LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Bad Faith Claim Against Insurer Is Not Supported, Federal Magistrate Judge Says

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A review of the communications between an insurer and its insured's counsel after the insurer was notified that the insured was pursuing a claim for underinsured motorist benefits does not support a claim of bad faith against the insurer, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge said April 10 in granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Tracey Ridolfi v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-859, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54267).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Bad Faith Claim Insufficient In Auto Insurance Dispute

PHILADELPHIA - An insured has failed to plead whether his insurance bad faith claim is a common-law contract law claim or a statutory claim, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 10 in dismissing the bad faith claim with leave to amend (Jeremy Z. Mittman v. Nationwide Affinity Insurance Co., No. 16-04658, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54220).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Third-Party Administrator From Disability Benefits Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on April 4 dismissed a third-party administrator from a disability claimant's suit seeking benefits because the third-party administrator did not exercise final authority over disputed claims (Kimberly Lash v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-235, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51029).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information

PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Finds Coke Had No Contractual Duty To Safeguard Employee Information

PHILADELPHIA - Finding that The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) had neither an express nor implied contractual duty to protect its employees' personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 31 granted summary judgment to the beverage company on a putative breach of contract class action related to the theft of laptops containing employee information (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49920).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Vacates $4.24M Verdict In Groundwater Lawsuit Against Fracking Company

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on March 31 vacated a $4.24 million verdict handed down in favor of a group of residents against a hydraulic fracturing company they had accused of contaminating their groundwater. The judge ordered that a new trial be held if the parties are unable to reach a mutual settlement on the remaining claims in the lawsuit (Nolen Scott Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, No. 09-2284, M.D. Pa.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49075).

Mealey's Insurance - Liquidator Of Insolvent Insurer Reports Collection Of $17M In Reinsurance

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer submitted her report to a Pennsylvania court on March 28, outlining $17.2 million in reinsurance collections and other details (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Appeals Court Finds Woman Waived Sufficiency-Of-Evidence Argument

HARRISBURG, Pa. - An appeals court panel in Pennsylvania on March 23 affirmed a woman's conviction and sentencing for insurance fraud, finding that she waived her argument challenging the sufficiency of the evidence that was presented during trial (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Emma Comer, No. 1520 MDA 2016, Penn. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1100).

Mealey's Insurance - Homeowner's Insurer Paid Full Amount Of Claims, Magistrate Judge Concludes

PHILADELPHIA - A homeowner's insurer paid the entire amount it owed to insureds for damage to their home because the insureds failed to offer expert reports to rebut the insurer's evidence that the unpaid portions were not covered, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 22, granting summary judgment to the insurer on a breach of contract claim (Scot Fazio and Dawn Fazio v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-1987, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41604).

Mealey's IP/Tech - New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late

ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late

ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Says Insurer Never Asked For Policy To Be Reinsured

PHILADELPHIA - A reinsurer asked a federal court in Pennsylvania on March 21 to dismiss an insurer's breach of contract counterclaim because the insurer allegedly never linked an underlying policy to a facultative certificate and, therefore, there is no contract between the parties reinsuring that policy (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Proposed Attorney Fees Reduced By Almost A Third Following TCPA Settlement

PHILADELPHIA - While a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class settlement agreement reached in a lawsuit against a water ice company allowed for class counsel to seek attorney fees and expenses up to $1 million, the class counsel are entitled to only $651,000 in fees and $40,073.97 in expenses, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 16 (Sherry Brown, et al. v. Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company LLC, No. 15-3509, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37676).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Pittsburgh Corning Trust Opposes $9 Billion In Claims From Texas Litigation

PITTSBURGH - Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Remands Issue On Depreciation Rate, Affirms Dismissal Of Bad Faith Claim

HARRISBURG, Pa. - After finding that a genuine issue of fact exists as to the value of a property destroyed by a fire, a Pennsylvania court on March 10 reversed a portion of a trial court's ruling for an insurer but affirmed a finding that the insurer did not act in bad faith when it denied the insureds certain coverage under the policy (Sabrina Brown v. Everett Cash Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 1549 WDA 2015, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 161).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania Department Of Revenue Removes Vaping Tax Suit To Federal Court

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on March 9 removed a suit in which it is accused of creating an overly broad list of e-cigarette and tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Act of Pennsylvania that are taxed to federal court in Pennsylvania because many of the claims are based in federal law (Kingdom Vapor, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, No. 3:02-at-06000, Pa. M.D.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Approves Request For Direct Payments From Reinsurer To Insured

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on March 8 approved an arrangement under which a reinsurer will make direct payments to a policyholder of an insolvent insurer (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Decides Motions In Construction Defects Insurance Dispute

SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a coverage dispute between various insurers over their responsibility toward an underlying construction defects settlement, a California federal judge on March 7 addressed four summary judgment motions on multiple key issues from the duty to defend to the number of occurrences (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, et al., No. 15-02744, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32551).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Releases Liquidator Of Further Responsibilities In Liquidation

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Following the final distribution of an insolvent insurer's assets, a Pennsylvania judge on March 8 released the state's insurance commissioner of her duties regarding the liquidation estate (In re: Commonwealth Insurance Co., No. 1 CIC 2014, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Partly Grants Motion To Compel In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer's employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Partly Grants Motion To Compel In Professional Liability Coverage Dispute

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 7 granted a law firm insured's motion to compel a professional liability insurer to produce underwriting materials but found that the insured failed to satisfy the heightened relevancy standard applicable to its discovery request for personnel files of three of the insurer's employees (Westport Insurance Corp. v. Hippo Fleming & Pertile Law Offices, et al., No. 15-251, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31659).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insured Failed To Show Insurer's Investigation Of Claim Was In Bad Faith

PITTSBURGH - An insured has failed to show that his insurer's offer to settle his homeowners insurance claim "lacked a reasonable basis" or that the settlement offer "was not supported by a thorough and even-handed investigation," a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled March 2 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss with prejudice (Randy Gowton v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-1164, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29390).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Internal Hospital Record Doesn't Doom Asbestos-Lung Cancer Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A reference to asbestos in what appears to be an internal hospital document is not sufficient to put a couple on notice of a potential cause of his lung cancer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held March 8 (Joseph Conneen and Kathleen Conneen v. Amatek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 15-1063, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29787).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Internal Hospital Record Doesn't Doom Asbestos-Lung Cancer Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A reference to asbestos in what appears to be an internal hospital document is not sufficient to put a couple on notice of a potential cause of his lung cancer, a federal judge in Pennsylvania held March 8 (Joseph Conneen and Kathleen Conneen v. Amatek Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 15-1063, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29787).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Orders Liquidation Of Insolvent Pennsylvania Insurer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge on March 1 ordered the liquidation of an insolvent insurer that had been in rehabilitation since 2009 (In Re: Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company in Rehabilitation, No. 1 PEN 2009, Pa. Cmwlth.).