LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 17 denied requests for a new trial and a reduction of punitive damages filed by a couple who were found liable by a jury for submitting false claims for benefits under long-term care policies they had from Lincoln Life Benefit Co., finding that the jury’s decision did not go against the weight of the evidence on the issue of the statute of limitations and that the couple’s conduct warranted the $300,000 punitive damages award.
SAN FRANCISCO — Small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams on Feb. 8 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of their breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their losses arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 17 reversed and remanded a ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the disability policy’s self-reported limitations provision is subject to a California insurance law that bars the application of a self-reported limitations provision in disability contracts.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Feb. 12 remanded a putative class action against a group of medical institutions to state court and denied the institutions’ motion to dismiss after finding that the plaintiffs’ California unfair competition law (UCL) claims that the institutions improperly asserted liens against prospective civil judgments in their favor at an inflated retail rate rather than billing their insurers do not arise under federal law.
SAN DIEGO — The Fourth District California Court of Appeal on Feb. 8 affirmed a trial court’s ruling on an auto insurer’s motion for summary judgment on a bad faith claim because questions of fact existed as to whether the insurer’s delay in the handling of the insured’s claim was reasonable and further affirmed a jury’s award of economic damages entered in favor of the insured after determining that the insured sustained economic damages in the form of attorney fees and arbitration costs.
SAN FRANCISCO — Ceding insurers that filed a suit in California federal court seeking a declaration that a loss portfolio transfer does not cancel or affect their rights under reinsurance agreements on Feb. 1 notified the court that they were voluntarily dismissing their suit.
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Jan. 15 granted an insurer and reinsurer’s motion to dismiss a dispute over the reinsurer’s alleged failure to indemnify environmental claims payments after the parties reached an agreement to dismiss the suit with prejudice.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 vacated a woman’s 14-month prison sentence, ruling that while a federal judge in California did not err when making four evidentiary rulings on testimony admitted during the trial, the judge did not provide any factual findings to support the sentence.
PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability insurer after determining that the lower court did not err in finding that the disability claimant was not totally disabled and was capable of performing light work.
SAN FRANCISCO — One day after an insurer filed an answering brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a retailer insured’s appeal of a federal judge’s dismissal of its class complaint seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, United Policyholders on Feb. 9 said its amicus support is “especially vital” in the case “because the issues implicated by this case are far-reaching and of critical importance, as they may affect the fate of insurance recoveries for small businesses throughout California.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Appellants recently asked the California Supreme Court to clarify the application of California Insurance Code Sections 10113.71 and 10113.72 “consistent with their plain language and remedial purpose” and direct an appeals court to confirm the application of these statutes to a $1 million life insurance policy, arguing that the appeals court’s opinion “leaves vulnerable” senior and disabled policyholders that the statutes intended to protect.
SAN FRANCISCO — A disability insurer did not act in bad faith in terminating a claimant’s benefits because the insurer conducted a reasonable and fair investigation of the claim, a California federal judge said Feb. 8 in granting the insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on the bad faith claim.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Feb. 5 granted a disability claimant’s motion for judgment after determining that the disability insurer failed to give proper weight to the claimant’s consistent and corroborated reports of chronic pain.
LOS ANGELES — An excess insurer must reimburse its insured for almost $8 million incurred by the insured in settling underlying asbestos-related claims because the insured has proven that it exhausted all underlying coverage and that the excess policy attached, a California trial court judge said Jan. 25.
SAN FRANCISCO — A commercial general liability insurer on Feb. 2 reiterated its cross-appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that Yahoo forfeited its claim to $618,380 in attorney fees under Brandt v. Superior Court in their data privacy coverage dispute.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 2 granted a disability insurer’s motion to dismiss a disability claimant’s amended complaint after determining that the claimant failed to exhaust all administrative remedies and that the claimant’s letter to the insurer cannot be considered an administrative appeal because it was not filed within 180 days of the insurer’s termination of benefits.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California judge on Jan. 28 overruled an insurer’s demurrer in a complaint seeking coverage for damages sustained as a result of the novel coronavirus after determining that the insurer failed to prove that the insured did not sustain a direct physical loss at its facility.
LOS ANGELES — A business insurer did not breach its contract or act in bad faith in denying an insured’s claim for a gas leak at its insured gas station because the insured failed to prove that the gas leak was caused by an accident for which coverage would be afforded under the policy, a California federal judge said in an amended Jan. 29 opinion.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Jan. 26 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s bad faith counterclaim in a dispute over coverage for an underlying personal injury suit after determining that the bad faith counterclaim is identical to the insured’s breach of contract counterclaim.
SAN FRANCISCO — A district court did not err in refusing to strike a bad faith counterclaim in an excess insurance lawsuit because the counterclaim is not a retaliatory claim under California’s statute against strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Jan. 25 in affirming the district court’s opinion.