favor of the broker but affirming its ruling in favor of the insurer (Cleveland Indians Baseball Co. v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1589, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17629).

    Judge Finds Insured's Bad Faith Complaint Ample, Not Threadbare

    TAMPA, Fla. - Citing recent precedent from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 21 found that under the "totality of the circumstances standard," an insured who was exposed to an excess liability judgment in an underlying judgment has sufficiently pleaded bad faith claims against his auto insurer, denying the insurer's dismissal motion (Kenneth E. Hayas v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 8:13-cv-01432, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118696).

    Health Plan Administrator Granted Summary Judgment In Payment Dispute

    NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished decision, a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 21 granted summary judgment in favor of a health plan administrator in a reimbursement suit, saying the claims at issue were properly processed (Montvale Surgical Center v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, et al., No. 12-2378, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119630).

    Delaware Court Hears Arguments Over Appointment Of Receiver For Dissolved Company

    WILMINGTON, Del. - The Delaware Supreme Court on Aug. 21 heard oral arguments on whether a judge erred by not appointing a receiver to handle the undistributed insurance proceeds of a dissolved corporation based on asbestos plaintiffs' inability to prevail in actions against it (Anderson v. Krafft-Murphy Co., No. 85,2013, Del. Sup.).

    Insurer Liable For Costs To Find Property Damage, Remediate, Texas High Court Says

    AUSTIN, Texas - A commercial umbrella insurer is responsible for costs incurred to determine property damage as well as to repair it and costs to remediate the damage that began before and continued after the policy period, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Aug. 23, reversing an appeals court's judgment and reinstating a trial court's judgment (Lennar Corp., et al. v. Markel American Insurance Co., No. 11-0394, Texas Sup.; 2013 Tex. LEXIS 597).

    Applying California Law, Judge Denies Dismissal Of Bad Faith Counterclaim

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 22 determined that California law governed a dispute over coverage for a Florida personal injury and, thus, bad faith is a viable counterclaim, denying an insurer's motion to dismiss (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Festival Fun Parks LLC, et al., No. 0:12-cv-62212, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119440).

    Panel: Court Did Not Err In Relying On Testimony Of Insurer's Expert Witness

    NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana appeals panel on Aug. 21 found that a lower court did not err in relying on an expert witness' opinion that an insured's structural damage was caused by soil subsidence and not wind, affirming the lower court's ruling in favor of the homeowners insurer in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute (James And Rebecca Wallace, et al. v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, et al., No. 2013-CA-0075, La. App., 4th Cir.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 1697).

    Judge Finds Lifting Stay Would Interfere With London Arbitration

    NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 21 denied an insurer's request to lift the stay of a case so it could distribute the proceeds from the sale of a vessel, finding that lifting the stay would interfere with an arbitration pending in London (Mosaic Underwriting Service Inc., et al. v. Moncla Marine Operations LLC, et al., No. 12-2183, E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118784).