PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 20 dismissed a dentist insured's breach of contract claim and some of her bad faith claims against her malpractice insurer but allowed the remaining bad faith claims to proceed because of existing issues of fact that must be resolved by a jury (Susan McMahon v. The Medical Protective Co., No. 13-991, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35131).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - An Indian tribe waived its objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s large employer mandate by not raising them during the rulemaking process, and its action runs afoul of the Anti-Injunction Act's (AIA) bar on tax challenges taxes, the government told a federal judge on March 19 (Northern Arapaho Tribe, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-247, D. Wyo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30480).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on March 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against underlying claims that it violated Microsoft Corp.'s intellectual property rights by selling computers that were loaded with unauthorized copies of Microsoft's software (Erie Insurance Exchange v. Compeve Corp., et al., No. 1-14-2508, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 561).
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A federal judge in Georgia on March 20 awarded summary judgment to Infinity Auto Insurance Co. and granted the company's request to find that an automobile policy it issued to a man was void ab initio, after finding that the company provided sufficient evidence to show that the defendant misrepresented that his son occasionally lived with him when not at college (Infinity Auto Insurance Company v. Joseph Whigham, No. CV 13-214, S.D. Ga.; 2015 U.S Dist. LEXIS 35197).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on March 20 refused to dismiss bad faith claims filed by intervenors against an insurer for coverage in various underlying construction defects lawsuits (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Intrawest ULC f/k/a Intrawest Corp., et al., No. 13-00079, D. Colo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34973).
DES MOINES, Iowa - A rain limitation clause in a business insurance policy precludes coverage for damage caused by the rainwater escaping a ruptured interior drainpipe, a majority of the Iowa Supreme Court ruled March 20, finding that the policy does not provide coverage for damage "caused by rain," even if a system containing water was involved (Amish Connection Inc. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 13-0124, Iowa Sup.; 2015 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 32).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge dismissed on March 19 a contractor's breach of contract claim against an insurer brought in the contractor's capacity as an assignee, as well as a direct action under California Insurance Code Section 11580 claim brought as an assignee or contractual indemnitee against another insurer (Nordby Construction Inc. v. American Safety Indemnity Co., et al., No. 14-04074, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34513).
CHICAGO - The Illinois Supreme Court on March 19 affirmed an appeals court finding that Illinois Code of Civil Procedure Section 2-2201 imposes a duty of ordinary care on an insurance company's agent to procure the coverage that was specifically requested by the customer (Steven A. Skaperdas, et al. v. Country Casualty Insurance Co. and Tom Lessaris, No. 117021, Ill. Sup.; 2015 Ill. LEXIS 320).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 17 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that because an association's disability plan is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a disability claimant's state law claims are preempted (Martin J. Hayes v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al, No. 14-0714, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32543).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 19 affirmed that because a general and personal liability insurance policy bars coverage for defamation committed with an intent to injure, the insurer has no duty to defend against claims that an orthodontist posted online defamatory comments about a competitor (Sletten & Brettin Orthodontics, LLC, et al. v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 13-2918, 8th Cir.).
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).