North Carolina Federal Judge Denies Third-Party Insurers' Motion To Stay Discovery

WILMINGTON, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 8 denied a motion to stay discovery filed by third-party insurers in an environmental contamination coverage case on the basis that a stay could create case management problems for the court and the other parties to the suit (Federal Insurance...

Radiologist's Peer Review Expert Wrongly Barred From Fraud Case, 11th Circuit Says

ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 16 reversed a radiologist's conviction for fraud because the trial court erroneously excluded expert peer review testimony that indicated that the doctor performed the work for which he billed (United States of America v. Rajashakher P...

3rd Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Dispute Against Health Insurer; Analysis Wrong

PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 16 reversed a putative class action reimbursement dispute against a health insurer, saying the lower court improperly relied on the defendant's competing account of events when dismissing the claim (TRi3 Enterprises v. Aetna Inc....

Indiana Panel: Third-Party Claims, Reserve Info Is Discoverable In Bad Faith Case

INDIANAPOLIS - Information on similar hail damage claims made by other insureds is relevant to a property owner's bad faith and breach of contract claims against its insurer, an Indiana Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 15, upholding a lower court's order to compel, while stating that the information...

No Coverage Owed For Collapse, Rot Of Building, Washington Appeals Panel Says

SEATTLE - Because an insured failed to prove that its experts' methods for determining the cause of a collapse were based on a theory "generally accepted in the scientific community," a trial court did not err in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment, the Division I Washington...

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...

N.J. Appeals Panel Permits Questions Over Insured's Knowledge Of Settlement Offers

TRENTON, N.J. - In pursuing a bad faith claim against an insurer, a claimant "implicitly waived" any privilege in communications regarding her knowledge of settlement offers and demands, a New Jersey appeals panel ruled Aug. 26, holding that the insurer has a "need" to discover this...

Panel Certifies Questions To Texas High Court Regarding Additional Insured Status

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 withdrew its opinion regarding the additional insured status of BP Exploration & Production Inc. and its related entities under policies issued to Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and certified questions to the Texas Supreme...

Puerto Rico Federal Judge Retains Jurisdiction In Dentists' Reimbursement Suit

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Puerto Rico federal judge on Sept. 6 held that federal jurisdiction remains in a reimbursement suit brought by dentists and their employers against multiple health insurers following the denial of class certification under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (College of Dental...

Judge Awards $13M Under ERISA To Beneficiaries Who Received Benefits Through RAA

PORTLAND, Maine - A federal judge in Maine on Sept. 11 awarded more than $13 million in damages and prejudgment interest to a class of life insurance beneficiaries who received benefits through retained asset accounts (RAAs) on their claims that Unum Life Insurance Company of America breached its fiduciary...

Federal Judge Declines To Dismiss Fraudulent Advertising Of Health Policy Claim

MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on Sept. 20 declined to dismiss a complaint alleging that a health insurer and companies hired to advertise its policies on television committed fraud and bad faith in their advertising practices, allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint and declined to...

If Methods Are Reliable, Jury, Not Judge, Approves Data Choice, 7th Circuit Says

CHICAGO - A plaintiff's expert who used a reliable and accepted methodology for calculating business interruption damages cannot be excluded because of his choice of data to input, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 16 (Manpower, Inc. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania...

Pending Claims Files Do Not Have To Be Produced,Federal Magistrate Judge Says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An insurer is not required to produce pending claims files related to pollution liability and environmental contamination coverage until after those claims are decided, a Florida federal magistrate judge said Nov. 1 (First Coast Energy LLP v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 12-281...

Judge Finds Letter Could Lead Insurer To Reasonably Anticipate Litigation

HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Nov. 12 held that an insurance company's claim notes created after it received a letter from a customer's client asking the company to fund a settlement that would exceed the limits of a policy the plaintiff company had with the client were sufficient for...

Judge Precludes Testimony Of Bad Faith Expert, Citing Jury's Fact-Finding Duty

SCRANTON, Pa. - Noting that a determination of whether an insurer acted in bad faith does not involve "delving into matters that are scientific in nature," a Pennsylvania federal judge on Nov. 15 granted the insurer's motion to preclude testimony of the plaintiff's bad faith expert...

Panel: Professional Services Exclusion Bars Coverage For Claims Against Broker

NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 21 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that underlying claims against a securities broker-dealer insured and its president are precluded from coverage by a professional services exclusion in a directors and officers and private company...

Majority: Labor Costs May Not Be Depreciated When Deciding Actual Cash Value

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In answer to a certified question from a federal district court, a majority of the Arkansas Supreme Court held Nov. 21 that the costs of labor may not be depreciated when determining the actual cash value under an indemnity insurance policy (Mark Adams, et al. v. Cameron Mutual Insurance...

Magistrate Judge Finds Deletion Of Emails Warrants Adverse Inference

NEW ORLEANS - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana presiding over a trademark infringement lawsuit on Nov. 22 ruled that a third-party defendant's deletion of a folder containing 39 emails warranted the imposition of an adverse inference jury instruction but that its CEO's destruction of an...

New Jersey Appellate Panel Halts Discovery Of Stayed Bad Faith Claim

TRENTON, N.J. - A trial court judge erred in permitting simultaneous discovery on an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim and a stayed insurance bad faith claim, a New Jersey appellate panel ruled Nov. 21, citing concerns over unnecessary expenditures of time and money, as well as possible prejudice to...

Judge Refuses To Certify Class Over Force-Placed Hazard, Flood Insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Dec. 11 refused to certify a class for nationwide borrowers and subclasses for California and New York consumers over SunTrust Mortgage Inc.'s purchase of force-placed hazard and flood insurance policies, finding that calculating the replacement...

11th Circuit Affirms Document Discovery Ruling For Ecuador

ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 18 affirmed a decision requiring an expert to produce certain documents for use in foreign proceedings, finding that the materials did not contain any core opinion work product of Chevron Corp.'s attorneys (Republic of Ecuador, et al. v. Chevron...

9th Circuit Vacates Injunctions In Medicare Secondary Payer Class Action Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 2 filed an amended opinion vacating injunctions entered by a lower court prohibiting the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from demanding "up front" reimbursement for secondary payments from...

11th Circuit Deems Insureds' Claims Over Florida Subsidized Reinsurance Abandoned

ATLANTA - Plaintiffs in a putative class action failed to address some of a trial court's alternative holdings for dismissing their claims related to their insurer's purported failure to offer lower rates in compliance with a Florida subsidized reinsurance law, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals...

Panel Reverses Certification Order Against Insurance Broker Over Lost Personal Information

HOUSTON - An insurance broker's former employee failed to establish a prerequisite to class certification regarding allegations that the broker misplaced customers' personal and sensitive information, a Texas appeals panel ruled Jan. 7, reversing a class certification order (Bliss & Glennon...

Magistrate Judge Overrules Third Party's Privilege Claim Over Investigative File

INDIANAPOLIS - A federal magistrate judge in Indiana on Jan. 17 overruled a third party's motion for a protective order over the contents of its investigation file after finding that the information was not subject to the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine (Telamon Corporation v....