Mealey's California Insurance

  • October 11, 2021

    California Federal Judge Transfers Venue In Vehicle Accident Case Against USAA

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Sept. 28 granted an insurance company’s motion to change venue because of choice/convenience of forum and denied its motion to dismiss as moot in a case by an insured who was involved in an automobile accident and alleges that the insurer acted in bad faith by refusing to “fairly negotiate . . . and pay” the amount to which he was legally entitled.

  • October 08, 2021

    Breach Of Contract Suit Filed Against Reinsurers Over Asbestos, Other Claim Bills

    LOS ANGELES — An insurer sued reinsurers over billings for claims related to asbestos and other issues in California state court on Sept. 30, alleging breach of contract and seeking declaratory relief; the insurer also moved for an order to seal information related to prior settlement agreements.

  • October 08, 2021

    Jury Finds Insurer Acted In Bad Faith, Awards Actress $6.3M In Woolsey Fire Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A jury in a California federal court on Oct. 4 determined that an insurer breached its homeowners’ insurance policy with actress Shannen Doherty and further breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in its handling of her Woolsey Fire claim, awarding Doherty more than $6.3 million, which includes amounts for remediation and living expenses.

  • October 08, 2021

    Trial Set In Mortgagors’ Anti-Kickback Suit Against Insurers, Captive Reinsurer

    FRESNO — A jury trial on allegations by a class of mortgagors that private mortgage insurers and a captive reinsurer violated anti-kickback provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) will commence Feb. 15, according to an Oct. 5 notice in the case before a federal court in California.

  • October 07, 2021

    Solar Power Company Sues Insurer For Coverage Following Gas Explosion

    SAN FRANCISCO — A solar power company asserts in a complaint filed Sept. 27 in federal court in California that an insurer had a duty to defend it, as an additional insured, against lawsuits following a gas explosion because the insurer agreed to defend the company against some of the lawsuits and the lawsuits all arose from the same incident.

  • October 06, 2021

    California Federal Judge: Work-Product Exclusion Does Not Preclude Duty To Defend

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in Calif. on Sept. 16 granted an insured subcontractor’s motion for partial summary judgment in a construction defects insurance coverage dispute, finding that the possibility that another subcontractor was responsible for the insured’s work being damaged triggered the insurer’s duty to defend despite the work-product exclusion in the insurance policy.

  • October 06, 2021

    Judge Dismisses California Authority’s Tortious Bad Faith Claims Against Reinsurers

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California joint power authority’s allegations against reinsurers lack factors that the California Supreme Court has relied on to extend tort recovery in the insurance context, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 27, dismissing claims for tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and striking the authority’s prayers for punitive damages and attorney fees from the breach of contract complaint.

  • October 06, 2021

    Insured Did Not Plausibly Allege Property Incurred Physical Alterations, Panel Says

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an insured’s putative class action seeking coverage for class members’ “substantial financial losses” resulting from the coronavirus and subsequent civil authority orders, rejecting the insured’s contention that pursuant to California’s rules of policy interpretation, the lower court had a duty to adopt the insured’s reasonable interpretation of the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to property.”

  • October 06, 2021

    9th Circuit Rejects Retailer’s Appeal In Coronavirus Coverage Class Action

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a retailer insured’s class complaint seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that its interpretation that the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage to” insured property requires physical alteration of property is consistent with other policy provisions.

  • October 06, 2021

    Court Overrules Insurer’s Demurrer Of Coverage Suit Over Postponed Metallica Shows

    LOS ANGELES — A California judge on Oct. 1 overruled an insurer’s demurrer to an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit seeking coverage under a “Cancellation, Abandonment and Non-Appearance Insurance” policy for the postponement of the last six shows of Metallica’s South American tour in 2020, finding that the insurer “inadequately investigated” the claim and that the complaint adequately alleged that the coronavirus “is not the efficient proximate cause” of the concert cancellations.

  • October 06, 2021

    Panel:  Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For Minor League Baseball Teams’ Losses

    SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of a breach of contract and declaratory judgment lawsuit brought against insurers by small businesses that own and operate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams, finding that the virus exclusion bars business interruption coverage for their losses arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • October 01, 2021

    California Panel Reinstates Insurer’s Equitable Indemnity, Contribution Claims

    SAN DIEGO — An insurer may proceed with its claims for equitable indemnity and contribution against two other insurers related to an underlying condominium construction defects case that is now over after showing that a trial court erred in sustaining demurrers, a California appellate panel ruled in a Sept. 22 unpublished opinion.

  • September 28, 2021

    9th Circuit Sets Oral Argument For Row Over Regulators’ Conservatorship Of Insurer

    SAN FRANCISCO — In a Sept. 26 docket entry, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals filed notice of oral argument scheduled for Dec. 7 in a suit alleging that California state regulators abused their authority in obtaining a conservatorship against a workers’ compensation insurance carrier; the appeal followed a federal judge in California’s dismissal of the suit upon determining that the prior exclusive jurisdiction rule and abstention under Younger v. Harris apply.

  • September 22, 2021

    Breach Of Contract, Bad Faith Claims Dismissed; Suit Limitation Provision Applies

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal magistrate judge on Sept. 17 granted a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s breach of contract and bad faith suit after determining that the insured failed to file the suit within a year after reporting the loss or damage to the insurer as required by the policy’s one-year suit limitations provision.

  • September 20, 2021

    Federal Judge Dismisses Consolidated Class Ski Pass Action Arising From COVID-19

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In an opinion filed Sept. 16, a federal judge in Missouri granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a consolidated class action complaint seeking coverage for passes for ski resorts that were prematurely closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, finding that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for breach of contract.

  • September 20, 2021

    Insurance Regulators To 9th Circuit:  Suit Testing Conservatorship Rightly Tossed

    SAN FRANCISCO — A suit alleging that California state regulators abused their authority in obtaining a conservatorship against a workers’ compensation insurance carrier was correctly dismissed because the prior exclusive jurisdiction rule and abstention under Younger v. Harris apply, the regulators argue in their Sept. 15 appellees’ brief before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

  • September 16, 2021

    Relator’s Failure To Oppose Dismissal Motion Leads Judge To Dismiss FCA Suit

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the second time in less than a year, a federal judge in California on Aug. 18 dismissed a woman’s second False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing two medical foundations and a group of doctors of fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for breast cancer surgeries by upcoding services and unbundling procedures, finding that the woman failed to oppose the medical foundations’ motion at all.

  • September 09, 2021

    Federal Judge Partially Grants Judgment In Favor Of Disability Claimant

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Sept. 7 partially granted a disability claimant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record after determining that the claimant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that she was disabled for a period of time from performing the duties of her own occupation.

  • September 08, 2021

    Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Equitable Contribution, Breach Of Contract Claims

    SEATTLE — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 31 reversed a district court’s dismissal of breach of contract and equitable contribution claims alleged against an insurer in a construction defects coverage dispute after determining that the lower court erred in finding that the equitable contribution claim was time-barred and that the breach of contract claim was not properly alleged against the insurer by another insurer as the assignee of the insured.

  • September 08, 2021

    Government Reaches $90M Settlement With Health Care Provider Over FCA Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — A nonprofit health care provider and certain of its affiliates will pay $90 million to resolve claims with the U.S. government alleging that the defendants violated provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA) by using fraudulent diagnostic codes to seek overpayment from the Medicare Advantage Program for patient treatment at the provider’s facilities, according to a settlement agreement reached between the government and the defendants that was filed Aug. 30 in California federal court.