WAYCROSS, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge on March 17 remanded an insured's suit seeking a coverage declaration for an underlying suit seeking damages for exposure to toxic chemicals because diversity of citizenship does not exist in the insured's suit (Richard E. Pearson, d/b/a Pearson Service Co. v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co. Inc., et al., No. 14-60, S.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33046).
NEW ORLEANS - A general liability insurance policy's breach of contract exclusion precludes coverage for a negligence claim asserted by a parish regarding a project that allegedly suffered from improper work by various subcontractors, a Louisiana federal judge ruled March 19, granting summary judgment to a subcontractor's insurer (Hanover Insurance Co. v. Plaquemines Parish Government, No. 12-1680, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34313).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on March 17 dismissed an insured's counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violation of Nevada Revised Statutes Section 686A.310(1)(a) with regard to an insurer's coverage in an underlying construction defects lawsuit (Probuilders Specialty Insurance Co., et al. v. Double M. Construction d/b/a Classic Homes, No. 13-2156, D. Nev.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34039).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on March 18 granted an insured's motion to compel certain information regarding discipline and performance reviews for an insurer's former adjuster, ruling that the information is important in determining whether the insured properly pleaded its insurance bad faith claim (Drew Hardware LLC v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-845, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33175).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held on March 17 that the burden of funding $1 million of an underlying settlement falls squarely on the primary insurer's shoulders, reversing and remanding a lower federal court's finding that the excess insurer was not entitled to damages in a coverage dispute over a customer's paralyzing injury during an armed bank robbery (Nova Casualty Co. v. OneBeacon America Insurance Co., No. 13-15799, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4205).
MINNEAPOLIS - A transgendered individual may proceed with a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 discrimination case because the law creates a singular standard regardless of protected class status, a federal judge in Minnesota held March 16 (Jakob Tiarnan Rumble v. Fairview Health Services d/b/a/ Fairview Southdale Hospital and Emergency Physicians P.A., No. 14-2037, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31591).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge on March 18 granted the government's motion to stay a challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate accommodation until the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals weighs in on a closely related case (Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-580, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12506).
TULSA, Okla. - An expert electrician's testimony will be relevant to helping a jury determine a lighting company's liability in its customers' house fire, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled March 17, denying a motion to exclude, while holding that certain portions of the electrician's testimony that were not previously disclosed should be stricken (Great Northern Insurance Co. v. John Watson Landscape Illumination Inc., No. 4:12-cv-00025, N.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32511).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Finding that an insurance policy provided adequate notice of the insurer's election to use Medicare fee schedules referenced in Florida Statutes Section 627.736(5)(a)2 to calculate personal injury protection (PIP) coverage reimbursements for 14 insureds, a Florida appeals panel on March 18 reversed and remanded the lower court's ruling against the insurer in 14 consolidated cases (Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance, etc. v. Stand-Up MRI of Tallahassee, P. A., as assignee of Charles Black, Nos. 1D14-1213, 1D14-1215, 1D14-1216, 1D14-1217, 1D14-1218, 1D14-1219, 1D14-1220, 1D14-1221, 1D14-1222, 1D14-1223, 1D14-1224, 1D14-1225, 1D14-1226, 1D14-1227, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on March 18 agreed with an asbestos-related reinsurance arbitration panel's interpretation of the term occurrence and granted an insurer's motion to confirm a $14 million arbitration award (Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company v. Everest Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-13060, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33301).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 18 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of a nonprofit management and organization liability insurer on a commercial general liability insurer's claims for declaratory judgment, equitable contribution, equitable subrogation and unjust enrichment in a coverage dispute arising from the defense of a mutual insured (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 14-1837, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4330).
DETROIT - The owner of two home health care companies on March 13 pleaded guilty in Michigan federal court for tax fraud as well as his involvement in a $12.6 million Medicare fraud scheme in which services were not provided to patients or obtained through illegal kickbacks (United States of America v. Mohammed Sadiq, et al., No. 12-cr-2027, E.D. Mich.).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal judge on March 13 denied a disability claimant's motion for summary judgment on the basis that it is clear that the complaint was not filed within the three-year limitations period as outlined in the disability plan (Jill M. Lundsten v. Creative Community Living Services Inc., et al,, No. 13-108, E.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31238).
LOS ANGELES - A California pharmacist on March 16 pleaded guilty in federal court to allegations that he defrauded the Medicare Part D program by paying kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries for them to submit prescriptions to the pharmacy where he worked and by submitting false and fraudulent claims to the program for prescriptions that were never filled (United States of America v. Rouzbeh Javaherian, No. 15-cr-000045, C.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - In granting a disability claimant's motion for entry of judgment, an Illinois federal magistrate judge on March 13 determined that the claimant's predisability earnings should be based on the claimant's regular earnings and not based on a tax year in which the claimant's salary was vastly different from other years (Carole Cheney v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-4269, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30918).
PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on March 17 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's summary judgment motion in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although the insurer's argument that an insured was not entitled to disability benefits fails, the insured has not shown that she is entitled to punitive damages under state law (Dawn Young v. Liberty Mutual Group Inc., et al., No. 12-2302, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32790).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 determined that a claimant's suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and willful miscalculation of long-term benefits is time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations (William Goodes, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., No. 13-16027, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4248).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey dismissed claims against two defendants in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on March 13, ruling that insureds' claims against those defendants were either not actionable or time-barred (Christopher Brown, et al. v. State Farm Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-2064, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30792).
SEATTLE - A jury erred in awarding $138,000 in bad faith damages to an insured in a coverage dispute arising from earth movement damage, a Washington federal judge held March 16, setting aside the judgment but otherwise upholding the jury's verdict against an insurer (MKB Constructors v. American Zurich Insurance Co., No. 13-0611, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32169).
BALTIMORE - A federal magistrate judge in Maryland on March 17 concluded that an insurance company was entitled to a declaration that an insurance policy it issued to a couple was void ab initio because they misrepresented that they were living in a house that was destroyed by a fire in June 2012 (Encompass Home & Auto Insurance Co. v. Corey Harris, et al., No. TJS-12-2588, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32351).
TULSA, Okla. - Genuine issues of fact exist as to a subrogated insurer's breach of contract, negligence and breach of warranty claims against the manufacturer of a lighting system that caused a fire, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled March 17, denying summary judgment to the manufacturer (Great Northern Insurance Co. v. John Watson Landscape Illumination Inc., No. 12-25, N.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32512).
NEW YORK - A New York federal bankruptcy judge on March 16 expanded the services of the special insurance counsel for asbestos personal injury creditors in the Chapter 11 case of Rapid-American Corp. to include insurance coverage litigation expected to be filed against the debtor's remaining excess insurers (In re: Rapid-American Corporation, No. 13-10687, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 16 reversed a lower federal court's ruling against insurers in a fraudulent injury claims dispute, remanding the proceedings for a trial by jury (Allstate Insurance Co. v. Community Health Center, et al., No. 14-30506, 5th Cir.).
CHICAGO - In a lawsuit over coverage for property damage claims, a written agreement between a contractor and a subcontractor did not require the subcontractor to name the contractor as an additional insured on a commercial general liability insurance policy, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed March 16 (West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Athens Construction Company Inc., No. 1-14-0006, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 172).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled on March 13 that an insurance agent was not improperly joined in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because a possibility exists that insureds can establish a claim for negligence in the procurement of insurance against the agent (Larry Mattocks, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-2-M, W.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31024).