LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Labor & Employment - Northwestern Mutual Granted Summary Judgment In Worker Classification Dispute

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A former insurance company financial representative failed in his attempt to show that he was actually an employee, not an independent contractor as his contract stated, a New York federal judge ruled Dec. 12, granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the insurance company in the wage-and-hour class dispute (Joseph Rose, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3569, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171404).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Northwestern Mutual Granted Summary Judgment In Worker Classification Dispute

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A former insurance company financial representative failed in his attempt to show that he was actually an employee, not an independent contractor as his contract stated, a New York federal judge ruled Dec. 12, granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the insurance company in the wage-and-hour class dispute (Joseph Rose, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3569, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171404).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer, Reinsurer Ask Court To Stay Case So They Can Formalize Settlement

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - An insurer and its reinsurer jointly asked a federal court in Massachusetts on Dec. 12 stay their breach of contract dispute so they can have time to convert their agreement in principle into a written settlement agreement (OneBeacon America Insurance Company v. Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, No. 14-cv-14067, D. Mass.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Refuses To Vacate Award For Hong Kong Shipping Company

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Dec. 9 refused a Hong Kong commodity company's petition to vacate an arbitral award that was issued in favor of a Hong Kong seller of coking coal, finding that an arbitral panel did not exceed its authority in finding that the company wrongfully terminated an underlying contract for shipment (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Kailuan [Hong Kong] International Co., Ltd. v. Sino East Minerals Ltd., No. 16-2160, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170821).

Mealey's Insurance - Appeal Panel Sends Certified Reinsurance Limits Question To New York State Court

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 certified a question to the New York Court of Appeals regarding reinsurance contract limits that the panel said presents an important question of New York law (Global Reinsurance of America v. Century Indemnity Company, No. 15-2164, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Grants In Part, Denies In Part Motions To Exclude Testimony In Discrimination Suit

CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 8 addressed several motions to exclude testimony prior to a trial date set in a doctor's lawsuit against a university for discrimination that resulted in her contract not being renewed (Dr. Maria Artunduaga v. The University of Chicago Medical Center, No. 12-8733, N.D, Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169460).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rejects Insureds Breach Of Contract Arguments In Bad Faith Suit

LOS ANGELES - Summary judgment is warranted against insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insureds have failed to show that their insurer breached its contract in failing to pay their claims for benefits or denied their requests for a defense or indemnification, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6 (Julie Sohn, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-8841, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Rejects Insureds' Breach Of Contract Arguments In Bad Faith Suit

LOS ANGELES - Summary judgment is warranted against insureds in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because the insureds have failed to show that their insurer breached its contract in failing to pay their claims for benefits or denied their requests for a defense or indemnification, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6 (Julie Sohn, et al. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., No. 15-8841, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168555).

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).