Mealey's California Insurance

  • December 16, 2020

    Parties Agree On Jury Trial Date For Coverage Case Over $16.8M Settlement

    LOS ANGELES — Taking into consideration the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, a joint powers authority for municipalities, an excess insurer and a reinsurer tell a California federal judge on Dec. 14 that they agreed to a September jury trial set in their dispute over a $16.8 million settlement for an accident between two fire departments (StarStone National Insurance Company v. Independent Cities Risk Management Authority, et al., No. 19-1130, C.D. Calif.).

  • December 16, 2020

    Auto Insurer Must Turn Over Information On Loss Reserves, Magistrate Judge Says

    SAN DIEGO — An auto insurer must turn over information related to the amount of loss reserves set aside in an auto coverage dispute because the information is relevant to the insureds’ claim of bad faith and would not create a burden on the insurer to produce the information, a California federal magistrate judge said Dec. 8 (Barbara Stein, et al. v. Farmers Insurance Company of Arizona, No. 19-410, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 231523).

  • December 14, 2020

    Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Business Losses

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 10 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss after determining that a policy’s virus exclusion clearly precludes coverage for business losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (HealthNOW Medical Center v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. 20-4340, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 232626).

  • December 14, 2020

    Employers Liability Exclusion Bars Coverage For Personal Injury Suit, Panel Affirms

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurance policy’s employers liability exclusion bars coverage for an underlying personal injury lawsuit brought by an employee of one of the insureds, rejecting the appellant’s contention that the policy’s “Separation of Insureds Clause” renders the phrase “any insured” ambiguous (J & J Realty Holdings v. Great American E & S Insurance Company, No. 19-56172, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 38835).

  • December 14, 2020

    9th Circuit: Location Of Golf Cart Accident Is ‘Fundamental,’ No Coverage Owed

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 held that no homeowners coverage is owed for injuries incurred by a minor while riding on the insureds’ golf cart because the “occurrence” did not take place at an insured location, affirming a lower federal court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer (Integon National Insurance Company v. Billy Reece, et al., Nos. 19-17567 and 19-17568, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 38829).

  • December 11, 2020

    Magistrate Recommends Approving Minor’s Settlement In Sexual Assault Coverage Suit

    SAN DIEGO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Dec. 10 recommended granting a joint motion to approve a minor’s $100,000 settlement of an underlying sexual assault lawsuit, finding that the settlement is fair and reasonable and in the minor’s best interest (Allstate Insurance Company v. Doe 1, et al., No. 19-140, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 232447).

  • December 09, 2020

    Suit Over Progressive Lens Maker’s Rewards Program Cannot Be Amended, Judge Says

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 4 denied a relator’s motion for leave to amend his False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing makers of progressive optic lenses of engaging in an illegal kickback scheme through their use of a rewards program to eye care professionals, finding that the proposed new allegations were vague and based on sealed documents that were not properly admitted as exhibits.

  • December 09, 2020

    Excess Insurers, Reinsurer Settle Dispute Over $11.6M Asbestos Buyout Agreement

    SAN FRANCISCO — Two excess insurers and a reinsurer on Dec. 8 agreed in a California federal court stipulation to settle claims and counterclaims in their dispute over the reinsurer’s alleged responsibility toward a more than $11.6 million confidential buyout agreement regarding an insured’s asbestos liabilities (New Hampshire Insurance Company, et al. v. TIG Insurance Company, No. 20-04668, N.D. Calif.).

  • December 09, 2020

    No Merit To Coverage Denial For COVID-19 Losses, Talent Agency Argues In California

    LOS ANGELES — “One of the largest talent agencies in the world” sued its commercial property insurers in a California court on Nov. 13 for breach of contract and bad faith, alleging that they are “part of the Chubb group of insurance companies” that “has adopted a universal practice of denying coverage for all business interruption claims associated with SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19, and subsequent events” (United Talent Agency, LLC v. Vigilant Insurance Company, et al., No. 20STCV43745, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

  • December 07, 2020

    Insurer Seeks To Reopen Coronavirus Coverage Suit, Cites ‘Unresolved Claim’

    LOS ANGELES — An insurer on Nov. 5 asked a California federal court to reopen its lawsuit seeking a declaration that it has no duty under two business owners insurance policies to cover its insured’s claimed business income losses related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that although the court determined in dismissing the insured’s counterclaims that it has no duty to provide coverage for the insured’s alleged losses in connection with its Los Angeles office, the court has not yet resolved the same question regarding the insured’s alleged losses to its New York office (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, Nos. 20-3619, C.D. Calif.).

  • December 07, 2020

    State Farm Asks 9th Circuit To Rehear Whether Amazon Was ‘Seller’ Of Hoverboards

    SAN FRANCISCO — A recent divided ruling that found Amazon.com Inc. to not be the “seller” of fire-causing defective hoverboards conflicts with Arizona law and consumer protection principles, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Dec. 1 petition for rehearing en banc (State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al., No. 19-17149, 9th Cir.).

  • December 07, 2020

    Judge Dismisses Man’s Unfair Competition Claim From Suit Against Insurer

    California’s unfair competition law (UCL) from his lawsuit accusing his insurer of wrongfully denying a claim he submitted following the death of his wife from an accidental overdose of pain medication, finding that while the man sufficiently stated claims for breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, the unfair competition claim fails because his alleged injury resulted from the insurer’s past conduct (Craig Bruno v. Prudential Life Insurance Co. of America, No. 20-4333, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 221930).

  • December 02, 2020

    Judge Enters Take-Nothing Judgment, Finds No Coverage Owed For Employment Claims

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Nov. 30 entered a take-nothing judgment and dismissed without prejudice insureds’ lawsuit seeking directors and officers liability coverage for an underlying lawsuit alleging assault and battery, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Peachstate Health Management LLC, et al. v. Chubb Insurance Company of New Jersey, et al., No. 19-8175, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 224370).

  • December 01, 2020

    Panel Refuses To Rehear Ruling In Reimbursement Dispute Over ERISA Settlement

    PASADENA, Calif. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 27 refused to reconsider a Sept. 14 reversal of a lower federal court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a second excess insurer in its lawsuit alleging that a primary and first excess insurer’s payment of an uncovered claim arising from the insured’s settlement of alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act improperly eroded their policies’ liability limits and prematurely triggered its excess coverage (Axis Reinsurance Co. v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, No. 19-55135, 9th Cir.).

  • November 30, 2020

    Payroll Company Asks For Dismissal From Self-Insured Employee Benefit Plan Case

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A payroll services company in a Nov. 24 motion seeks dismissal as a third-party defendant from a California federal court case between trucking companies and third-party administrators for a self-insured employee benefit plan because it was not fiduciary that had a role in any alleged negligent failure to obtain reinsurance coverage for the plans (A&I Transport, Inc., et al. v. KG Administrative Services, Inc., et al., No. 19-1992, C.D. Calif.).

  • November 30, 2020

    Disability Claimant Proved She Worked More Than 30 Hours Per Week, Judge Says

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Nov. 24 entered judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the claimant proved that she worked more than 30 hours a week as required to qualify for disability benefits under the policy (Caroline L. Connor M.D. v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 19-6552, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 221689).

  • November 25, 2020

    Claims Related To Missed Disability Payment Barred By Statutes Of Limitations

    SAN FRANCISCO — The majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 20 affirmed a district court’s ruling that an insured’s claims based on an alleged missed disability income payment by a disability income insurer are barred by statutes of limitations because the claims accrued in 1998 when the alleged payment should have been issued (Renato Openiano v.  Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance  Co., et al., No. 19-56206, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 36614).

  • November 20, 2020

    Judge: Insured Not Owed Reimbursement For Costs Related To Copyright Disputes

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 17 found that a commercial general liability insurer has no duty to reimburse an electric company insured for costs associated with its underlying copyright disputes, granting the insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in finding that the alleged underlying copyright infringement is not a covered “Personal and Advertising Injury” under the CGL policy (Hurricane Electric, LLC v. National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, No. 20-05840, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215049).

  • November 19, 2020

    Trial Court Properly Denied Motion To Vacate Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Judgment

    LOS ANGELES — A trial court did not err in denying an insured’s motion to vacate a judgment entered in a business insurer’s favor on breach of contract and bad faith claims because the insured failed to timely file the motion to vacate following the trial court’s judgment, the Second District California Court of Appeal said Nov. 18 (Simon K. Sheen v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. B298154, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7593).

  • November 18, 2020

    Bad Faith Claim Proceeds Against Business Auto Insurer, Judge Says

    SAN DIEGO — An insured’s bad faith claim against a business auto insurer can proceed because the insured presented sufficient evidence to support a finding that the insurer acted unreasonably in the investigation of the insured’s claim and in the settlement process, a California federal judge said Nov. 17 (John Gary Collins v. Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Co., No. 19-1392, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214699).

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