LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Strikes Claimant's Demand For Jury Trial; Relief Not Available

    BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Feb. 1 granted a disability insurer's motion to strike a claimant's demand for a jury trial because there is no right to a jury trial in a suit filed to recover disability benefits under Section 502(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Jodee Weghorst v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 15-560, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11178).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Did Not Act In Bad Faith In Handling Of Claim, Panel Rules

    CINCINNATI - A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because insureds failed to provide any evidence that their insurer acted outrageously in its investigation and adjustment of their insurance claim, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 1 (William Cox, et al. v. Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Co., No. 15-5571, 6th Cir.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insured Was Obligated To Obtain Consent Prior To Settling Suit, Panel Says

    SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California court did not err in entering judgment in an excess insurer's favor because the insured was required to obtain the excess insurer's consent prior to settling an underlying environmental contamination suit, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal said Feb. 1 (The Doe Run Resources Corp. v. The Fidelity & Casualty Company of New York, No. G050689, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).

    Mealey's Insurance - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: Rescission Of Insurance Policy Was Warranted

    PITTSBURGH - An insurer did not waive its right to rescind a product contamination insurance policy because the insured's misrepresentations on its policy application were intentional and material to the insurer when it issued the policy, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Feb. 1 in disagreeing with an advisory jury's conclusion that the insurer waived its right to rescind the policy (H.J. Heinz Co. v. Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Co., No. 15-0631, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11737).

    Mealey's Insurance - Credit Union Has Waived Appellate Review Of Special Verdict Issue, 10th Circuit Says

    DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 held that a credit union insured has waived appellate review of its argument regarding a lower court's use of a special verdict form in a dispute over losses incurred from a credit union member's fraudulent activities (Cyprus Federal Credit Union v. CUMIS Insurance Society Inc., No. 15-4025, 10th Cir.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Asks Court To Confirm Reinsurance Arbitration Final Award

    NEW YORK - An insurer sued its reinsurer in a New York federal court on Jan. 28, asking the court to confirm an asbestos bodily injury related arbitration award (Continental Insurance Company v. Fairmont Premier Insurance Company f/k/a Transamerica Premier Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-00655, S.D. N.Y.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Negligence Complaint Against Insurance Broker Is Untimely, Indiana Panel Affirms

    INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana appeals panel on Jan. 29 affirmed a lower court's finding that an insured's complaint alleging that an insurance broker negligently failed to procure adequate insurance was "untimely" (Timothy Hipskind v. Insurance One Services Inc., et al., No. 85A02-1508-PL-1239, Ind. App.; 2016 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 63).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Had No Duty To Pay Landlord's Defense Costs Over Nuisance Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 28 ruled that an insurer has no duty to indemnify a landlord and its property manager for defense costs that they incurred in an underlying nuisance and trespass dispute involving alleged cooking odors coming from an insured's restaurant (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. Mixt Greens Inc., et al., No. 13-00957, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11056).

    Mealey's Insurance - Washington Federal Judge Lets Bad Faith Claims Move Forward In Environmental Suit

    SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Jan. 29 denied an excess insurer's motion for summary judgment on the insured's bad faith claims after determining that the excess insurer had other options, such as issuing a reservation-of-rights letter and seeking a judicial determination on its coverage obligation, prior to denying coverage for underlying environmental contamination proceedings (King County v. Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. C14-1957, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10988).

    Mealey's Insurance - New Jersey AG: Couple Charged With Fraudulently Billing State For Medical Services

    TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman on Jan. 27 announced that a New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) bookkeeper and her husband have been charged with second-degree theft by deception for allegedly submitting nearly $300,000 in false bills to the state for medical services that were not provided to DDD clients.

    Mealey's Insurance - Massachusetts Federal Judge: Reference Proceeding Must Be Held Prior To Filing Suit

    WORCESTER, Mass. - An insurer did not waive a policy's reference provision when it denied an insured's claim for water damages arising out of burst water pipes in the insured home, a Massachusetts federal judge said Jan. 27 in ordering the parties to submit their dispute to a group of referees (Ingrid B. Kiley v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-40131, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9601).

    Mealey's Insurance - Plan's Definition Of Disability Is Permissible, Minnesota Federal Judge Says

    MINNEAPOLIS - Because a disability plan's "stringent" definition of disability is permissible and because the claimant failed to demonstrate that she met that definition, the plan's decision to deny long-term disability benefits cannot be overturned, a Minnesota federal judge said Jan. 27 (Linda Anderson v. Sappi Fine Paper North America, No. 14-428, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9733).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Civil Conspiracy Claims Against Insurer, Agents In Coverage Dispute

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - An insured failed to assert claims for civil conspiracy and intentional interference with business expectancy against its insurer and several insurance agents in the denial of its claim for cracking in a condominium building following an explosion, a Missouri federal judge ruled Jan. 26 (Carlton Plaza Condominium Association v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-00227, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9110).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insureds Failed To Show That Insurer's Actions Were Arbitrary, Capricious

    NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on Jan. 28 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that insureds failed to show that the insurer acted arbitrarily, capriciously or without probable cause in withholding payment on a homeowners insurance policy claim (Rachel Dubois, et al. v. Southern Fidelity Insurance Co., No. 15-1097, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10134).

    Mealey's Insurance - Pro Rata Time-On-The-Risk Allocation Method Applies In Asbestos Coverage Suit

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A pro rata time-on-the-risk allocation method applies to any defense and indemnity payments made to an insured seeking coverage for numerous underlying asbestos and benzene bodily injury claims, a North Carolina judge determined Jan. 28 (Radiator Specialty Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-2271, N.C. Super., Mecklenburg Co.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Indictments For Misapplying Insurance Proceeds

    PEORIA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 28 denied a woman's motion to dismiss her indictments for mail fraud and misapplication and theft in connection with health care, finding that her receipt of insurance checks was part of her scheme to defraud insurance companies as well as the dental practice where she worked (United States of America v. Constance Gustafson, No. 15-cr-10043, C.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9949).

    Mealey's Insurance - Court Erred In Ruling Insureds Bore Burden Of Proof, 5th Circuit Says In Reversal

    NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 ruled that a lower federal court erred in finding that insureds had the burden of establishing the depreciation of their dwelling claim, further concluding that the lower court improperly determined that the insureds' assessment of their personal property replacement costs was not evidence of the "actual cash value" of lost items (Claudia Ayoub, et al. v. Chubb Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas, No. 14-51301, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1365).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Evidence Exists To Deny Summary Judgment To Insured On Professional Exclusion

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sufficient evidence exists to show that an insured performed arc flash hazard analyses and training for purposes of an absolute professional liability exclusion under a commercial general liability policy, a South Carolina federal judge ruled Jan. 25, denying summary judgment to the insured (Evanston Insurance Co. v. AJ's Electrical Testing & Services LLC d/b/a Southern Substation, et al., No. 15-01843, D. S.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8144).

    Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Says Reinsured's Supplemental Papers Were Filed Without Leave

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A reinsurer says in a Jan. 27 filing a New York federal court that its reinsured puts forward a supplemental argument regarding an allegedly related decision in a different case without first asking or obtaining the court's permission (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-00700, N.D. N.Y.).

    Mealey's Insurance - Ohio Federal Judge Says Disability Insurer's Denial Of Benefits Was Reasonable

    DAYTON, Ohio - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying a claim for long-term disability benefits because the insurer provided a reasonable explanation for its denial and the claimant's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis did not mean he could not perform the material duties of his occupation as an attorney, an Ohio federal judge said Jan. 26 (Curtis F. Slaton Esq. v. Standard Insurance Co., No. 14-269, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9079).

    Mealey's Insurance - Battery Plants Were Part Of Settlement Agreement, Michigan Federal Judge Says

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A settlement agreement and release, entered into by numerous parties involved in an environmental contamination coverage suit in 1989, included two battery plants that the insured formerly operated in New Jersey, a Michigan federal judge said Jan. 27 (Employers Insurance of Wausau v. McGraw-Edison Co., et al., No. 86-48, W.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9130).

    Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Plaintiff Failed To Show Triable Issue Of Fact In Insurance Dispute

    JACKSON, Miss. - A federal judge in Mississippi on Jan. 25 granted a workers' compensation insurer's motion for summary judgment in a discrimination and insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiff has failed to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists regarding his claims of racial discrimination against the insurer (Johneveric T. Powell v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 14-115, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8176).

    Mealey's Insurance - Panel Vacates Ruling On Exclusion In All-Risk Marine Insurance Policy

    ATLANTA - Although an insured established a fortuitous loss covered by an all-risk marine insurance policy, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 vacated a trial court's finding that an exclusion on which an insurer relied to avoid coverage was ambiguous (Great Lakes Reinsurance [UK] PLC v. Kan-Do, Inc. and Kan-Do Marine Research & Products, Inc., No. 15-11939, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1166).

    Mealey's Insurance - Broker's 'Maneuver' To Keep Insurer In The Fight Is Not Permissible, 3rd Circuit Says

    PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 rejected an insurance broker's plea to reverse a lower court's dismissal of all claims against its co-defendant insurer in a Superstorm Sandy coverage dispute (The Residences at Bay Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, d/b/a Travelers Indemnity and Affiliates, et al., No. 14-3981, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1284).

    Mealey's Insurance - California Federal Judge Says Claimant's Motions For Relief Are Misplaced

    OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 22 denied a disability claimant's motion to amend a judgment and motion for attorney fees after determining that both motions were misplaced as the claimant did not prevail on his claims against the disability insurer (Elgin Cox v. Allin Corporation Plan, et al., No. 12-5880, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8371).