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Mealey's California Insurance

  • March 27, 2019

    Reinsurers Sued For Failure To Pay Toward Asbestos Personal Injury Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — An insurer accuses two reinsurers in a March 25 complaint filed in a California federal court of failing to pay amounts owed under facultative reinsurance contracts in connection with alleged liability to asbestos personal injury claims (Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v. Transport Insurance Co., et al., No. 19-01532 N.D. Calif.).

  • March 27, 2019

    Panel Holds UCL, Other Claims Fail, Affirms Order Granting Anti-SLAPP Motions

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California appeals panel on March 22 affirmed a trial court’s decision granting motions filed by a debt collector and a health care provider to strike a debtor’s complaint because it was related to an underlying collection action filed against her and holding that her claims for violations of California’s unfair competition law (UCL), malicious prosecution and conversion all failed on the merits (Elisa Mejia v. Retailers Credit Association of Grass Valley, Inc., et al.,  No. C078461, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1959).

  • March 27, 2019

    Insurer: Insureds Waived Right To Appeal Award In Automobile Accident Case

    LOS ANGELES — An insurer on Jan. 11 filed a brief in a California appellate court contending that a mother and daughter have waived their right to appeal a lower court’s ruling on an arbitration award related to bad faith claim stemming from injuries they suffered in an automobile accident (Dionne Cooper, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, et al., No. B292019, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2).

  • March 26, 2019

    Reinsurer Tells Court It Is Appealing Order Directing Registry Funds Payment

    SAN DIEGO — In a dispute over a $3.2 million judgment, a reinsurer filed a notice of appeal on March 21 of a California federal judge’s order directing $958,017.66 in funds in the court registry to another reinsurer as judgment creditor as well as the judge’s denial of a motion to intervene (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif.).

  • March 26, 2019

    Insured Says Deductible Ruling In Asbestos Dispute Must Be Reversed

    LOS ANGELES — An insured involved in a long-standing asbestos insurance coverage dispute argues in a March 15 reply brief filed in the Second District California Court of Appeal that the appeals court should enforce its decision in a 2007 case and reverse a trial court’s finding that the insured’s attempt to recover more than $6.6 million in deductibles is time-barred (Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Cement & Gypsum Corp., et al., No. B278091, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4, 2019 CA App. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 643).

  • March 25, 2019

    Federal Judge Finds For Insurer In Errors And Omissions Coverage Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on March 22 granted an errors and omissions insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging that an insurance professional breached its duty of care in procuring insurance coverage for a client (General Insurance Company of America v. INB Insurance Services Corp., No. 18-03372, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48362).

  • March 25, 2019

    9th Circuit Affirms Judgment In Insurer’s Favor In Flood Coverage Dispute

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 affirmed a lower federal court’s judgment in favor of an insurer in an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage for underlying flood damage (John R. Fuchs, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Company, No. 17-56182, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 8333).

  • March 20, 2019

    Genuine Issue Of Fact On Coverage Under Auto Policy Precludes Bad Faith Claim

    SAN FRANCISCO — A district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of an auto insurer because a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding coverage for an insured’s injuries sustained in an auto accident, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 18 (Michael Sekera v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-56587, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7968).

  • March 19, 2019

    Bad Faith Suit Remanded To State Court For Lack Of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

    SAN FRANCISCO — Remand of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit to state court is warranted because insurers have failed to sufficiently show that an insured’s disability insurance policy is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and, thus, have failed to meet their burden of establishing federal subject matter jurisdiction, a federal judge in California ruled March 15 (Laural Jilka v. Unum Group, et al., No. 18-2952, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42949).

  • March 19, 2019

    Termination Of Disability Benefits Was Improper Based On Claimant’s Restrictions

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A disability insurer’s termination of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was improper because the evidence shows that the claimant could not type for more than 60 minutes a day and her usual occupation required five to six hours of typing per day, a California federal judge said March 11 in entering judgment in favor of the claimant (Jennett Harlow v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-2091, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40890).

  • March 19, 2019

    Ample Evidence Supports Denial Of LTD Benefits Under Any-Occupation Standard

    SAN FRANCISCO — A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer’s denial of disability benefits under a plan’s any-occupation standard was justified because ample evidence in the record supports the insurer’s determination, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 15 (Susan Beach v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 17-16492, 9th  Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7817).

  • March 18, 2019

    Judge Orders Turnover Of Registry Funds To Reinsurer In $3.2M Creditor Dispute

    SAN DIEGO — In a dispute over a $3.2 million judgment, a California federal judge on March 14 granted a reinsurer’s turnover motion and ordered $958,017.66 in funds in the court registry to be directed to the reinsurer as judgment creditor (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42894).

  • March 14, 2019

    Judge: Replacement Of Hotel’s Curtainwall Was Defect, Not Property Damage

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on March 12 granted summary judgment in a construction defect insurance coverage lawsuit, finding that the underlying issue was not one of property damage but one of defective construction (Webcor Construction, LP, et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-2220, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39834).

  • March 13, 2019

    Woman’s Conviction For Disability Insurance Scheme Upheld By 9th Circuit

    PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 12 affirmed a former sales associate’s conviction for mail fraud and witness tampering in connection with her role in orchestrating a scheme to submit fraudulent claims for disability insurance benefits from American Family Life Assurance Co. (AFLAC), finding that the evidence sufficiently demonstrated that she attempted to corruptly persuade witnesses to not speak with investigators (United States v. Patricia Diane Smith Sledge, No. 17-50363, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7116).

  • March 13, 2019

    Panel Denies Request To Supplement Record In Disability Benefits Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 12 denied a disability claimant’s motion to supplement the record on appeal with documents from her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim because the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) award of benefits was based on a different definition of disability than the “any occupation” definition relied on by the plan (Alice McBurnie v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 17-55915, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7254).

  • March 12, 2019

    Arbitration Agreement Does Not Require Arbitration Of Insurer’s Subrogation Claim

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An insurer’s subrogation claim against a company accused of manufacturing a faulty valve that caused an insured to sustain water damages is not subject to arbitration because the insurer’s subrogation claim was filed after a change was made to the arbitration agreement that excluded product liability claims from mandatory arbitration, the Third District California Court of Appeal said March 8 (State Farm General Insurance Co. v. Watts Regulator Co., No. C082125, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1653).

  • March 11, 2019

    Judge Denies Motion To Intervene By Reinsurer In Creditor’s $3.2M Case

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on March 7 denied a reinsurer’s request to intervene in a creditor’s dispute over a $3.2 million judgment because the reinsurer’s motion was untimely and because the reinsurer had no significant protectable interest (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37852).

  • March 11, 2019

    Summary Judgment Ruling In Insurance Bad Faith Dispute Affirmed

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal district court did not err in granting summary judgment in an insurance breach of contact and bad faith lawsuit against an automobile insurance provider because an insured failed to raise an issue of material fact showing that the insurer acted in bad faith in denying coverage under an off-road vehicle exclusion in the policy, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 22 in an nonprecedential memorandum (Jennifer M. Walker v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-16102, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 5240).

  • March 11, 2019

    Insured’s Claims Against Auto Insurer Dismissed On Remand

    LOS ANGELES — On remand from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a federal judge in California on Feb. 26 ruled that no genuine issues of material fact exist showing that an insurer breached its contract or acted in bad faith in refusing to pay benefits under an automobile insurance policy because the Ninth Circuit has “explicitly” held that the insured’s claim for stigma damages was not covered under the policy (James Copelan, et al. v. Infinity Insurance Co., No. 16-1355, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33613).

  • March 8, 2019

    Majority Reverses No Coverage Ruling For Lanham Act Suit Against Insured

    PASADENA, Calif. — A majority of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 5 reversed a lower court’s finding that there is no coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging Lanham Act and unfair competition claims against an insured, finding that there is a sufficient “potential for liability” to trigger the insurer's “broad duty to defend” pursuant to California law (First One Lending Corporation, et al. v. The Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 17-55492, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 6625).