LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
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.).

Drinking Water Legislation / Lead Pennsylvania Drinking Water Bill Mandating Lead Tests Referred To Committee

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania General Assembly on Feb. 28 referred to committee a bill that would give power to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to appropriate money to provide safe drinking water by testing public water systems for lead.

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pennsylvania Superior Court Affirms $10 Million Verdict In Medical Malpractice Suit

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Feb. 28 affirmed a $10 million medical malpractice verdict against the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) after finding that none of the hospital's claims of error had merit in a case where a woman claimed that the hospital failed to properly diagnose and treat her son, leading to his brain damage (Shantice Tillery v. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, et al., No. 1508 EDA 2016, Pa. Super, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 134).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pa. Tilted Kilt Pub Will Pay $300,000 To Settle Tipped Employees' Wage Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 24 granted final approval of a $300,000 settlement to be paid by a suburban Philadelphia restaurant to end class claims by its tipped employees who alleged that the pub failed to pay them for all compensable time and required them to purchase employer-mandated uniforms in violation of federal and state wage laws (Victoria Graudins v. KOP Kilt, LLC, d/b/a The Tilted Kilt Pub, et al., No. 14-2589, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25926).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Pa. Tilted Kilt Pub Will Pay $300,000 To Settle Tipped Employees' Wage Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 24 granted final approval of a $300,000 settlement to be paid by a suburban Philadelphia restaurant to end class claims by its tipped employees who alleged that the pub failed to pay them for all compensable time and required them to purchase employer-mandated uniforms in violation of federal and state wage laws (Victoria Graudins v. KOP Kilt, LLC, d/b/a The Tilted Kilt Pub, et al., No. 14-2589, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25926).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Cosby Accuser, Ex-DA Argue Relevance Of Criminal Case Filings In Defamation Suit

PHILADELPHIA - In a Feb.27 filing in Pennsylvania federal court, Andrea Constand, who has accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, opposes a former Pennsylvania district attorney's motion to compel production of documents from her 2005 suit against Cosby, asserting that the documents are irrelevant to her present defamation/false light claim against the former DA (Andrea Constand v. Bruce Castor, No. 2:15-cv-05799, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Liquidator Wants Reinsurer To Pay Workers' Compensation Policyholder Directly

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of the insolvent Reliance Insurance Co. asked a Pennsylvania court on Feb. 23 to approve an agreement under which a policyholder would receive direct payments from one of Reliance's reinsurers (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court Orders New Trial After Judge Overseeing Defects Case Retires

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania appeals panel on Feb. 17 ordered a new trial on liability and damages in a construction defects case after learning that the judge who presided over the suit had retired and that no other judge could prepare a supplemental opinion explaining his rulings (Leo J. Dolan v. Hurd Millwork Company Inc., et al., No. 2951 EDA 2015 Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 691).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 2 Of 4 Wyndham Divisions Dismissed From Hotel Pricing Fraud Class Suit

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 15 dismissed two of four Wyndham divisions in a class complaint alleging fraud via hidden hotel charges, finding that those two divisions were not provided fair notice (Thomas Luca, Jr. v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., et al., No. 16-746, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21433).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: 'Vacancy Provision' Does Not Exclude Insured's Water Damage Claim

SCRANTON, Pa. - Because more than 31 percent of an insured condominium development's common areas were in use at the time a loss for water damage occurred, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Feb. 10 that an insurance policy's "Vacancy Provision" does not apply to exclude coverage for the insured's claim (Village Heights Condominium Association v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 16-554, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19425).

Mealey's Insurance - U.S. Attorney's Office: Podiatrist Sentenced To 97 Months For Fraud Scheme

PHILADELPHIA - A judge in Pennsylvania federal court sentenced a former podiatrist to 97 months in prison and ordered him to pay $4.9 million in restitution after pleading guilty to health care fraud for submitting bills to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for procedures that were not performed or medically unnecessary, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Feb. 7 (United States of America v. Stephen A. Monaco, No. 16cr255, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Google Ordered To Produce Foreign-Stored Data Sought By FBI Warrants

PHILADELPHIA - In a Feb. 3 ruling, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate concluded that compelling Google Inc. to comply with warrants requiring production of data stored in foreign-based servers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation "does not constitute an unlawful extraterritorial application of the" Stored Communications Act (SCA) (In re Search Warrant No. 16-960-M-01 to Google, No. 2:16-mj-00960 and In re Search Warrant No. 16-1061-M to Google, No. 2:16-mj-01061, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15232).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Assures Confidentiality Of Material In Asbestos-Related Reinsurance Case

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania in a reinsurance dispute over asbestos-related claims granted on Feb. 2 an insurer's unopposed motion for the issuance of a protective order regarding confidential information (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Assures Confidentiality Of Material In Asbestos-Related Reinsurance Case

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania in a reinsurance dispute over asbestos-related claims granted on Feb. 2 an insurer's unopposed motion for the issuance of a protective order regarding confidential information (R&Q Reinsurance Company v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-01473, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Delay In Appraisal Process Supports Insureds' Bad Faith Claim

PHILADELPHIA - Although insureds have failed to plead their claim for breach of contract against their insurer, they have shown that the insurer's delay in taking part in a mandatory appraisal process was in bad faith, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 30 in granting in part and denying in part the insurer's motion to dismiss (Charles Dagit, et al .v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-3843, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12124).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Bankruptcy Asset Sale Bars Take-Home Asbestos Case, Court Says

PHILADELPHIA - A "free and clear" sale of assets in a bankruptcy court auction precludes holding the purchaser liable for pre-purchase take-home asbestos exposures, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 26 (Jacqueline S. Wagner and Thomas H. Wagner v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 850 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Bankruptcy Asset Sale Bars Take-Home Asbestos Case, Court Says

PHILADELPHIA - A "free and clear" sale of assets in a bankruptcy court auction precludes holding the purchaser liable for pre-purchase take-home asbestos exposures, a Pennsylvania appeals court held Jan. 26 (Jacqueline S. Wagner and Thomas H. Wagner v. Standard Steel LLC, et al., No. 850 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Rules That Bad Faith Claims Meet Removal Guidelines

PITTSBURGH - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit is not proper because the parties are sufficiently diverse and the plaintiffs' bad faith claim seeks damages in excess of the statutory limits, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 30 in denying the plaintiffs' motion to remand and an insurer's motion to dismiss (Deborah A. Marks, et al. v. Utica First Insurance Co., No. 16-1671, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12096).