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Mealey's California Insurance

  • February 15, 2019

    Trial Court Did Not Abuse Discretion In Setting Aside Judgments In Asbestos Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — The First District California Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 determined that a trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting aside default judgments entered against an insured named as a defendant in asbestos exposure suits because the insurers were diligent in their investigation of the underlying claims after learning of the suits filed against their insured (Robert Ross v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154660; Willie Howard v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154662; Michael Steinberger v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154664; Monroe Amey v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154665; Robert Hanson v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154668; Joann Valladon v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154671, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).

  • February 15, 2019

    Insured’s Declaratory Judgment Claim Stands In Environmental Coverage Dispute

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Feb. 6 refused to dismiss an insured’s declaratory judgment claim in an environmental contamination coverage dispute after determining that the insured has presented an actual controversy warranting the court’s jurisdiction over the claim (Whittaker Corp. v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co., No. 18-8453, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23744).

  • February 12, 2019

    Policy Coverage For Jewelry Store Shooting Before California Court

    SAN FRANCISCO — Whether a homeowners insurance policy’s personal injury provision covers the discharge of a firearm after a robbery attempt turns on whether the parties’ portrayal of the resulting injuries as willful or accidental and confronts a California appeals court (CSAA Insurance Exchange, et al. v. Oscar Herrera, No. A153429, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).

  • February 12, 2019

    Contempt Proceeding Against Insured Does Not Allege Covered ‘Damages,’ Judge Says

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Feb. 7 held that an underlying contempt proceeding against an insured fails to assert a claim for covered "damages" under a general liability insurance policy, further finding that the policy’s intellectual property and unfair competition exclusions also bar coverage (Great American E&S Insurance Company v. Theos Medical Systems, Inc., No. 17-05660, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21143).

  • February 11, 2019

    Insured Seeks Dismissal Of His Putative Class Suit Against Life Insurer

    FRESNO, Calif. — An insured on Feb. 8 filed a notice to dismiss with prejudice his putative class lawsuit against his life insurer a little more than two weeks after a California federal judge granted the insurer's motion to dismiss his claims for unfair business practices and financial elder abuse (Gerald B. Rhinehart v. Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-01391, E.D. Calif.).

  • February 11, 2019

    Judge Denies Insurer’s Judgment Motion Based On Wrap-Up Exclusion

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Because a subcontractor was not enrolled in a general contractor’s wrap-up policy, a California federal judge on Feb. 7 denied summary judgment to the subcontractor’s insurer on its duty to defend or indemnify the subcontractor against the contractor’s breach of contract claims concerning water damage to a project (Employers Mutual Casualty Co. v. Fast Wrap Reno One LLC, et al., No. 17-03837, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20298).

  • February 6, 2019

    Reinsurer’s Motion To Intervene In Creditor Dispute Is Opposed

    SAN DIEGO — In separate briefs filed Feb. 1, parties oppose a reinsurer’s request to intervene in their California federal court dispute over a $3.2 million judgment (Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Richard Keith Nagby, et al., No. 16-3038, S.D. Calif.).

  • February 6, 2019

    Federal Judge Remands LTD Claim To Administrator For Recalculation Of Benefits

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Feb. 1 remanded a long-term disability (LTD) claim to the plan administrator to recalculate a claimant’s monthly benefits to include the claimant’s  commissions and monthly and quarterly bonuses after determining that the plan is ambiguous as to what constitutes monthly earnings (Remy Renault v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America, et al., No. 16-7078, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17622).

  • February 4, 2019

    Insured Must Reimburse Deductibles For Settlement Of Defects Suits, Panel Says

    SAN DIEGO — A commercial general liability insurer showed that its insured must reimburse it $50,000 in deductibles for payments it made in settlement of two construction defects actions, a California appeals panel held Jan. 31 (Lexington Insurance Co. v. Timber Ridge Framing Inc., No. D073412, Calif. App., 4th Dist. Div. 1, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 802).

  • January 30, 2019

    Class Certification Denied By Judge In Reinsurance Participation Agreement Cases

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California federal judge on Jan. 29 denied class certification in two putative class actions over a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) entered into by hundreds of California businesses when they bought a workers’ compensation program (Shasta Linen Supply Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 16-158, Pet Food Express Ltd., et al. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 16-1211, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14286).

  • January 30, 2019

    Drug-Testing Laboratory Did Not Fraudulently Bill Insurer, Judge Rules

    LOS ANGELES — A trial court judge in California on Jan. 25 awarded summary judgment to a laboratory accused by a woman of violating the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (CIFPA) for fraudulently billing her insurer for urine drug tests that were not medically unnecessary, holding that the woman failed to present any evidence showing that the defendant engaged in an unlawful relationship with health care providers to recruit patients and that it intended to defraud insurers (California, ex rel. Alison Tonti v. Living Rebos LLC, et al., No. BC674091, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

  • 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 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).