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Mealey's California Insurance

  • January 29, 2019

    Parties Dispute Whether Insurer Had Liability To Fund Backdating Settlement

    PASADENA, Calif. — An education group and an insurer recently submitted arguments in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, disputing whether a district court’s order holding that the insurer was not obligated to fund a settlement reached in underlying backdating litigation should be overturned (Apollo Education Group Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh Pa., No. 17-17293, 9th Cir.).

  • January 28, 2019

    HIV Infection Claims From Adult Film Work Are Not Covered, 9th Circuit Affirms

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 affirmed a lower federal court’s finding that the State Insurance Compensation Fund has no duty to defend against underlying claims that adult film stars became infected with HIV while they were performing in films that were being produced by the insured, finding that two policy exclusions bar employer’s liability coverage (Seneca Insurance Company, Inc. v. Cybernet Entertainment, LLC, et al., No. 18-15082, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2565).

  • January 25, 2019

    Judge: UCL, Financial Elder Abuse Claims Against Life Insurer Are Time-Barred

    FRESNO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Jan. 23 granted a life insurer’s motion to dismiss an older insured’s claims for unfair business practices and financial elder abuse under California law but granted him the opportunity to amend his putative class action complaint (Gerald B. Rhinehart v. Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-01391, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11087).

  • January 25, 2019

    Judge Denies Insurer’s Bid For Reconsideration Of Orders In Defects Coverage Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Jan. 22 addressed the change in a cited case as it pertains to four orders issued in an insurance coverage lawsuit concerning underlying construction defects lawsuits and denied the insurer’s motion for leave to file motions for reconsideration (Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, et al. v. Centex Homes, No. 11-03638, Related Case Nos. 12-00371 & 13-00088, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10261).

  • January 23, 2019

    Insurer Failed To Prove Disabling Condition Was Caused By Pre-Existing Condition

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 reversed a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability plan after determining that the insurer failed to carry its burden of proving that the plan’s pre-existing condition exclusion applied to bar a claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits  (Fadi G. Haddad, M.D. v. SMG Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 17-16729, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2003).

  • January 23, 2019

    Magistrate Partly Grants Protective Order In Coverage Dispute Over $50M Settlement

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 partly granted an insurer’s motion for a protective order in a discovery dispute with its insured, denying the remainder of the motion in a coverage lawsuit over an underlying $50 million settlement (Aerojet Rocketydyne, Inc. v. Global Aerospace, Inc., et al., No. 17-01515, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8737).

  • January 22, 2019

    Reconsideration Declined On Continuance In Reinsurer’s Dispute Over $3.2M Judgment

    SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Jan. 16 refused to reconsider a ruling allowing a continuance of pretrial conference and related dates in a reinsurer’s dispute over a $3.2 million judgment (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif.).

  • January 22, 2019

    Plan Administrator Abused Discretion In Terminating LTD Benefits, Majority Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A long-term disability (LTD) plan administrator abused its discretion in denying LTD benefits under the plan’s any-occupation standard because the plan administrator failed to properly consider restrictions placed on the claimant, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority said Jan. 18 (Jennifer Kott v. Agilent Technologies Inc. Disability Plan, No. 17-16584, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1768).

  • January 17, 2019

    Panel Certifies Question To California High Court In Yahoo’s Dispute With Insurer

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 16 certified a question to the California Supreme Court in a coverage dispute between Yahoo! Inc. and its commercial general liability insurer arising from claims brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Yahoo! Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 17-16452, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1409).

  • January 15, 2019

    Panel Denies Disability Claimant’s Motion To Transfer Attorney Fee Question

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 denied a disability claimant’s motion to transfer consideration of attorney fees to the district court, which will be considering the source of a claimant’s disability on remand, because the claimant has not yet achieved any degree of success on the merits (Miae Decovich v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 17-15324, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 1218).

  • January 14, 2019

    Contract-Based Claims Survive Summary Judgment In Insurance Bad Faith Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An insurer is not entitled to summary judgment on claims that it breached its contract and acted in bad faith in denying its insureds’ claim for automobile insurance coverage after the theft of their car because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the insureds sought to deceive the insurer during the claim investigation process, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 30 (Arsen Abramyan, et al. v. GEICO Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-1069, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218211).

  • January 10, 2019

    CIGA: Claims Against Government Were Improperly Dismissed On Preemption

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a dispute with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II on who is responsible for payment to insureds of workers’ compensation plans that become insolvent, the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) argues in a Jan. 8 reply brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a lower court erred in dismissing claims based on preemption grounds and based on the government’s failure to timely file proofs of claims (California Insurance Guarantee Association v. Alex Azar II, et al., Nos. 17-56526 & 17-56528, 9th Cir.).

  • January 10, 2019

    Disney Insurer Asks 9th Circuit To Reverse Arbitration Ruling In ‘Pink Slime’ Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A Walt Disney Co. insurer recently asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s ruling that granted the insured’s motion to compel arbitration in a coverage dispute stemming from "pink slime" defamation claims against Disney’s subsidiary (The Walt Disney Co. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-56840, 9th Cir.).

  • January 10, 2019

    Insurers Say PG&E ‘Places Profits Over Public Safety’ In California Camp Fire Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four insurers standing in the shoes of their Butte County, Calif., insureds filed one of four lawsuits in a California Superior Court on Dec. 21, alleging that PG&E Corp. and/or Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s “well-documented disregard for safety regulations and risk management practices” and “blind eye towards the use of effective maintenance and inspection practices for their facilities and equipment” triggered various factors that caused and/or contributed to causing the “most destructive and deadly wildfire California has ever experienced” (United Services Automobile Association, et al. v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., No. 34-2018-00247013, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).

  • January 9, 2019

    Class Allegation Claim Stricken From Insured’s Bad Faith Complaint

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Jan. 4 granted an insurer’s motion to strike an insured’s class allegation claim in a breach of contract and bad faith suit arising out of an auto coverage dispute after determining that the claim is immaterial to the insured’s dispute with the auto insurer (Natalie Nadira John v. AIG Property Casualty Company Group Inc. et al., No. 18-8664, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1862).

  • January 8, 2019

    Final Denial Of Disability Claim Never Issued, Federal Judge Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — A disability insurer did not issue a final denial of a claim for total disability benefits, a California federal judge said Jan. 4 in granting the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract and bad faith suit filed by an insured (Sunil Srinivasan, DDS v. Continental Assurance Co., et al., No. 18-4371, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1894).

  • January 8, 2019

    District Court Failed To Address All Alleged Procedural Irregularities

    SAN FRANCISCO — A majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 4 reversed and remanded a district court’s ruling in favor of a disability plan and the plan administrator after determining that the district court failed to address all of the procedural irregularities that allegedly occurred during the claim review process (Leslie Hoffman v. Screen Actors Guild Producers Pension Plan, No. 16-56663, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 284).

  • January 8, 2019

    Disability Suit Remanded; Wrong Standard Of Review Applied, Panel Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 4 reversed and remanded a judgment entered in favor of a disability insurer after determining that a district court erred in applying the abuse of discretion standard of review rather than the de novo standard of review (Robert Gordon v. Metropolitan Insurance Co., No. 17-16821, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 292).

  • January 7, 2019

    California High Court Denies Review To State’s Insurance Guaranty Association

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Jan. 2 denied a petition filed by the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) to review a question on whether a medical care provider’s lien claim is a covered claim and whether subdivision (c)(9)(B) of California Insurance Code Section 1063.1 bars that claim (California Insurance Guarantee Association v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, et al., No. S252560, Calif. Sup., 2019 Cal. LEXIS 78).

  • January 4, 2019

    Claims Adjuster Dismissed From Insureds’ Water Damage Coverage Suit

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Jan. 3 dismissed an insurance adjuster from a water damage coverage dispute because the insureds failed to present any authority that the adjuster could be held individually liable for acts committed within the scope of her employment with the insurer (Robin L. Dobbel, et al., v. Liberty Insurance Corp., et al., No. 17-2114, E.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218207).