SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A licensed insurance broker with a controlling interest in a company that served as a managing agent to an insurer did not have a fiduciary duty to the insurer, a California federal judge ruled March 11, denying summary judgment to the insurer on its breach of fiduciary duty claim (Universal Casualty Co. v. Fred C. Godinez III, et al., No. 11-00934, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32184).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify insureds against an underlying construction defect lawsuit because they failed to give timely notice of the lawsuit, an Alabama federal judge held March 13 (Pennsylvania Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Watts Builders LLC, et al., No. 12-994, M.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32392).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals court panel on March 11 reversed a lower court decision in an asbestos-related reinsurance dispute and remanded the question of timeliness of certain claims to the lower court (In re ROM Reinsurance Management Company, Inc., et al. v. Continental Insurance Company, Inc., as successor to Harbor Insurance Company, No. 11809, 654480/12, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1509).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on March 12 awarded attorney fees of $7,693.85 to the special deputy receiver (SDR) of three insolvent insurers in a lawsuit alleging a fraudulent scheme that left the insurers insolvent (Jo Ann Howard & Associates P.C., et al. v. J. Douglas Cassity, et al., No. 09-01252, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31801).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on March 11 ordered a reinsurer that is not authorized to do business in Connecticut to post pre-pleading security or said its answer will be stricken (Travelers Indemnity Company v. Excalibur Reinsurance Corporation, No. 11-cv-01209, D. Conn.).
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A federal judge in Iowa on March 10 granted certain of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s discovery requests in a suit Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. brought seeking a determination that it was not required to cover a suit the FDIC filed against the former officers and directors of the failed Vantus Bank (Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., et al., No.12-4041, N.D. Iowa; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30354).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A determination of an insurer's duty to defend is premature until the nature of the damages to a dental facility from flooding due to construction error are determined, an Alabama federal judge ruled March 12, dismissing the insurer's coverage lawsuit (Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Baldone Family Dentistry P.C., et al., No. 13-2338, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31815).
WAUKESHA, Wisc. - An insurer that issued a contractors pollution liability policy to its insured does not have a duty to defend or indemnify the insured for underlying property damage and bodily injury claims caused by a natural gas line explosion because the underlying suits allege damages caused by the explosion and fire and not by contact with the natural gas, the Second District Wisconsin Court of Appeals said March 12 (Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Co. v. Chartis Specialty Insurance Co., No. 2013AP1303, Wis. App., Dist. 2; 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 201).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A pollution cleanup provision in an insured's policy provides coverage for the removal of debris defined as a pollutant, an Ohio federal judge said March 12 in finding that the insured's interpretation of the provision was reasonable (Howard Industries Inc. v. Ace American Insurance Co. et al., No. 13-0677, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31949).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against underlying claims that it misappropriated trade secrets to create and sell lighting fixtures that mimicked the appearance of those sold by the underlying claimant (Bridge Metal Industries LLC, et al. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 11-4228, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4463).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appeals panel on March 12 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a professional liability insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insureds against underlying claims arising from their performance as the guardian of an elderly man (Personal Resource Management Inc., et al. v. Evanston Insurance Co., No. 84A01-1304-PL-157, Ind. App.; 2014 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 336).
TULSA, Okla. - Having found that excess insurers do not have a duty to "drop down" in place of an insolvent primary insurer and defend or indemnify an insured in an underlying asbestos lawsuit, an Oklahoma federal judge on March 12 dismissed the lawsuit for a lack of justiciable controversy (Canal Insurance Co. v. Montello Inc., et al., No. 10-411, N.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31828).
SPOKANE, Wash. - A receiver for an insolvent insurer acted lawfully in denying the claim of a trustee of the estate of the bankrupt insurance services company, as assignee of claims from an insolvent management company that the insolvent insurer owes $4.3 million, a Washington appeals panel affirmed March 10 (Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner v. Cascade National Insurance Co. and James S. Feltman, Chapter 11 trustee for the estate of Certified HR Services Inc., No. 71063-0-1, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 551).
HOUSTON - A Texas appeals court on March 11 upheld a ruling that ATM operator Cardtronics Inc. suffered a covered loss under its insurance policy with Lloyd's of London when an armored truck company stole $16 million (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London subscribing to policy number: FINFR0901509 v. Cardtronics Inc., No. 13-0165, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 2678).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House on March 11 passed a trio of bills seeking to grant additional religious exemptions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s individual mandate and excluding military personnel and emergency services volunteers from the law's individual and employer mandates.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The federal government on March 7 responded to a letter filed in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals by plaintiffs in a case challenging an Internal Revenue Service regulation imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that extends eligibility for premium assistance subsidies to people who purchase health insurance through exchanges established by the ACA. The plaintiffs' letter addresses a bulletin issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) discussing the tax credits available for individuals who purchase health care coverage through exchanges (Jacqueline Halbig, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 14-5018, D.C. Cir.).
MIAMI - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides a simple opt-out procedure for employers with religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, and those with such objections should not be permitted to bar insurers from complying with the law, the government told a Florida federal judge in a March 10 motion to dismiss (Ave Maria School of Law v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-795, M.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS - Finding that insureds failed to submit the required sworn proof of loss (POL) for their Hurricane Isaac claim, a Louisiana federal judge granted the federal flood insurer's motion for summary judgment on March 10 and dismissed bad faith and negligence claims against the insurer (Karon Morin, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, et al., No. 13-5972, E.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31341).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 10 dismissed an insured's coverage action against its insurer regarding the insurer's duty to defend an underlying construction defect case, saying that the case was settled on behalf of another insurer (Summit Contractors Inc. v. Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-295, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31422).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An insurer told a federal court in Delaware on March 10 that a group of reinsurers' claims against it should be dismissed because, among other reasons, they are barred by the language of the reinsurance contract (Tawa PLC, et al. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, No. 13-cv-01427, D. Del.).
CHICAGO - Indiana law does not require an insurer to disclose at the time a policy is procured that it may use in-house counsel to represent the insured in a third-party lawsuit, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found March 11, affirming dismissal of an insured's putative class action for bad faith, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment against her auto insurer (Cindy Golden v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 12-3901, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4531).
RICHMOND, Va. - Determining that a West Virginia woman's claims against her insurer sounded in tort and were governed by West Virginia law, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 10 reversed a lower court's dismissal of the insured's claims related to her husband's life insurance policies brought under the West Virginia Unfair Trade Practices Act (WVUTPA) (Audrey Dianne Kenney v. The Independent Order of Foresters, No. 13-1788, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4402).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A Mississippi couple on March 7 filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that they are wrongfully being held responsible for more than $50,000 in medical claims after the company responsible for making premium payments for their Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) provided for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed to make the payments (Thomas and Wanda Carruth v. The Outsource Group, et al., No. 14-33, S.D. Miss.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Religious groups demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success in their Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate, an Oklahoma federal judge held March 10 (Reaching Souls International Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-1092, W.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30497).
FORT SMITH, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on March 10 dismissed a subrogation dispute, saying the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Medicare Act before filing the suit (Darrell Richard Cupp v. Dane F. Johns, et al., No. 14-2016, W.D. Ark.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30537).