Mealey's California Insurance

  • June 24, 2022

    California Panel:  Insurers Have No Duty To Defend Suit Over Sonoma County Parcel

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel held June 21 that a federal court’s related coverage ruling precludes relitigation of whether an underlying lawsuit alleging that insureds violated a conservation easement arose from an “accident” to trigger coverage under two insurance policies, affirming a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurers on different grounds.

  • June 24, 2022

    Citing ‘Very Different’ Policy, Judge Partly Rules For Insured In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Partially granting a real estate trust insured’s motion for partial summary judgment in its breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for its business interruption losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in California on June 15 held that the insured’s “very different” insurance policy has to be interpreted “to encapsulate the very thing for which” the insured seeks coverage.

  • June 23, 2022

    Auto Insurer Failed To Address Choice-Of-Law Issue In UIM Bad Faith Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on June 22 denied an auto insurer’s motion to dismiss its insured’s bad faith claim because the insurer failed to address whether California or Minnesota law should apply to the dispute over underinsured motorist benefits.

  • June 21, 2022

    California Panel Affirms Stay Of Coverage Suit Arising From Opioid Epidemic

    SANTA ANA, Calif. —A California appeals panel on June 20 affirmed a lower court’s grant of pharmaceutical and distributor insureds’ motion to stay their insurers’ declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for claims over the insureds’ distribution of opioids, finding the insurers failed to satisfy their burden to demonstrate the lower court abused its discretion in staying their lawsuit pending resolution of a related West Virginia lawsuit.

  • June 20, 2022

    California Panel Reverses Judgment In Coverage Suit Over Damaged Art

    LOS ANGELES — In a case that “spans nearly 15 years and fills several bookcases,” a California appeals panel on June 16 held that a lower court prejudicially erred in issuing a jury instruction in a coverage dispute over damaged art, finding that reversal is warranted “because there is a reasonable chance the court’s error affected the jury's verdict on the insureds' breach of contract and bad faith claims” against its insurer.

  • June 17, 2022

    Hospital Refutes Amicus’ Assertion That Court Order ‘Guts’ California’s IFPA

    LOS ANGELES — A hospital on May 5 filed an answer to The Anti-Fraud Alliance’s amicus curiae brief in support of the state of California in a qui tam lawsuit alleging that the hospital participated in kickbacks, patient steering and billing fraud schemes, contending that nothing in the amicus brief provides any basis to warrant reversal of a lower court’s judgment in its favor in the action brought under the California Insurance Frauds Prevention Act.

  • June 14, 2022

    Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Trespass To Chattels Claim In Suit Against Insurers

    LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on June 10 held that appellants failed to allege a trespass to chattels claim against insurers and two investigators, finding that the lower court properly sustained the defendants’ demurrers in a lawsuit alleging that they copied the appellants' electronic litigation files from a third-party computer system.

  • June 14, 2022

    Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Insurer Conservatorship Suits, Splits On Abstention

    SAN FRANCISCO — Ruling 2-1 that abstention under Younger v. Harris does not apply to insurance conservatorships, members of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 10 affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of two suits involving the same state court proceeding under the prior exclusive jurisdiction rule; the majority said it believes that this is “the first case in this Court implicating” that rule “in connection with a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.”

  • June 13, 2022

    City Claims Insurer Has Duty To Indemnify For Judgment In Contamination Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A district court erred in finding that an insurer has no duty to indemnify a city on behalf of its insured for a judgment entered against the insured in an underlying environmental contamination dispute because the releases of contaminants into the groundwater are not excluded by the policies’ pollution exclusion and the releases were not expected or intended by the insured, the city contends in a June 8 appellant brief filed in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • June 13, 2022

    Updated Briefing ‘As Needed’ Ordered In Transferred Suit Over EquityComp

    OMAHA, Neb. — In a text-only order without explanation in response to letters in which the parties disagreed, a Nebraska federal magistrate judge on June 10 ordered updated briefing “as needed” on a motion to dismiss in a transferred case over a program called EquityComp and a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA).

  • June 09, 2022

    Panel: Known Loss, Impaired Property Exclusions Bar Coverage For Tenant’s Suit

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 8 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that a tenant’s underlying lawsuit against an insured amounted to a known loss under a commercial liability insurance policy, further finding that the policy’s “impaired property” exclusion bars coverage.

  • June 03, 2022

    Former NFL Player Is Entitled To Total, Permanent Disability Benefits, Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A former National Football League player is entitled to total and permanent disability benefits under the NFL player retirement plan, a California federal magistrate judge said June 1 after determining that the medical evidence supports a finding that the former player is unable to perform the duties of any occupation.

  • June 01, 2022

    Builders Risk Coverage Dispute Dismissed After Parties Reach Settlement

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on May 31 dismissed a dispute over a builders risk insurer’s denial of coverage for the cost of repairing fractured support beams used in the construction of a transit center after the parties in the action agreed to settle their claims.

  • June 01, 2022

    9th Circuit Denies Petition For Rehearing In Bad Faith, Professional Liability Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24 denied an insured’s petition for rehearing en banc, refusing to reconsider whether a professional liability insurance policy’s claims services exclusion, also referred to as a bad faith exclusion, bars coverage for an underlying arbitration dispute.

  • May 25, 2022

    Class Settlement Including Nearly $93.1M Fund Gets Final OK In COI Increase Suit

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on May 17 granted final approval to a class action settlement including a settlement fund of nearly $93.1 million in a suit over a life insurance cost of insurance (COI) increase in which class counsel said a subpoena served on a reinsurer resulted in “what Plaintiffs contend are key admissions”; on May 20, the judge amended an order awarding fees, expenses and incentive awards.

  • May 24, 2022

    Privilege Dispute In Reinsurance Billings Suit Is Referred To Magistrate Judge

    LOS ANGELES — In an order issued without explanation and over the opposition of a defendant, a California federal judge on May 20 granted the plaintiffs’ motion to refer a dispute over privilege in a reinsurance billings suit to a magistrate judge.

  • May 18, 2022

    Louisiana Panel: California Is More Appropriate Forum For Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana panel on May 4 held that private and public interest factors weigh heavily in favor of California as a more appropriate and convenient forum for an insured’s coronavirus coverage dispute, finding that a lower court abused its discretion in denying the insurer’s motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens.

  • May 17, 2022

    California High Court Agrees To Review Policy Exhaustion Issue In Asbestos Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on April 13 granted an primary insurer’s petition for review in a long-standing asbestos insurance coverage dispute, agreeing to review the question of whether horizontal or vertical exhaustion should be applied when allocating the insurer’s claim for equitable contribution.

  • May 16, 2022

    U.S. High Court Refuses To Reconsider Denial Of Certiorari In Insured’s Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 16 denied an insured’s petition for it to reconsider its refusal to grant her petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissal of her appeal for lack of jurisdiction because a federal district court did not issue any orders in her breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against Allstate Insurance Co.

  • May 12, 2022

    California Panel Upholds Elder Abuse, Negligence Claims In Annuity Surrender Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appellate court on May 10 affirmed a trial court’s judgment for an annuitant filing negligence and financial elder abuse claims against an insurer that issued an annuity, but reversed a punitive damages award against the insurer, remanding for reconsideration of an attorney fee award, finding that the insurer committed financial elder abuse in accepting money to purchase the annuity while charging a surrender penalty but that evidence is lacking to show that the insurer knew its agent’s “propensity” for “misconduct.”