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Mealey's Insurance - Judge Orders Parties To Arbitrate Reinsurance Suit Over Workers' Comp Risks

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Environmental Asbestos Exposure Claims Fail; Patent Claims Frivolous, Court Says

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Environmental Asbestos Exposure Claims Fail; Patent Claims Frivolous, Court Says

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Iowa High Court Reverses $25M Punitive Damages Verdict In Bad Faith Suit

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Sets Oral Argument For Dispute On Sending Reinsurance Lawsuit To Arbitration Panel

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Court Affirms Workers' Comp Award Involving Asbestos, Bladder Cancer

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).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Court Affirms Workers' Comp Award Involving Asbestos, Bladder Cancer

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court Affirms Workers' Comp Award Involving Asbestos, Bladder Cancer

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Upholds Interest Date On Workers' Compensation Claim Against Insolvent Insurer

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Court Rejects Apportionment In Workers' Compensation Pleural Plaques Case

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).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Court Rejects Apportionment In Workers' Compensation Pleural Plaques Case

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Vacates 3 Demands Of Reimbursement Against CIGA For Workers' Claims

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Reliability Of Neurologist In Disability Ruling

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Reliability Of Neurologist In Disability Ruling

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - LHWCA Completely Immunizes Employer From Third-Party Asbestos Claims, Judge Says

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).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - LHWCA Completely Immunizes Employer From Third-Party Asbestos Claims, Judge Says

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).

Mealey's Insurance - Having Been Told That Insolvent Insurer Is Without Assets, Judge Closes Estate

CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 31 ordered the end of the rehabilitation of a workers' compensation trust at the request of the state's director of insurance (In the Matter of the Rehabilitation of Illinois State Bowling Proprietors' & recreational Industry Workers' Compensation Trust, No. 11 CH 36870, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - California Appeals Panel Affirms Insurer's Restitution Award In Fraud Suit

SAN DIEGO - An insurer is entitled to $37,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting to the company that nurses he sent to work at skilled-nursing facilities were computer programmers to obtain a lower workers' compensation policy premium, a California appeals panel ruled March 22 in affirming the man's conviction (People v. John Paul Riddles, No. D069419, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. LEXIS 259).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Suspends Schedule For Claimant To Support Claim In Liquidation Proceeding

CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 10 granted a motion to suspend the briefing schedule on a liquidator's petition so that a claimant can secure documentation in support of his workers' compensation claim (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Illinois Movers' & Warehousemen's Risk Management Group, No. 12-CH-09140, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).

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 - Canadian Judge: Allegations By Asbestos Entities 'Scandalous And Baseless'

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The claim by asbestos abatement and surveying companies and their principles that the government targeted them for enforcement actions based on their race "is arrant nonsense" unsupported by any facts, a Canadian judge held Feb. 1 (Manoj Singh aka Mike Singh, et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, et al., No. S166982, British Columbia Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Canadian Judge: Allegations By Asbestos Entities 'Scandalous And Baseless'

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The claim by asbestos abatement and surveying companies and their principles that the government targeted them for enforcement actions based on their race "is arrant nonsense" unsupported by any facts, a Canadian judge held Feb. 1 (Manoj Singh aka Mike Singh, et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, et al., No. S166982, British Columbia Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Reinsurer Wants To Leave Reinsurance Arbitration Dispute With Arbitration Panel

NEW YORK - A reinsurer asked a federal court in New York on Jan. 25 to place a dispute regarding reinsurance of workers' compensation risks in the hands of an arbitration panel to decide (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Says Court Should Decide If Dispute Can Be Arbitrated

SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Jan. 6 that the issue of whether a workers' compensation claim dispute can be arbitrated and what parties should participate in the arbitration is up to the court and not up to a panel of arbitrators to decide (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Divided Arkansas High Court: Workers' Comp Exclusivity Bars Asbestos Tort Action

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Because the state's workers' compensation system contemplates coverage for mesothelioma, the law's exclusivity provision bars a tort action against an employer, even where the disease arose outside the period for filing a claim, the Arkansas Supreme Court held Dec. 15 in a 4-3 opinion (Brenda Hendrix, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. CV-15-558, Ark. Sup.).