JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Supreme Court on May 7 denied motions to rehear its Nov. 6, 2014, ruling in a dispute over errors and omissions insurance coverage for wrongful acts alleged against former agents of a life insurance company (Minnesota Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Columbia Casualty Co., No. 2012-CA-00107-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2015 Miss. LEXIS 218).
TRENTON, N.J. - The owner of a manufacturing company was "a successful claimant" against a subcontractor's insurer in obtaining a declaration of the insurer's duty to indemnify in the owner's underlying negligent construction lawsuit against the subcontractor, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled May 7, reversing the denial of attorney fees to the owner (Robert Occhifinto and NVE Inc. v. Olivo Construction Co. LLC, et al., No. 073174, N.J. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A district court did not err in determining that a disability insurer did not have discretionary authority to decide a claimant's benefits appeal because the insurer was never appointed to handle appeals as required by the long-term disability plan's terms, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said May 5 (Richard Bilheimer v. Federal Express Corporation Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. No. 13-1859, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7434).
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is proper because the insureds failed to comply with proof-of-loss policy requirements in their homeowners insurance policy, a federal judge in New York ruled May 6 (Timothy Hogan, et al v. Fidelity National Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 13-0009, N.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59084).
CINCINNATI - Ruling that an insurer has failed to show that the Kentucky Supreme Court would adopt a "common law cause of action in tort" by an insurer against it insured for breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, or reverse bad faith, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 6 rejected an insurer's motion to certify a question to the state Supreme Court (State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Lori Hargis, No. 13-5020, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7475).
MACON, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on May 6 ordered a man to pay an insurance company $202,800 for disability benefits he wrongfully received, after finding that the man admitted to making misrepresentations to the company on his application for a disability insurance policy (Auto-Owners Life Insurance Company v. Devereaux Burnett, No. 14-CV-96, M.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59056).
SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Department of Justice announced May 5 that five California-based ambulance companies have agreed to collectively pay more than $11.5 million to resolve allegations from the federal government and a whistle-blower that they paid illegal kickbacks to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in exchange for the exclusive rights to Medicare patients (Kelvin Carlisle v. Pacific Ambulance, et al., No. 09-cv-02628, S.D. Calif.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 6 reversed a lower court's denial of an insurer's motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over coverage for a $1 million judgment, remanding for an order compelling the issue of arbitrability to an arbitrator (Allied Professionals Insurance Co. v. Brian Fitzpatrick, et al., No. 4D13-3961, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6746).
TACOMA, Wash. - A federal judge in Washington on May 5 denied a motion to compel production of certain documents in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the documents the insureds seek to obtain are protected (Bret C. Kifer, et al. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-6085, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58905).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge on May 1 found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' construction, expansions, operation and failure to maintain a 77-mile-long navigational channel caused subsequent storm surge that was exacerbated during Hurricane Katrina and other storms and caused flooding on property that effected a temporary taking under the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment (St. Bernard Parish Government v. The United States, No. 05-1119, Fed. Clms.; 2015 U.S. Claims LEXIS 526).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on May 4 substantially dismissed an amended complaint filed by insureds in an insurance breach of contract lawsuit, ruling that the insureds' tort claims are time-barred and that they have failed to properly state other claims against their insurer (Bhagubhai Hira, et al. v. New York Life Insurance Co., No. 13-527, E.D. Tenn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57860).
NEW ORLEANS - A majority of the Louisiana Supreme Court on May 5 reversed and remanded an appeals court's finding that a patient has proven that a doctor insured's actions in rushing to implant a pacemaker fell below the standard of care, reinstating a jury's verdict in favor of the physician (Clyde Snider Jr., et ux. v. Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 2014-C-1964, La. Sup.).
BOSTON - A disability insurer is required to produce documents related to the policy's 24-month limitation provision in addition to information regarding the compensation paid to medical experts, a Massachusetts federal judge said May 1 (Elizabeth Wilson v. Pharmerica Corp. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 14-12345, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57487).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 1 determined that the termination of a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not "de novo" wrong because the claimant no longer met the policy's definition of "disabled" and the claimant failed to provide the required medical evidence in support of her claim (Sandra E. Nolley v. The Bellsouth Long Term Disability Plan for Non-Salaried Employees, et al., No. 14-13470, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7218).
PIERRE, S.D. - Concluding that a trial court failed to make the proper determinations in its finding that an insurer waived the attorney-client privilege in an insurance bad faith case, the South Dakota Supreme Court on April 29 reversed the trial court's granting of a plaintiff's motion to compel, remanding the matter for further findings (Timothy Andrews v. Ridco Inc., et al., No. 26891, S.D. Sup.; 2015 SD 24; 2015 S.D. LEXIS 57).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel found April 30 that a professional liability insurer has no duty to pay its insured's defense costs in an underlying false claims act action, reversing a lower court's ruling against the insurer (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London v. Huron Consulting Group, Inc., et al., Nos. 14799, 14798, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3590).
LOS ANGELES - A California judge on April 29 approved a $500,000 reinsurance commutation agreement between a reinsurer and an insolvent insurer's estate (Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. SeeChange Health Insurance Company, No. BS152302, Calif. Sup., Los Angeles Co.).
LAS VEGAS - A federal judge in Nevada on April 28 dismissed an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that no private right of action exists because the insured's claims fall under the jurisdiction of the state's Division of Insurance (Michelle Herrera v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 13-0908, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55480).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment dismissing an insured's bad faith claim because the insured failed to show that the insurer did not have a reasonable basis for denying her claim for underinsured motorist coverage, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 28 (Karen Miezejewski, et al. v. Infinity Auto Insurance Co.. No. 14-1603, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6984).
NEW YORK - A New York appeals panel on April 30 withdrew Sony's appeal of a lower court's finding that there is no coverage for a data breach caused by a cyber-attack of Sony's online networks, one day after Sony and its insurers filed a stipulation to discontinue the coverage lawsuit with prejudice (Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Sony Corporation of America, et al., Nos. 14547, 14546, N.Y. App., 1st Dept.).
SEATTLE - A disability insurer erred in denying a claim for short-term disability (STD) benefits because the claimant adequately proved that she could not perform the functions of her job, a Washington federal judge said April 27 (Dana Mirick v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-1801, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55676).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A majority of the Missouri Supreme Court found April 28 that the injuries that resulted in an insured's employee's death were the result of an unsafe workplace and could only have been brought against an employer, affirming a lower court's ruling that coverage for a $7 million wrongful death lawsuit is barred (Katina Piatt, et al. v. Indiana Lumbermen's Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. SC94364, Mo. Sup.; 2015 Mo. LEXIS 32).
SCRANTON, Pa. - Dismissal of an insured's insurance bad faith claim is not proper because the insured has properly pleaded the claim as required under state law, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled on April 27 (Shannon Sutton, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 15-54, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54810).
PHILADELPHIA - Because rescission of insurance policies retroactively extinguished an insurer's duty to defend an additional insured, a Pennsylvania federal judge on April 29 declined to award the additional insured an award of fees and costs for defending an underlying construction defects lawsuit (Toll Bros. Inc. v. Essex Insurance Co., et al., No. 07-01296, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55855).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge entered final judgment in favor of insurers on April 27 after finding that all underlying claims against an engineering firm insured and its employee arise out of the rendering of, or failure to render, professional engineering services and, therefore, coverage is barred (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. et al. v. DP Engineering, LLC, et al., No. 4:14-CV-452-A, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55075).