TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Supreme Court on Dec. 12 agreed to hear an appeal concerning whether New Jersey law applies to insurance allocation determinations in an asbestos coverage dispute and whether the insured has to share in those coverage allocations after excess coverage for the asbestos bodily injury claims was no longer available (Continental Insurance Co., et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. A-21-16, N.J. Sup.).
NEW YORK - An alleged reinsurer told a federal court in New York on Dec. 13 that an arbitration panel, and not the court, should decide the proper parties to a workers' compensation reinsurance coverage dispute (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal magistrate judge on Dec. 13 denied an insurer's motion to compel the production of unredacted documents and emails after determining that the documents and emails are protected under the work product doctrine because they were prepared in anticipation of litigation regarding coverage for the contamination of the insured's blood products (Baxter International Inc., v. AXA Versicherung, No. 11-cv-09131, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172234).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The owner of a labor staffing firm and the manager committed workers' compensation fraud when misrepresenting the job descriptions of its employees in an attempt to obtain avoid paying for workers' compensation insurance, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Dec. 14 in granting in part Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment (Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company v. Quickstuff LLC, et al., No. 14-6105, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172522).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Because a contractor is an insured under a builder's risk policy, the anti-subrogation rule applies, which prohibits an insurer from seeking subrogation from its own insured, an Oregon federal judge ruled Dec. 12, granting summary judgment to the contractor on third-party claims in an insurance dispute over reimbursement for construction defects in a project (Factory Mutual Insurance Co. v. PERI Formworks Systems Inc. v. McClone Construction Co., No. 16-264, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171357).
LAS VEGAS - An insured's failure to respond to an insurer's timely requests for information caused a delay in payment of underinsured motorist benefits and not the actions of the insurer, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Dec. 12 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Loreli Nolan v. American Family Insurance Co., No. 15-2051, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171423).
CINCINNATI - The First District Ohio Court of Appeals on Dec. 14 affirmed a trial court's ruling that an insured's liability for underlying asbestos claims arose from multiple occurrences because each individual's exposure to asbestos constitutes an occurrence (The William Powell Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., et al., No. C-160291, Ohio App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 4982).
WILMINGTON, Del. - An appeal by 27 asbestos disease sufferers of a bankruptcy court's finding that their personal injury claims against insurers of Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. are barred will not be resolved through mediation, a Delaware federal judge ruled Dec. 13, agreeing with a magistrate judge that the issues involved "are not amenable to mediation" (Jeremy B. Carr, et al. v. Continental Casualty Company, et al., No. 16-1010, D. Del.).
SHERMAN, Texas - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits because the evidence supported the termination, a Texas federal judge said Dec. 12, noting that the insurer conducted an independent medical exam and four independent peer reviews before terminating benefits (Martha Shindoll v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 15-759, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171166).
CLEVELAND - The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that three workers at a Cleveland home health care company were sentenced Dec. 8 by a federal judge in Ohio for their roles in a $3 million Medicare fraud scheme that lasted from 2009 to 2013 (United States of America v. Amir Ahmed, et al., No. 15cr223, N.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK - ExxonMobil Oil Corp. on Dec. 9 filed a petition to compel arbitration in New York federal court, seeking an order that its excess insurer is required to arbitrate a coverage dispute arising out of underlying claims for groundwater contamination (ExxonMobil Oil Corp. v. TIG Insurance Co., No. 16-9527, S.D. N.Y.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer and its reinsurer jointly asked a federal court in Massachusetts on Dec. 12 stay their breach of contract dispute so they can have time to convert their agreement in principle into a written settlement agreement (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 9 scheduled a bench trial in a disability benefits dispute after determining that it is not clear from the available evidence whether a claimant's prior disability claims factored into the insurer's decision to deny a third disability claim (Robert Bosley v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 16-139, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170872).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Dec. 9 partially granted an insured's motion to dismiss after determining that the court cannot exercise admiralty jurisdiction over a coverage dispute arising out of a collapsed pier because the policy at issue does not provide coverage for traditional marine risks (The Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. The Harborview Marina & Yacht Club Community Association Inc., No. 16-769, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170438).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal magistrate judge in New York on Dec. 8 granted in part an insurer's and a reinsurer's motions to compel discovery information from each other regarding alleged obligations under certain reinsurance agreements (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 13-cv-00995, N.D. N.Y.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 certified a question to the New York Court of Appeals regarding reinsurance contract limits that the panel said presents an important question of New York law (Global Reinsurance of America v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 15-2164, 2nd Cir.).
BOSTON - Six former executives and managers of drug maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. were indicted Dec. 6 for racketeering, mail fraud and wire fraud conspiracy for allegedly bribing medical practitioners to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-containing pain drug, and for defrauding medical insurers, according to a criminal information unsealed Dec. 8 (United States of America v. Michael L. Babich, et al., No. 16-cr-10343, D. Mass.).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 found that a homeowners insurance policy draws a clear distinction between an insurer's duty to defend that applies to suits alone and the insurer's right to investigate that applies to both suits and claims, affirming a lower federal court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (Harry Sanders, executor of the Estate of Nancy A. Andersen and assignee of John Doe, v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2539, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21773).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge in New Mexico on Dec. 6 ordered a woman who pleaded guilty to disability insurance fraud and wire fraud to pay two beneficiaries of an estate more than $100,000 in restitution, finding that the contingency fees charged by a research firm and a law firm they hired to research where funds from their deceased father's estate were located were acceptable under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA) (United States of America v. Juanita Roibal-Bradley, No. CR 15-3253, D. N.M.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168259).
JACKSON, Miss. - Transfer of a suit filed by the United States seeking damages for oil spill removal costs from Mississippi federal court to Louisiana federal court where an insurance coverage action is pending is not warranted because the United States' suit does not overlap with the coverage suit in Louisiana, a Mississippi federal judge said Dec. 5 (United States of American v. Third Coast Towing LLC, et al., No. 16-34, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167441).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A federal magistrate judge correctly found that a disability insurer's termination of disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion, a Texas federal judge said Dec. 6, noting that the evidence clearly supports the insurer's decision (Troy Arrington v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-549, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168120).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 5 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of an insured's federal conspiracy claims against his homeowners insurer, a claims investigator and a deputy sheriff arising from the insured's claim that $496,641 was stolen from his home (Windham Todd Pittman v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., et al., No. 16-10144, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21610).
PHILADELPHIA - Dismissal an insured's bad faith claim against his insurer for failure to pay uninsured motorist benefits pursuant to an automobile insurance policy is proper because the insured failed to state any factual allegations to support his bad faith claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Dec. 5 (Vincent Talotta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 16-5557, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167248).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An insured's insurance bad faith counterclaim was dismissed Dec. 5 after a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that the insured failed to plead its counterclaim with any facts to support it (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. W-W Trailer Manufacturers, d/b/a W.W. Trailer Manufacturing, No. 16-995, W.D. Okla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167362).
LOS ANGELES - Summary judgment is warranted against insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insureds have failed to show that their insurer breached its contract in failing to pay their claims for benefits or denied their requests for a defense or indemnification, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6 (Julie Sohn, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-8841, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555).