BOSTON - A Massachusetts Appeals Court panel on Feb. 27 affirmed in part and reversed in part a state Superior Court ruling dismissing an insured's breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuit, finding that the insured has failed to state a majority of her claims (Nataly Minkina v. Medical Professional Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-P-1898, Mass. App.; 2015 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 140).
PHILADELPHIA - Finding that the remaining state law claims of conversion and unjust enrichment in a flood coverage dispute do not confer federal question jurisdiction, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 26 remanded the case to state court (Vincent J. Imbrenda Sr., et al. v. Santander Bank N.A., et al., No. 14-6103, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23150).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House of Representatives' role as controller of the purse strings gives it sufficient injury to challenge the administration's alleged misallocation of public funds related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans told a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Feb. 27 (United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-1967, D. D.C.).
BOSTON - A New York operator of skilled nursing facilities has entered into an agreement with the United States to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations concerning inflated Medicare claims for rehabilitation therapy, according to a March 2 news release issued by the U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Feb. 25 declined to dismiss a suit in which the plaintiff accused his health insurance company of breach of contract for allegedly wrongfully informing him that the effective date of his coverage was later than it really was, causing the plaintiff to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer later than necessary (Kent Wilson v. Humana Health Plan Inc., No. 14-3259, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22672).
MIAMI - A district court properly sanctioned a nonparty financing firm for providing an expert economist witness in a life insurance fraud trial, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 26, finding that the firm educated the witness to answer questions that were helpful to it but did not instruct him on any questions that might have cast the firm in a bad light (Steven A. Sciarretta v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-12559, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2864).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on Feb. 26 denied an employment practices liability insurer's motion to dismiss or stay an insured's bad faith claim in a coverage dispute over an underlying wrongful termination lawsuit (Children's Safety Center Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 14-05274, W.D. Ark.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23963).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 27 reversed and remanded a lower federal court's $166,518.17 judgment in favor of Florida insureds in a sinkhole coverage dispute with their homeowners insurer (Severin Hegel, et al. v. The First Liberty Insurance Corp., No. 14-10549, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3024).
CONCORD, N.H. - An insurer told a federal court in New Hampshire on Feb. 27 that its suit against a reinsurer should not be dismissed based on the reinsurer's argument that it was not properly served notice of the suit (TIG Insurance Company v. EIFlow Insurance Limited, No. 14-cv-00459, D. N.H.).
WILMINGTON, N.C. - The three-year statute of limitations precludes a subrogated insurer's negligence and breach of contract claims against manufacturers and individuals who allegedly failed to repair a dryer that caused a fire to insureds, a North Carolina federal judge ruled Feb. 25 (State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Lowe's Companies Inc., et al., No. 14-441, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23625).
CHICAGO - Allstate Life Insurance Co.'s breach of contract lawsuit against a former life insurance agent and his agency is better suited to Florida federal court, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Feb. 23, explaining that all of the former agent's allegedly fraudulent conduct occurred in Florida (Allstate Life Insurance Company v. Stanley W. Burns Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-7098, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20905).
PHOENIX - An Arizona federal judge ruled Feb. 23 that there is an issue regarding the extent of excess coverage toward a settlement in an underlying construction defects case and whether the insurer acted in bad faith regarding the investigation, evaluation and processing of the claim for a trial to determine (Lexington Insurance Co. v. Scott Homes Multifamily Inc. and Silverbell 290 Limited Partnership, No. 12-02119, D. Ariz.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21205).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insolvent Oklahoma insurer on Feb. 19 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to lift the stay of an appeal in a case against it, noting that the liquidating Oklahoma court had approved of lifting the stay (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as Receiver for Security Pacific Bank v. BancInsure, Inc., No. 14-56132, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 19 denied an insured's motion to dismiss an insurer's lawsuit disputing coverage for legal fees and costs that the insured incurred in an underlying lawsuit arising from its investment in a guar bean company (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. Scopia Windmill Fund LP, et al., No. 14-cv-8002 (JSR), S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20318).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 let stand a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that even though a disability plan's summary plan description (SPD) did not comply with the notice and disclosure requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it described only one level of internal review, a claimant's case was properly dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies because she did not establish that the SPD's deficiencies caused her failure to pursue a second-level internal review (Lucrecia Caprio Holmes v. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Long Term Disability Plan, No. 14-551, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 denied a disability claimant's petition for writ of certiorari challenging the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision that a disability insurer was not required to consider additional documentation the claimant submitted after her appeal was denied by the insurer (Sharon Blair v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 14-670, U.S. Sup.).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A majority of the Illinois Supreme Court found Feb. 20 that a professional liability insurance policy was properly rescinded for a material misrepresentation made by an attorney and an appeals court erred when it applied the innocent insured doctrine and partially served the policy to preserve coverage for the attorney's partner (Illinois State Bar Association Mutual Insurance Co. v. Law Office of Tuzzolino and Terpinas et al., No. 117096, Ill. Sup.; 2015 Ill. LEXIS 304).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 20 dismissed a subrogated insurer's professional negligence claim against a contractor regarding water damage arising from a fire sprinkler system installed by the contractor (Insurance Company of Greater New York, as subrogee of Five Star Hotels LLC d/b/a Holiday Inn Parkway East v. Fire Fighter Sales & Service Co., No. 11-1078, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20531).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 20 reversed and remanded a lower court, holding that ordering the state's insurance guarantor to participate in an appraisal of a home's sinkhole damage is at odds with the guarantor's statutory mandate (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, Inc. v. Donna Frank, No. 2D13-5453, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 2352).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida judge on Feb. 19 ordered a Nevada-domiciled insurer into an ancillary receivership after the insurer was put into liquidation in its home state (State of Florida, ex rel., the Florida Department of Financial Services v. Sensible Home Warranty, LLC, No. 2015-CA-0273, Fla. Cir., 2nd Cir., Leon Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge applied Alabama law on Feb. 20 to dismiss breach of contract and bad faith claims against a commercial liability insurer regarding its duty to indemnify a settlement of an underlying construction defects case (MI Windows & Doors LLC f/k/a MI Windows & Doors Inc. and MI Home Products Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-3139, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20544).
BEAUMONT, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 19 affirmed a lower court's judgment in favor of an insured as modified in a coverage dispute over damage caused by Hurricane Ike (National Lloyds Insurance Co. v. Latosha A. Lewis, No. 09-13-00413-CV, Texas App., 9th Dist.; 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 1573).
NEW CASTLE, Del. - A woman's appeal of three decisions by the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (UIAB) was denied Feb. 19 by a Delaware Superior Court judge, who ruled that the appeal was untimely because it was filed more than 10 days after the decisions were final (Tiara Hall v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, No. N14A-02-006-ALR, Del. Sup., New Castle Co.; 2015 Del Super. LEXIS 84).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Feb. 17 remanded a disability claimant's suit to allow an insurer to evaluate the claimant's entitlement to benefits based on the claimant's medical condition after determining that the insurer incorrectly denied benefits because it failed to extend the claimant's eligibility for coverage based on the claimant's payment of premiums (Kevin Culhane v. Aetna Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 14-76, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19435).
DAYTON, Ohio - A federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 17 granted summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had "reasonable justification" for denying coverage and canceling the insured's commercial homeowners insurance policy after a fire (Dion Ross v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 13-401, S.D. Ohio; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18707).