WICHITA, Kan. - An insurer failed to establish why requested documents in a coverage dispute are irrelevant or privileged, a Kansas federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 29, granting an insured's motion to compel (Great Plains Ventures Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 6:14-cv-01136, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10027).
HOUSTON - An independent adjuster lacks standing to sue under the False Claims Act (FCA) because he is not an original source, a Texas federal judge ruled Jan. 29, dismissing his qui tam lawsuit alleging that various insurers and adjusters committed fraud in responding to damage claims involving hurricanes Katrina and Ike (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
LOS ANGELES - Because an underlying dispute between a delivery person and his employer involves direct claims of violations of California's wage and hour laws or arises out of such purported violations, a policy exclusion bars employment practices liability coverage for the allegations, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 29, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Admiral Insurance Co. v. Kay Automotive Distributors Inc., No. CV 13-05100, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11357).
JEFFERSON, Ala. - An insurer is entitled to default judgment against its insured for declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend and indemnify the insured in an underlying construction defects case filed by homeowners, an Alabama federal judge ruled Feb. 2 (Essex Insurance Co. v. J&J Masonry LLC, et al., No. 14-02132, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11725).
LAS VEGAS - Remand of an insurance bad faith lawsuit is not proper, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Jan. 29, because an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeds the statutory limits (Jacqueline Unterreiner v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 13-1994, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11471).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Jan. 30 affirmed a jury verdict entered in an insured's favor after determining that the insurer's actions in handling and investigating the environmental contamination claim supported the jury's verdict and award of damages (The Indiana Insurance Co. v. James Demetre, No. 2013-000338, Kent. App.; 2015 Ky. App. LEXIS 10).
OCALA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 28 vacated a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a Medicare false claims case, saying that the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to the jury that defendant's alleged violation of Florida's licensing laws with respect to the diagnostic procedures performed was a condition of payment (United States of America and State of Florida, ex rel. Charles Ortolano v. Amin Radiology, No. 10-583, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dis. LEXIS 9724).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 30 found that a lower court erred in concluding that an insured's sinkhole coverage dispute was barred once the insurer initiated the statutory neutral evaluation process, reversing and remanding the lower court's final summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Ezequiel Cuevas v. Tower Hill Signature Insurance Co., f/k/a Royal Palm Insurance Co., No. 2D13-2230, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 28 held that insureds' breach of contract lawsuit against their homeowners insurer was timely, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling that the lawsuit was barred by the five-year statute of limitations under Florida Statutes (2010) Section 95.11(2)(b) (Juan Luciano, et al. v. United Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 4D13-790, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1043).
BOSTON - A reinsurer told a federal court in Massachusetts on Jan. 30 that its reinsured entered into a transaction with a different entity in which it transferred its rights and obligations under a number of facultative reinsurance certificates and that the reinsured is therefore in breach of certain provisions of the certificates (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer failed to assert third-party claims breach of contract and negligence against insureds in a subrogation action regarding settlement of an underlying construction defects case, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 29 (AIG Commercial Insurance Company of Canada v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-02610, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11386).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 30 granted default judgment in favor of an insurer regarding its duty to defend and indemnify insureds in an underlying construction defects case (Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. North Bay Waterproofing Inc., et al., No. 14-04056, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11404).
NEW ORLEANS - A property owner's claims against a builder and the builder's surety were untimely asserted outside the five-year period and, thus, were perempted, the Louisiana Supreme Court held Jan. 28, reinstating a district court's judgment confirming an arbitration award in favor of the builder and surety (Crescent Property Partners LLC v. American Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014-C-0969 c/w 2014-c-0973, La. Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Jan. 29 dismissed an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insurer did not act in bad faith by failing to provide a deceased man's life insurance benefits to his ex-wife individually or as trustee for the former couples' adult children (Linda Dean v. New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-2211, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10244).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on Jan. 28 found that many of the documents sought by Dietz & Watson Inc. from its insurer related to an underlying workplace injury lawsuit are covered by asserted privileges, denying in part the meat producer's motions to compel (Dietz & Watson Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-04082, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9815).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Finding that underlying libel claims against an attorney insured fail to arise from activities related to his business, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 29 held that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured and granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment lawsuit (Mark A. DiCarlo v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 2:14-CV-449, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10157).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Jan. 29 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's breach of contract and bad faith suit seeking coverage for missing inventory of 82,510 bottles of 5-Hour Energy drinks, finding that coverage is barred by the policy's inventory shortage exclusion (W. L. Petrey Wholesale Co., Inc. v. Great American Ins. Co., No. 2:14-CV-868-CSC, M.D. Ala., Northern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10036).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Jan. 27 granted a disability claimant's motion for summary judgment after determining that the disability insurer was not entitled to offset the claimant's benefits based on benefits she received under a franchise group insurance policy (Frances Hogan, M.D. v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-1028, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9272).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 29 held that an insurance adjuster lacked standing to bring claims that a number of insurance companies violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by preparing and submitting inflated claims on flood insurance policies backed by the Federal Insurance Administration's (FIA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), while reducing claims paid on privately backed wind insurance policies, finding that his allegations were based on publicly disclosed information (United States of America, ex rel. Kermith Sonnier v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, et al., No. H-12-1065, S.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10006).
AUSTIN, Texas - A federal judge in Texas on Jan. 27 granted an insurance benefits administrator's motion for summary judgment in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the benefits administrator is a state instrumentality that is shielded by sovereign immunity (Kerri Kirby v. Health Care Service Corp, No. 14-892, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8953).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - An umbrella insurer has no duty to indemnify costs incurred by an insured to repair property damage at several condominium projects because the commercial general liability insurance policies underlying the umbrella policies were not exhausted, a South Carolina appeals panel affirmed Jan. 28 (Crossmann Communities of North Carolina Inc. and Beazer Homes Investment Corp. v. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. and Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 2012-213245, S.C. App.; 2015 S.C. App. LEXIS 5).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cost remains a barrier to obtaining medical insurance, with nearly one-third of uninsured but Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-eligible adults citing it as the reason they remain uninsured, according to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report issued Jan. 29.
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 27 issued an agreed-to protective order designating as confidential nine agreements between Chapter 11 debtor The Budd Co. Inc. and insurance companies involving the settlement or defense of asbestos personal injury claims and documents related to any reserves established by Budd for asbestos-related claims (In re: The Budd Company, Inc., No. 14-11873, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Because a claimant did not submit a disability claim for a mental condition or mental illness, the claimant was not required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation that was suggested by some of the claimant's treating doctors, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority said Jan. 28 (Miae Decovich v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 12-16803, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1350).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 28 denied a woman's request to overturn her conviction for mail and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud life insurance companies, holding that the defendant waived her challenge to a jury instruction and that the instruction was not clearly erroneous or prejudicial (United States of America v. Jean Crump, No. 13-50179, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1355).