SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 16 remanded an insured's claim seeking coverage for almost $500,000 incurred for the transport of her daughter from a hospital in Mexico to a hospital in Seattle by air ambulance because the plan administrator did not consider all of the available information before denying the claim on the basis that the air transport was not for an emergency (Aviation West Charters LLC, d/b/a Angel Medflight v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., No. 16-436, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190114).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In the wake of orders partly dismissing their claims and compelling arbitration of some parties' claims, the plaintiffs in a putative class action against Intuit Inc. filed an amended complaint in California federal court Nov. 17, restating negligence and unfair competition claims related to the filing of fraudulent tax returns by criminals that exploited purported lax security in Intuit's TurboTax software (In re Intuit Data Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-01778, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A disability plan administrator did not abuse its discretion in offsetting a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits to account for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits that she receives for her dependents, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 17 in affirming a district court's ruling for the plan (Susan Rene Jones v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 16-16172, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23244).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 remanded a disability claimant's suit after determining that a district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding the cause of the claimant's disability and whether the plan's pre-existing conditions exclusion applies (Kristian Horneland v. United of Omaha Insurance Co., No. 16-16935, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23129).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 appointed the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants in the new Chapter 11 case of Bestwall LLC, selecting one of three claimants who requested to sit on the committee in addition to the nine claimants proposed by the U.S. bankruptcy administrator (In re Bestwall LLC, No. 17-31795, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Responding to the U.S. government's objection to a court-imposed requirement that keyword searches be utilized in searching email accounts targeted by warrants, an Alabama federal judge on Nov. 17 directed the government to submit a brief explaining the search framework it would rather use (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).
SEATTLE - Although borrowers filed their notice of an intent to rescind their loan under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) within the required three-year statute of limitations, a Washington federal judge on Nov. 16 found that their claims for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages were all time-barred (Jerry Hoang, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 17-0874, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190088, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190088).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Hydraulic fracturing companies on Nov. 16 filed a brief in Arkansas federal court contending that residents who have sued them alleging property damage as a result of the companies' disposal of fracking waste "consistently take liberty with the facts to add more baseless sanctions noise to this case" (Bobbie Hill, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Co., No. 12-500, E.D. Ark.).
CHICAGO - Efforts by two defendants to obtain dismissal of allegations they committed copyright and trademark infringement by copying and exhibiting photographs by the late Vivian Maier were unsuccessful on Nov. 20, when an Illinois federal judge deemed claims by a public administrator appointed to Maier's estate upon her death in 2009 adequately pleaded (The Estate of Vivian Maier v. Jeffrey Goldstein, et al., No. 17-2951, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191294).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal magistrate judge on Nov. 20 recommended that allegations that WhatsApp Inc. infringed two electronic messaging patents should proceed, rejecting a request for dismissal on grounds of patent ineligibility (TriPlay Inc. v. WhatsApp Inc., No. 13-1703, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191330).
CHICAGO - Chicago Mayor Rahm Manuel announced Nov. 20 that the city filed a notice of intent to sue U.S. Steel for contamination to drinking water as a result of two spills from the company's Portage, Ind., facility that reached Lake Michigan earlier this year.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California appeals panel on Nov. 16 reversed a trial judge's decision to award summary judgment to a general contractor accused of construction defects, holding that the man should be allowed to present evidence to demonstrate that his allegations of defectively installed plumbing are timely (Michael Letourneau v. Turner Construction Company, No. D071680, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7847).
NEW YORK - The New York Court of Appeals determined Nov. 20 that a lower court erred in its application of a rule under Cayman law barring a reinsurer's shareholder from bringing derivative claims against the reinsurer, its directors and its affiliates (Paul Davis v. Scottish Re Group Ltd., et al., No. 111, N.Y. App., 2017 N.Y. LEXIS 3277).
UTICA, N.Y. - In a dispute over a $325 million settlement of asbestos claims, a New York federal judge on Nov. 16 addressed a number of motions filed by an insurer and a reinsurer to preclude expert testimony and certain arguments from trial (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189911).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 16 entered a judgment of more than $3.5 million against an insurance company in a dispute over the amount of coverage owed to a company's liquidating trust for asbestos personal injury claims, including attorney fees and a $60,000 penalty for the insurer's "vexatious and unreasonable conduct" in the case (In re CFB Liquidating Corporation, f/k/a Chicago Fire Brick Co., et al., No. 01-45483, [Barry A. Chatz, as Trustee for the CFB/WFB Liquidating Trust v. Continental Casualty Company, No. 15-4136] N.D. Calif. Bkcy., 2017 Bankr. LEXIS 3938).
ST. LOUIS - No coverage is afforded for an underlying suit alleging claims related to the cleanup of lead dust after the removal of lead paint from a high school because the policy's pollution endorsement applies only in limited circumstances and the policy's lead exclusion clearly bars coverage, a Missouri federal judge said Nov. 20 (Rice Painting Co. Inc. v. Depositors Insurance Co., No. 15-1064, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191355).
TRENTON, N.J. - An insurer owes no additional coverage to its insureds for mold damages caused by a leaking water pipe in the wall of a shower because the policy at issue clearly limited coverage for mold damage to $10,000 under a mold rider, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court said Nov. 15 (Eugene J. Payor, et al. v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., No. A-0345-16T2, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2851).
DETROIT - An insurer is responsible to cover damage from wind-driven rain to condominium units but is not responsible for damage caused by construction defects, a Michigan appeals panel held Nov. 16, reversing summary disposition to the insurer (Walters Beach Condominium Association v. Home-Owners Insurance Co., No. 335172, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1810).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Nov. 16 determined that questions of material fact exist regarding the application of an insurer's exclusions for deterioration and rot to an insured condominium association's claim for water intrusion damages that occurred over time to the exterior cladding of two of the association's buildings (Sunwood Condominium Association v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 16-1012, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189892).
ST. LOUIS - Following a Nov. 20 fairness hearing, a Missouri federal judge issued an order that same day granting final approval to an $11.2 million settlement between the operators of the Ashley Madison website and users of the site whose personally identifiable information (PII) was exposed in a 2015 data breach, with the judge deeming the settlement "to be the product of thorough, serious, informed, and non-collusive negotiations" (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).