HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on Oct. 23 approved a settlement agreement between the estate of an insolvent insurer and a number of states' insurance guaranty associations (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001; California Insurance Guarantee Association, Objector v. Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 3 REL 2014; California Insurance Guarantee Association, Objector v. Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 4 REL 2014, Pa. Cmwlth.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Oct. 26 refused to reconsider an Aug. 28 ruling that held a primary insurer liable under the principles of equity to reimburse an excess insurer for the $7,996,655.57 in defense costs it was ordered to pay to their insured in connection with an underlying lawsuit arising from a failed real estate project, awarding the excess insurer $7,996,655.57 plus $1,160,629.09 in prejudgment interest (IMG Worldwide Inc., et al. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 11-1594, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144868).
MIAMI - An insurance professional may testify in an insurance bad faith lawsuit on claims regarding personal injury protection (PIP) benefits and an insurer's handling of the claims to the extent that he opines on the applicable law, a Florida federal judge ruled Oct. 26 (Frank Lopez, as personal representative of the Estate of Giraldo Lopez, and Magaly Nunez Delgado, individually and as assignee of Michelle Soto v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-20654, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144823).
HONOLULU - A Hawaii federal judge on Oct. 23 dismissed numerous federal law claims asserted by a borrower against several banks, but granted him leave to amend his claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) (Jeffrey G. Hagan v. Deutsche Bank, et al., No. 15-00189, D. Hawaii; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144560).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A trial court erroneously determined that litigation surrounding a patient's fall from an examining room table sounded in negligence and not medical malpractice, a New York appellate panel ruled Oct. 22 (Daniel M. Martuscello, executor of the estate of Maryanna J. Darmiento, v. Susan Jensen, et al., No. 518302, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.).
NEW ORLEANS - Merely demonstrating U.S. Navy ownership of a vessel does not demonstrate that the Navy retained control over daily operations sufficient for removal, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 19 (William E. Bartel, as personal representative of the estate of Silas B. Bishop v. Alcoa Steamship Company Inc., et al., No. 15-30004, William E. Bartel as personal representative of the estate of Joseph L. Dennis v. American Export Isbrandtsen, et al., No. 15-30005, Lawrence R. Craig v. Rio Grande Transport Inc., et al., No. 15-30032, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Oct. 16 issued an order to show cause, asking why an order should not be made terminating the liquidation of an insurer that has no assets and nearly $4 million in liabilities (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Washington Title Insurance Company, No. 401396/12, N.Y. Super., New York Co.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 20 granted a motion for summary judgment on a borrower's claims for wrongful foreclosure and negligence but allowed his claims against a lender and mortgage servicer for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to proceed (Harold H. Clark v. OCWEN Loan Servicing LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-659, W.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142095).
LOS ANGELES - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer told a California court on Oct. 16 that the insurer's assets are inadequate to pay certain known claims and that it is therefore necessary to terminate the liquidation proceeding (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, No BS123005, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 30 granted motion filed by two banks, dismissing claims asserted by former homeowners for violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other claims related to the foreclosure of their home (Kimberly Andress, et al. v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC, et al., No. 15-1779, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133689).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Oct. 1 dismissed counterclaims for violations of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) and claims for fraud, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation brought by a defendant claiming that an insurance company refused to accept certain forms of premium payments, finding that they were barred by the economic loss doctrine (Assurity Life Insurance Company v. John Nicholas, Executor of the Estate of Sally Nicholas, No. 14-6522, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133701).
AUSTIN, Texas - A special deputy receiver on Sept. 28 asked a Texas court to approve a settlement agreement under which an insurer's rehabilitation estate will pay the U.S. government $33 million regarding certain customs bonds (State of Texas v. Highlands Insurance Company, No. D-1-GV-03-004537, Texas, 53rd Dist., Travis Co.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims asserted by property owners against a bank, finding that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) was not in effect at the relevant time and that the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) does not impose a legal duty of care on lender (Roderick Ray, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, Successor Trustee to Bank of America, Successor by Merger to LaSalle Bank, N.A., No. 15-1241, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17220).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge on Sept. 29 awarded $3 million in a take-home asbestos case after finding that Alabama law imposes a duty on employers to protect household members from asbestos exposure and applying substantial factor causation (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 28 found that a borrower failed to submit evidence to support his claim for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) but allowed his claims against a loan servicer for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and another claim to proceed (Alex Rodriguez v. Seterus Inc., No. 15-61253, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130172).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge held on Sept. 24 that an insurer has a duty to defend or indemnify its insured against underlying claims that its insured misused and misappropriated funds involving real estate closing, loan closing and title and escrow services (Title Industry Assurance Co. v. Chicago Abstract Title Agency, et al., No. 14-1906, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128096).
MIAMI - A lawyer's expertise in insurance law does not match the type of expertise needed to render an expert opinion on the internal standards for handling an insurance claim, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 23, excluding the lawyer's testimony in an insurance bad faith lawsuit (Frank Lopez, as personal representative of the Estate of Giraldo Lopez, and Magaly Nunez Delgado, individually and as assignee of Michelle Soto v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-20654, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127495).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Sept. 22 declined to exclude an expert's testimony that brake dust causes mesothelioma in a wrongful death lawsuit (Deste C. Relyea, as Executor of the Estate of Jo Ann Relyea v. Borg Warner Corp., et al., No. 12-3564, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126895).
MIAMI - A jury in Florida on Sept. 22 delivered a defense verdict in a lawsuit brought by a woman who contended that the manufacturers of cigarettes were liable for her husband's death from lung cancer, which she said was caused by his addiction to smoking. The plaintiff had sought between $34,737,000 and $50,676,600 in damages (Teresa Suarez, as the representative of the Estate of Pio Suarez, v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 2009-79584-CA-01, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).