MINNEAPOLIS - An insurance agent breached an agent agreement with his former employer by inducing former clients into switching their policies, a Minnesota federal judge held April 22, awarding the employer $614,631.61 (American Family Mutual Insurance Co., et al. v. Steven G. Graham and Steven Graham Agency Inc., No. 12-53, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55338).
SEATTLE - Two families who have had coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy to treat their children's autism spectrum disorders (ASD) denied filed a class action lawsuit in a Washington federal court against the plan and plan administrator on April 17 (C.S., et al. v. The Boeing Company Master Welfare Plan, et al., No. 14-574, W.D. Wash.).
LAS VEGAS - Three policy exclusions in a lawyers professional liability insurance policy preclude coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that an attorney, his law firm and his family trust committed malpractice and fraud, breached professional ethics and breached a fiduciary duty, a Nevada federal judge ruled April 14 (Thomas Christensen, et al. v. Darwin National Assurance Co., et al., No. 2:13-cv-00956-APG-VCF, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52069).
INDIANAPOLIS - A two-year statute of limitations precludes insureds' negligence and breach of contract claims against their insurer and its insurance agent, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed April 3, finding that the statute began to run no later than the first policy renewal (Christopher Groce and Tracey Groce v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. and Michael A. Meek, No. 48S02-1307-CT-472, Ind. Sup.; 2014 Ind. LEXIS 262).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Based on the documented injuries sustained by two insureds in an auto accident, an Oregon federal judge on April 1 found that their insurer's settlement offer fell within the "objectively reasonable expectations" of all involved parties, per the policy's contractual provisions, and was not evidence of bad faith (Sonia Braun-Salinas, et al. v. American Family Insurance Co., No. 3:13-cv-00264, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45121).
SAN FRANCISCO - A family restaurant and fun center chain removed a wage-and-hour class complaint to California federal court on March 27 based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Franchesca Ford, et al. v. CEC Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 14-1420, N.D. Calif.).
WORCESTER, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 28 sent a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a retail store manager back to state court, finding that the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) local controversy exception applied (David Premo, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores of Massachusetts, Inc., et al., No. 13-11279, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42069).
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).
ST. LOUIS - The federal government on Feb. 27 filed a brief with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, urging the court to affirm the denial of a preliminary injunction in a case brought by a Missouri family challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Paul Wieland, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 13-3528, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24 denied a petition for writ of certiorari, leaving in place a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision affirming that Arizona cannot bar state Medicaid patients from obtaining covered family planning services from health care providers who also perform elective abortions (Tom Betlach, et al. v. Planned Parenthood of Arizona Inc., No. 13-621, U.S. Sup.).
ROCKVILLE, Md. - For what it says is the first time since the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act became law in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 21 ordered an end to the sale in the United States of a Chinese company's "bidi" tobacco products that failed to pass regulatory approval.
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 14 found that a defendant company's destruction of the hard drive of a former marketing employee warranted the imposition of an adverse inference jury instruction and monetary sanctions (Jackson Family Wines Inc., et al. v. Diageo North America Inc., et al., No. 11-5639, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19420).
SAN FRANCISCO - United Airlines Inc.'s sick leave plan and trust is not an employee benefits plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, therefore, is subject to California's Kin Care Law, which requires employers who provide paid sick leave to their employees to use sick leave to care for family members, a California appellate court ruled Jan. 31 (Airline Pilots Association International, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc., No. A129914, Calif. App., 1st App. Dist., Div. 4; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 100).
DENVER - At the time an insured filed suit against her insurer, a genuine disagreement existed as to the amount of underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits to which she was entitled, a Colorado federal magistrate judge found Jan. 29, disposing of a bad faith claim against the insurer (Mary E. Spendrup v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 1:13-cv-00513, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10895).
PHILADELPHIA - The family of a deceased former professional football player filed a statement in a Pennsylvania federal court on Jan. 24 contending that a previously announced proposed $760 million class action settlement "fails to adequately address the claims of a distinct group of plaintiffs-those with wrongful death claims" (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).
ST. LOUIS - Claimants failed to allege negligent failure to procure insurance and negligent misrepresentation claims against an insurance agent regarding an insurance policy under which the claimants seek coverage for fire damage, a Missouri appeals panel held Jan. 28, affirming dismissal of the claims (Biri M. Blevins, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. and Janey Foust, No. ED99852, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.; 2014 Mo. App. LEXIS 76).
GREENBELT, Md. - A Cameroonian woman who alleges that her uncle's family forced her to come to the United States to be their unpaid domestic servant lost most of her human trafficking expert's testimony and had the majority of her claims dismissed on summary judgment on Jan. 21 by a Maryland federal judge (Corine Elat v. Carolina Raissa Emandop Ngoubene, et al., No. PWG-11-2931, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7505).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that a patent licensee bears the burden of proving noninfringement under the Declaratory Judgment Act was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court on Jan. 22 (Medtronic Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures LLC et al., No. 12-1128, U.S. Sup.).
DAYTON, Ohio - Employees' health records are relevant and discoverable in a class complaint in which they accuse their employer of interfering with their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an Ohio federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 6 (Michele Wilkinson, et al. v. Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, et al., No. 11-247, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 909).
NEW YORK - The issuers of a storm weather report told a New York federal court on Nov. 20 that a reinsurer's claims against them are not supported by the facts and should be dismissed (Mariah Re Ltd. $(In Liquidation$), acting by and through Geoffrey Varga and Jess Shakespeare, in their capacities as Liquidators thereof v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-cv-04657, S.D. N.Y.).