BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - In a dispute over a series of insurance and reinsurance contracts, a Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 12 declined to enforce a forum selection clause in a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) because it does not apply to the bulk of an insured's claims against its workers' compensation insurer and its affiliates (Charter Oak Oil Co. Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 17-00689, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147181).
JACKSON, Miss. - Former members of a failed self-insurers fund are liable for a pro-rata share of workers' compensation claims, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Aug. 31, affirming summary judgment in favor of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Group Self-Insurer Guaranty Association because indemnity agreements hold the former members responsible to pay (Scott Penn Inc., et al. v. Mississippi Workers' Compensation Group Self-Insurer Guaranty Association, No. 2016-CA-00944-SCT, Miss. Sup., 2017 Miss. LEXIS 353).
ATLANTA - In a dispute over whether workers' compensation policies insured certain staffing companies for claims also tendered to an insolvent insurer, a Georgia federal judge issued a protective order on Aug. 28 on the procedures for sealing confidential materials (Georgia Insurers Insolvency Pool v. Sussex Insurance Co., No. 16-3975, N.D. Ga.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An industrial hygienist's affidavit and supporting evidence conclusively establish the last injurious exposure in an asbestos workers' compensation case, West Virginia's top court held Aug. 24 (Arnold Marcum v. Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, No. 16-0924, W.Va. Sup. App., 2017 W. Va. LEXIS 622).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Insurance Guaranty Association (TIGA) argues in an Aug. 14 brief that a Tennessee federal court should remand its reimbursement dispute over a workers' compensation claim against book publishers because diversity jurisdiction is not present (Tennessee Insurance Guaranty Association v. Penguin Random House LLC, et al., No. 17-1070, M.D. Tenn.).
LINCOLN, Neb. - A workers' compensation insurer and a reinsurer's billing agent have no standing to bring a claim for breach of a "Reinsurance Participation Agreement" (RPA), the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled July 21, dismissing their case (Applied Underwriters Inc., et al. v. S.E.B. Services of New York Inc., et al., No. S-16-496, Neb. Sup., 2017 Neb. LEXIS 132).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) breached its statutory duty to reimburse a joint powers authority for excess workers' compensation coverage owed under an insolvent insurer's policy, a California appeals panel affirmed July 17 (CSAC Excess Insurance Authority v. California Insurance Guarantee Association, No. C081775, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4854).
AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas appellate panel on July 13 reversed a $43 million verdict for a man who was injured while working on a construction site, finding that Texas' Workers' Compensation Act precludes recovery of common-law damages (Berkel & Company Contractors Inc. v. Tyler Lee, No. 14-15-00787-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist.).
HELENA, Mont. - A trial judge did not err in granting summary judgment to an insured employer against the Montana Insurance Guaranty Association (MIGA) based on the exclusivity provision of the Montana Workers' Compensation Act (WCA), a majority of the Montana Supreme Court affirmed June 13 (Asurion Services LLC v. Montana Insurance Guaranty Association, No.16-0581, Mont. Sup., 2017 Mont. LEXIS 339).
NEW YORK - In a dispute regarding reinsurance of workers' compensation risks, a New York federal judge on June 8 ordered the parties to arbitration, noting that it "is entirely speculative" whether an arbitrator will rule on the role of a group of companies as real parties in interest (In the matter of the arbitration between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 16-CV-8821, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88470).
MADISON, Wis. - Environmental asbestos exposure claims appear to simply be an attempt at avoiding the exclusivity provision of the state's workers' compensation law, while claims involving the licensing of a patent appear entirely frivolous and must be explained, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal held June 6 while affirming judgment for the two companies at the heart of the appeal (Janet Pecher, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-1799, Dianne Jacobs, et al. v. Rapid American and Weyerhaeuser Co. and Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2376, Katrina Masephol v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2377, Robert Sydow, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2378, Kathy Boyer v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 16-2379, Janice Seehafer v. Weyerhaeuser Co., et al., No. 16-2380., 7th Cir.).
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Supreme Court on May 19 reversed a jury's $25 million punitive damages award entered in favor of an insured after determining that a trial court erred in ruling on motions for summary judgment that a workers' compensation insurer acted in bad faith by contesting the insured's request for a lump-sum settlement of a workers' compensation claim (Toby Thornton v. American Interstate Insurance Co., No. 15-1032, Iowa Sup., 2017 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 52).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 9 scheduled oral argument on whether a dispute regarding reinsurance of workers' compensation risks should be sent to arbitration for a panel to decide (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - While not uncontested, enough evidence supports a law judge's conclusion that an employee was both exposed to asbestos and other chemicals within the compensable period for a workers' compensation claim and that the exposure was significant enough to cause bladder cancer, a Pennsylvania appeals court held May 4 (Kimberly Clark Corp. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, No. 656 C.D. 2016, Pa. Cmwlth., 2017 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 175).
BOSTON - Interest for an employee's workers' compensation claim against an insolvent insurer starts from the date the Department of Industrial Accidents received notice of the claim resulting in the award of benefits, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed May 8 (Jeffrey Comeau v. Enterprise Electronics Inc. and Eastern Casualty Insurance Co. in liquidation c/o Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund, No. 2016-P-0134, Mass. App., 2017 Mass. App. LEXIS 54).
NEW YORK - Apportionment of liability between employers who exposed a man pursing a workers' compensation case is inappropriate where all the evidence leads one to conclude that he suffered from no symptoms or disease prior to his May 1999 pleural plaques diagnosis, a New York appeals court held May 4 (In the matter of the claim of Robert Manocchio v. ABB Combustion Engineering, et al., No. 522436, N.Y. Sup. App., 3rd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3509).
LOS ANGELES - California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) is entitled to an order vacating and setting aside three reimbursement demands of $119,122 made under workers' compensation insurance policies, a California federal judge ruled May 3 (California Insurance Guarantee Association v. Thomas E. Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 15-cv-01113, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67589).
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A neurologist used proper methodology and produced sufficient documentation to support his opinion that a man is suffering from toxic encephalopathy caused by his exposure to the chemical toluene in the spray paint he used at work, the Kentucky Supreme Court held April 28 in affirming a ruling on the man's disability in a workers' compensation case (Armstrong Coal Company, Inc. v. Nathan Attebury, et al., No. 2016-SC-000368-WC, Ky. Sup., 2017 Ky. Unpub. LEXIS 10).
BALTIMORE - A man's asbestos-related exposures occurring during work covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide his employer with immunity from third-party claims, a federal judge in Maryland held April 25 in granting a railroad summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62255).