LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Amount In Controversy Standard In Bad Faith Suit Not Met

LOS ANGELES - Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is proper, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 1, because an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy meets the statutory requirements for removal (Jules Kraut, et al. v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co., No. 16-6791, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166929).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Finds Seaman's Claims Related To Arbitration Provision

LAKE CHARLES, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Nov. 30 adopted a report and recommendation that found that a ship employee's injury-related claims were subject to an arbitration agreement in his employment contract and refusing to remand the case to a state court (Ali Imam Shah v. Blue Wake Shipping, No. 2:16 -CV-00529, W.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165561).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Damages Expert Barred From Opining On Certain Damages In Agreement Dispute, Judge Says

NEW YORK - A damages expert is excluded from testifying on a credit card company's damages for additional issuing and acquiring opportunities from a termination of a deal with MasterCard International Inc., a New York federal judge ruled Nov. 29, also granting summary judgment in part to MasterCard on a breach of contract claim (International Cards Company Ltd. v. MasterCard International Inc., No. 13-2576, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165225).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Missouri Does Not Recognize Bad Faith Refusal To Pay Claim

ST. LOUIS - Dismissal of a bad faith claim in an insurance dispute is proper because the state does not recognize a claim for bad faith refusal to pay benefits, but an insured has properly stated his claim for breach of contract against the insurer, a federal judge in Missouri ruled Nov. 29 in granting in part and denying in part the insurer's motion to dismiss (Roger L. Smith v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 16-0187, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163444).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Partially Grants, Denies Summary Judgment In Tobacco Contract Suit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on Nov. 28 partially granted and partially denied a motion for summary judgment by a hotel, finding that a cigar wholesaler breached a contract it had with a hotel in Las Vegas (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163570).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Minnesota Jury Awards $7.55 Million In E. Coli Suit

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota jury on Nov. 22 found that the company that owns a pumpkin patch was liable for the kidney damage a child suffered from contracting E. coli from a petting zoo at the pumpkin patch and awarded her and her family $7.55 million (Stephanie Heidish, et al. v. Dehn's Pumpkins LLC, No. 27-CV-14-17068, Minn. Dist., 4th Jud., Hennepin Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Reverses Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Errors, Omissions Liability Dispute

HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut appeals court found that an insurer's duty to defend was not barred by a public entity errors and omission liability insurance policy's contract exclusion because an underlying complaint left open the possibility that a negligent misrepresentation claim against the insured did not arise out of a contract, reversing and remanding a lower court in an opinion to be officially released Dec. 6 (Town of Monroe v. Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Co., No. AC 38332, Conn. App.; 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS 443).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 4th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Breach Of Contract Suit

RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 22 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a lawyer and his consulting firm's lawsuit alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, unauthorized use of name and trademark and copyright infringement (Devil's Advocate LLC, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-1048, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20952).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Calif. Court Upholds Evidence, Instructions On Way To Affirming Asbestos Verdict

LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Calif. Court Upholds Evidence, Instructions On Way To Affirming Asbestos Verdict

LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Calif. Court Upholds Evidence, Instructions On Way To Affirming Asbestos Verdict

LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Mealey's Insurance - 4th Circuit Affirms Ruling In Insurer's Favor In Breach Of Contract Suit

RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 22 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling in favor of an insurer in a lawyer and his consulting firm's lawsuit alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, unauthorized use of name and trademark and copyright infringement (Devil's Advocate LLC, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-1048, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20952).

Mealey's Health Law - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: ERISA Controls Breach Of Contract, Fiduciary Duty Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Allows Insured To Add Wife As Indispensable Party In Bad Faith Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 rejected an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit for failure to join an indispensable party, allowing an insured to amend his complaint to add his wife as a plaintiff (William Koepke v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co., No. 16-4633, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161112).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Breached Insurance Policy, But Reading Of Policy Was Reasonable

SEATTLE - A federal judge in Washington on Nov. 18 granted in part and denied in part competing motions for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that although an insurer breached its contract with its insureds under a homeowners insurance policy, its reading of the policy was reasonable (Noah Baskett, et al. v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., No. 15-1317, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160449).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: State Law Bars Insurers From Indemnifying For Punitive Damages Awards

FRESNO, Calif. - An insurer is entitled to summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 18, because California law bars insurers from indemnifying their insureds for punitive damages awards (Paul Evert's RV Country Inc., et al. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-0124, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160519).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge: ERISA Controls Breach Of Contract, Fiduciary Duty Claims

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge in an opinion filed Nov. 18 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand a case alleging improper denial of claims under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-qualified health plan to state court, saying that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are properly brought under ERISA (Eric A. Shore P.C. v. Independence Blue Cross, et al., No. 16-5224, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160022).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Genuine Issues Preclude Ruling On Contract Issues, Judge Finds

PHOENIX - A federal judge in Arizona on Nov. 21 denied cross-motions for partial summary judgment on breach of contract claims in a suit over indemnification for cleanup from contamination from underground storage tank (UST) leaks, finding that too many issues of material fact exist as to whether the discovery rule or tolling doctrines apply under Arizona law (Greyhound Lines Incorporated v. Viad Corporation, No. CV-15-01820-PHX-DGC, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160960).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fraud Claim Against Insured Is Not An 'Occurrence' Due To Intentional Conduct

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Property owners' fraud claim is not a covered "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy because they allege intentional intent by an insured contractor, an Arkansas federal judge ruled Nov. 18, also upholding a previous decision that the insurer had a duty to defend a breach of contract claim (Columbia Insurance Group Inc. and Columbia Mutual Insurance Company Inc. v. Arkansas Infrastructure Inc., et al., No. 14-00512, E.D. Ark.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160151).

Mealey's Insurance - Amount In Controversy In Bad Faith Suit Doesn't Exceed $75,000, Judge Rules

LOS ANGELES - On his own motion, a federal judge in California on Nov. 17 remanded an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that an insurer failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeded the statutory requirement (Maria L. Monroy, et al. v. Infinity Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-5296, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159591).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Dismisses Case Filed Over Iraqi Facility Project For Lack Of Standing

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 14 found that the owner of an Iraqi company that was contracted to build a vehicle maintenance facility in Iraq failed to show that he had standing to sue the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and a company in relation to an arbitral award dismissing his claims (Wameedh Al Azzawi v. International Centre for Dispute Resolution, et al., No. 16-548, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157712).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer Liable For Default Judgment Up To $2M Multiple Claims Policy Limit

CINCINNATI - Ruling on dueling summary judgment motions, an Ohio federal judge on Nov. 9 held that an insurer is not entitled to rescind its professional errors and omissions liability policy and breached its contract as a matter of law by both refusing to defend its insured in an underlying lawsuit and refusing to pay the damages award that was legally obtained against its insured in a default judgment (Maxum Indemnity Co. v. National Condo & Apartment Insurance Group, et al., No. 13-191, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155576).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Insurer's Actions During Negotiations Do Not Support Bad Faith Claim

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 9 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that an insured failed to present any evidence to support her bad faith claim with regard to the insurer's handling of her homeowners insurance claim (Lillian Pecko v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 16-1988, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155355).