SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 21 added the asbestos trust created by the Chapter 11 reorganization of The Flintkote Co. as a plaintiff and two insurers as defendants in Flintkote's declaratory judgment action seeking to compel an insurer to enter into arbitration to determine the insurer's responsibility under an agreement with Flintkote to pay insurance proceeds for underlying asbestos claims (The Flintkote Company v. Aviva PLC, No. 15-cv-01638, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170383).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a Pennsylvania court on Dec. 18 to approve the recommended allowance of claim payments, including more than $21 million against reinsurance agreements issued by the insolvent insurer (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on Dec. 21 denied a man's motions to dismiss a superseding indictment asserting charges of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, aiding and abetting and illegal monetary transactions for his role in the sale of stranger-originated life insurance (STOLI) policies, finding that the government's allegations were sufficient to bring the claims (United States of America v. Daniel Carpenter, No. 13-cr-226, D. Conn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169810).
HACKENSACK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on Dec. 17 granted a motion for expedited discovery brought by a group of hospitals, finding that their requests for documents related to certain hospital-ranking methodology and resulting scores of hospitals that are not parties to the suit are relevant to their breach of contract claims about the insurer's newly announced tiered health plan (Capital Health Systems Inc., et al. v. Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., No. BER-C-369-15, N.J. Super., Chanc. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2957).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A reinsurer told a federal court in New York on Dec. 21 that its reinsured is allegedly in breach of the agreements that it is suing about and, therefore, has no right to bring a motion for summary judgment asking for more than $5 million in asbestos-related reinsurance (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-00699, N.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on Dec. 18 granted an insolvent title insurer's liquidator's request and ordered the termination of the insolvent title insurer's liquidation proceeding (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Washington Title Insurance Company, No. 401396/12, N.Y. Super., New York Co.).
TULSA, Okla. - An insurance policy bars coverage for anything beyond remodeling that is defined as handyman work performed by a contractor, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled Dec. 18, granting summary judgment to an insurer in a coverage dispute for a construction defect case (Great Lakes Reinsurance [UK] PLC v. David's Construction, Inc., et al., No. 15-024, E.D. Okla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169307).
ELGIN, Ill. - Under an insurance policy's anti-concurrent causation clause, a covered cause and an excluded cause "contributed concurrently" to a loss to insureds, an Illinois appeals panel affirmed Dec. 17 (Marek Bozek and Bozena Bozek v. Erie Insurance Group, No. 14-MR-396, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 940).
PHOENIX - A settlement agreement is valid as to the claims in an underlying construction defects case that an insurer reserved its rights and invalid as to the claims that the insurer withdrew its rights, an Arizona federal judge ruled Dec. 17 (Prescott Lakes Community Association Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-08201, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168865).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts Appeals Court panel on Dec. 21 affirmed the convictions of an attorney and a chiropractor's employee for their roles in a scheme to submit fraudulent bills to insurers for injuries that resulted from staged accidents, holding that the trial court judge did not err when allowing certain evidence to be introduced during trial (Commonwealth v. James C. Hyde, et al., No. 12-P-867, Mass. App.; 2015 Mass. App. LEXIS 195).
PHILADELPHIA - An insurer told a federal court in Pennsylvania on Dec. 17 that it has no objections to a reinsurer's motion to stay a $4 million reinsurance billing dispute (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company v. R&Q Reinsurance Company, No. 15-cv-5528, E.D. Pa.).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas trial court judge's findings that a man's misrepresentations on an insurance policy application stating that his property was smaller than 5 acres and that he was not conducting business on the property warranted the rescission of the policy were affirmed Dec. 16 by a state appeals court, which held that the insurer did not waive its argument that the misrepresentations were material (Timothy Caldwell v. Columbia Mutual Insurance Company, No. CV-15-276, Ark. App., Div. 4; 2015 Ark. App. LEXIS 815).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Dec. 16 affirmed a man's conviction and sentencing for two counts of making a false insurance claim, one count of attempted perjury, one count of fraud to obtain aid, one count of perjury, one count of grand theft and one count of insurance fraud, ruling that the judge presiding over the trial did not err in dismissing a juror who was visibly shaken and crying as a result of deliberations (People v. Chip Kyle Bolton, No. H041106, Calif. App., 6th Dist.; 2015 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9031).
NEW YORK - Defendants/third-party plaintiffs in a reinsurance program dispute told a federal court in New York on Dec. 15 that they have uncovered new evidence that warrants the reconsideration of the dismissal of certain third-party claims (AmTrust North America, Inc., et al. v. Safebuilt Insurance Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-9494, S.D. N.Y.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer on Dec. 17 asked a Pennsylvania court to approve more than $90 million of undisputed claims to certain states' insurance guaranty associations (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 15 affirmed a federal judge in Texas' findings when sentencing and determining the amount of restitution two men found guilty of health care fraud and aggravated identity theft must pay, holding that the evidence presented at trial supported the convictions (United States of America v. Reginald Guy, et al., No. 14-11262, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21901).
PHOENIX - A trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because an insured failed to show that the insurer did not attempt to honor the insured's claim for automobile insurance benefits, an Arizona Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 15 (Judith E. Indihar, as personal representative of the Estate of James L. Indihar, Jr. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1 CA-CV 14-0621, Ariz. App., Div. 1; 2015 Ariz. App. LEXIS 1535).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Dec. 11 granted final approval to a settlement by Unum Life Insurance Company of America whereby it will pay $3,738,402 to end a class claim that it erred when it failed to include perpetuity payments when it calculated Humana Inc. disabled workers' long-term disability payments (Mary J. Kemp v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-944, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166164).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Dec. 11 reversed a judge's granting of a directed verdict and remanded for retrial an insured's claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against his insurer for denied coverage of water damage to his rental house, but not the claim for punitive damages (Artyun Vardanyan v. AMCO Insurance Co., No. F069953, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8925).
DENVER - A senior federal judge in Colorado on Dec. 11 granted an insurer's motion to alter judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, holding that pursuant to the state's noneconomic damages cap, an insured is still entitled to more than $925,000 in damages stemming from the insurer's bad faith failure to provide coverage under an automobile insurance policy (Kimberley Carpenter v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-1986, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166952).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Dec. 14 granted the assignee of certain of an insolvent insurer's rights' motion to remand a reinsurance dispute to a state court (Pine Top Receivables of Illinois, LLC v. Transfercom, Ltd., No. 15-cv-8908, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167202).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A federal magistrate judge in Ohio issued a report and recommendation in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit on Dec. 14, recommending that an insured's motion to remand the action to state court be denied because insurers have shown that the amount in controversy may exceed statutory limits (Michael D. Crooks v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-2234, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166994).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Dec. 15 dismissed with prejudice a plaintiff's claims that the owner of a physician billing service violated the False Claims Act and that her former supervisor received kickbacks for completing claims forms submitted to insurers, ruling that the woman did not plead the claims with the required level of particularity (United States of America, ex rel. Kenya Sibley v. A Plus Physicians Billing Service Inc., et al., No. 13 C 7733, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167334).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on Dec. 10 granted the liquidator of an insolvent insurer's motion to approve a $129,069.40 claim recommendation regarding an underlying construction defect of the claimants' condominium (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Statewide Insurance Company, No. 04-CH-00150, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 10 reversed and remanded an insurance bad faith lawsuit to a state trial court, ruling that the trial court erred in ruling that an insurer did not act in bad faith in denying an insured's claim for property damages under his homeowners insurance policy (David Hughes v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 15AP-94, Ohio App., 10th Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4951).