Thomas F. Segalla

All articles by Thomas F. Segalla

 

First Circuit: Statute Of Limitations Does Not Apply Separately For Each LTD Benefit Payment

In a recent ERISA disability benefits case, the First Circuit answered the following questions involving a claim for the underpayment of monthly benefits: 1) when does the underpayment claim accrue?; and 2) does each new monthly underpayment give rise to a new claim? In this case, the LTD claim was approved, but the insurer denied the claimant’s assertion that the benefits amount was inaccurate. Ordinarily, a cause of action for ERISA benefits accrues when a fiduciary denies a participant benefits.
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FEMA Sends Warning about Time to Sue Over Coverage Disputes

On October 1, 2013, FEMA announced that it was extending the proof of loss deadline by six months for flood insurance policy claims due to Superstorm Sandy. Normally, policyholders have sixty days from the date of loss in which to provide proof of loss. However, given the extensive damage caused by Sandy, FEMA extended the deadline. On November 9, 2012, FEMA extended the deadline for 1 year. FEMA extended it again October 1, 2013 creating a new deadline of April
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IRS Deals Another Blow to Businesses, Says Wellness Programs Won’t Qualify under ACA

The IRS released proposed new rules which will curb most employer initiated wellness programs from qualifying towards the minimum value for the coverage employers are expected to offer every full-time employee. The wellness programs were said to be discriminatory, due to incentives that not all employees could qualify for which would mean charging more for those who did not qualify under the wellness program for added benefits. Labor unions and employee advocacy groups resisted the wellness programs on this account,
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No Coverage for Sandusky under Not-For-Profit D&O Policy

Federal Ins. Co. v. Sandusky, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, March 1, 2013 Federal Insurance Company brought an action seeking a declaration that it had no obligation to provide coverage to Gerald Sandusky for civil and criminal claims brought against him for the sexual abuse and molestation of children. The court granted Federal summary judgment, finding that Sandusky did not commit those crimes in his insured capacity. Federal insured The Second Mile, which was a
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Second Circuit Finds Coverage For Environmental Claims Based on Continuing Damage Provision in Excess Policies

Olin Corporation v. American Home Assurance Co. (2nd Cir, December 19, 2012) This environmental coverage dispute arises out of ground water contamination claims involving Olin’s Morgan Hill, California site, which had used the chemical potassium perchlorate in the manufacturing of signal flares beginning in 1956.  Olin appealed from the district court granting summary judgment to the insurers on the ground that the attachment point for the excess insurance policies could not be reached by the alleged environmental damage at the
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Announcing the Formation of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel

The American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel has been formed by leading lawyers in the United States and Canada to improve the quality of the practice of insurance law. The College focuses on the creative, ethical, and efficient adjudication of disputes between policyholders and insurers over insurance coverage as well as extracontractual damages, which are a form of punitive damages awarded against an insurer in claims alleging bad faith or unfair claims-handling practices. Its members represent the interests of
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Sixth Circuit Upholds Kentucky’s Exacting Bad Faith Standards

Nat’l Sur. Corp. v. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co. U.S. Ct. Apps., 6th Cir., October 9, 2012 An excess insurer sought reversal of the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the underlying insurer on its bad faith claims. The underlying action involved a weed trimmer head made by the insured that allegedly shattered during use and severely lacerated the leg of the underlying plaintiff. The insurer refused to settle the claim for its policy limit, $1 million. When
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Fifth Circuit Finds Prejudice, Upholds Excess Insurer’s Rights to Notice

Berkley Reg. Ins. Co. v. Phil. Indem. Ins. Co. U.S. Ct. Apps. 5th Cir. (Tex.) Aug. 2, 2012 The underlying lawsuit involved a slip and fall with $1 million of primary coverage and excess/umbrella coverage of $20 million. The case went to trial and the jury awarded $1,654,663.50. Thereafter, the primary insurer demanded the excess insurer to pay the amount of the judgment in excess of the primary coverage amount. The excess insurer refused and contested coverage based on policy
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Insurer to Pay for Museum’s Oil Cleanup

Peabody Essex Museum, Inc. v. U.S. Fire Insurance Company (D. Mass. July 18, 2012) On July 18, 2012 the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts affirmed a lower court finding that U.S. Fire Insurance Company should have to pay 43% of the $1.5 million clean up costs for an oil spill on the property of the Peabody Essex Museum.  U.S. Fire had filed a motion to reconsider following the determination of U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gertner
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Connecticut Federal Court: No A.I. Coverage Simply Because Named Insured Employed Injured Plaintiffs

Northeast Utilities Serv. Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. (D. Conn. July 12, 2012) A Connecticut federal judge recently ruled that a liability insurer was not obligated to provide additional insured coverage to a utility company absent allegations or evidence that the named insured subcontractor’s acts or omissions led to a fatal electrical explosion killing one of its employees. Northeast Utilities (NU) entered into a Master Services Agreement with American Electrical Testing Co. (AET), under which AET
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Ninth Circuit Bad Faith Ruling is Bad News for Insurers

Du v. Allstate Ins. Co. (9th Cir. (Cal.) June 11, 2012) The Ninth Circuit ruled last week that an insurer’s covenant of good faith and fair dealing requires an insurer to effectuate settlement when liability is reasonably clear, even in the absence of a settlement demand. The action arose when Joon Hak Kim’s vehicle collided with another vehicle, injuring all four passengers in the second vehicle, including Yan Fang Du. Kim was insured by Deerbrook Insurance Company, a subsidiary of
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Triable Issues Of Fact Existed Regarding Policyholder’s Detrimental Reliance On Certificate Of Flood Insurance

Witkowski v. Richard W. Endlar Ins. Agency, Inc. (Massachusetts Court of Appeals, May 29, 2012) In this coverage dispute, the policyholder appealed an adverse summary judgment ruling dismissing its claims arising from a flood of the Shawsheen River that destroyed multiple basement residential condominium units. After the flood, a trustee of the condominium association told the four basement unit owners that their units were excluded from coverage under the association’s master policy.  Also, applicable building codes prohibited units at basement
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CaseWatch: Insurance – Cases from the February 24, 2010 Edition

Cases provided courtesy of Lexis Download American Home Assurance Co. v. Pope  Download Associated Ins. Serv., Inc. v. Garcia  Download Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Ferwerda Enters., Inc.  Download Bilezikjian v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America  Download Burns v. Smith  Download Butterfly-Biles v. State Farm Life Ins. Co.  Download C's Discount Pharmacy, Inc. v. Pacific Ins. Co., LTD  Download Currier v. Penn Ohio Logistics  Download Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of Ak., Inc. v. Gadbury-Swift  Download Farrell v. Twenty-First Century
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Second Circuit Affirms Enforceability Of Arbitration Agreement In Employment Discrimination Case

Ragone v. Atlantic Video, ESPN et. al. (United States Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, February 17, 2010)   Plaintiff-appellant appealed from an order of the district court which granted the motions of Atlantic Video and ESPN dismissing the complaint and compelling arbitration in a Title VII employment discrimination and sexual harassment action.  In affirming the trial court decision, the court of appeals upheld the enforceability of the arbitration agreement against claims that it is was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable.
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Court Awards Attorneys’ Fees Arising from Enforcement of Arbitration Award

Gentle Wace Shipping S.A. v. Transfield Shipping Inc. (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2010)   A federal judge has awarded attorneys’ fees to a party attempting to enforce a previously-determined arbitration award. In Gentle Wave, a panel of two members of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association issued an arbitration award in favor of petitioner Gentle Wave and against respondent Transfield. Transfield failed to pay the award, forcing Gentle Wave to commence an action to confirm the award, enter judgment, and award attorneys’
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DISTRICT COURT ORDERS ARBITRATION OF REINSURANCE DISPUTE

Trustmark Ins. Co. v. Clarendon National Ins. Co. et al. (N.D. Ill. February 1, 2010)   Defendants reinsured plaintiff under a Variable Quota Share Treaty (“VQST”) effective on June 1, 1997 and renewed effective June 1, 1998.  Defendants also reinsured plaintiff under excess-of-loss agreements.   The 1998 VQST and the excess-of-loss agreement were the basis of a dispute between the parties that culminated in both parties demanding arbitration.  The parties arbitrated the excess-of-loss agreement first, which arbitration was governed by
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CaseWatch: Insurance – Cases for the February 18, 2010 Edition

Download Bramer v. Utica Mutual Ins. Co.  Download Countryway Ins. Co. v. Slaugenhoup  Download Douglas Ridge Rifle Club v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co.  Download Essex Ins. Co. v. Tri-Area Amusement Co.  Download Forecast Homes, Inc. v. Steadfast Ins. Co.  Download Martin v. Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK), P.L.C.  Download Mastec, Inc. v. United States Fire Ins. Co.  Download McHenry v. PacificSource Health Plans  Download National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Nvidia Corp.  Download Ochs v.
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Service of Suit Provision Operates to Waive Serbian Reinsurer’s Removal Rights Despite Lack of Sophistication in U.S. Reinsurance Market

Dinallo v. Dunav Insurance Co. (S.D.N.Y. February 1, 2010)   In a motion for reconsideration in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York, a Serbian reinsurance company sought reversal of an order remanding a suit to New York State supreme court.  The suit was brought by the New York Superintendant of Insurance in his capacity as Liquidator of Midland Insurance Company.  Between 1978 and 1980, Midland entered into four separate reinsurance contracts with the Serbian reinsurer. 
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February Edition of Professional Liability Monthly is Now Available

For a free copy click here To be added to our distribution list to receive the publication directly via email, please contact Brian Biggie at bbiggie@goldbergsegalla.com    
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Cases for Professional Liability Monthly

Download Pendergest-Holt v. Lloyd's Download AIMCO v. Nutmeg Ins Download Fireman's Fund v. T.D. Bankworth Download United Health v. Columbia Download Bereyni Inc. v. Landmark Download Haney v. Continental Cas Download General Star v. Boudreau Download American Home v. Pope Download AT&T Answer Download Pet Co. Order Download National Union Order
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Florida Court Of Appeals Denied Summary Judgment In Favor of Insurer And Remanded Breach Of Contract Claim Where Issues Of Fact Existed Whether Post-Suit Payment of Proceeds Constituted “Confession of Judgment” On Part Of The Insurer

Clifton v. United Casualty Ins. Co. (Florida Court of Appeal, Second District, February 12, 2010)   The policyholder appealed final judgment entered in favor of the insurer in a breach of contract action arising out of damage suffered during Hurricane Charley. The primary issue involved whether an insurer’s post-suit payment of additional policy proceeds constitutes a “confession of judgment” and whether the filing of the suit acted as a “necessary catalyst” to resolve the dispute.   Specifically, in August 2004,
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New York State Superintendent of Insurance Discusses the Possible Re-Emergence of the New York Insurance Exchange

Last week in London, James Wrynn, New York's Superintendent of Insurance, discussed the possibility of reconstituting a New York Insurance Exchange during a panel conference at the invitation of the Insurance Insider.  While recognizing the challenges to a New York Insurance Exchange, Mr. Wrynn believes that such an exchange could be a tremendous asset in providing the flexibility and technological advancements to the claims process. A copy of the article summarizing Mr. Wynn's discussion can be found here Sharon Angelino, Tom
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Airlines and Insurers Seek to Keep 9/11 Settlements Confidential

In re September 11 Litigation (S.D.N.Y February 5, 2010)   A number of airlines and insurers have jointly moved for an order rendering the amount of certain settlements and the allocation of such funds under seal. The movants contend that disclosure of such information will be misleading and undermine the reputation of the aviation industry. Moreover, it is asserted that disclosure of this information will potentially damage the prospects of completing settlement negotiations.   For a copy of the motion,
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Insurer Required to Defend Directors and Officers Against Ponzi Claims

Pendergest-Holt v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London (S.D. Tex. January 26, 2010)   The directors and officers of a corporation were indicted for involvement in an alleged Ponzi scheme, and the Securities and Exchange Commission commenced a civil action alleging that the insureds conspired to deceive investors and sold sham certificates of deposits ("CDs").  As an initial matter, the Court noted that the policy's Fraud Exclusion could not be a valid basis for the insurer's refusal to pay defense costs because the Fraud
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Accidental Death and Dismemberment Policy Covered Death Caused by Medical Malpractice

Barnes v. Am. Int'l Life Assur. Co.  (S.D.N.Y., February 4, 2010) Insured under a group accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy died after a cathe was improperly inserted in her chest, causing cardiac arrest. The insurer denied the claim arguing medical malpractice did not coverage medical malpractice and that her death was the result of sickness or disease. The district court in New York held that the insured's death was unintentional and unexpected and, therefore, an accident entitling the surviving spouse
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CaseWatch: Insurance, January 29, 2010 Edition, is Now Available

For a free copy, click here. Should you wish to receive this publication directly via email, please contact Sarah Delaney at sdelaney@goldbergsegalla.com Thank you for your interest. 
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Tenth Circuit: Insured’s Coverage Claims for Ponzi Scheme Reinstated

Apartment Investment & Mgmt. Co. (“AIMCO”) v. Nutmeg Ins. Co. (10th Cir. (Colo.) Feb. 2, 2010)   The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an insurer has a duty to defend its insured based on allegations contained in several separate but factually-related complaints. The policyholder, AIMCO, self-managed a real estate investment trust that provided property management services. Included within the services AIMCO offered was selection and procurement of necessary insurance coverage for the managed properties. AIMCO, in turn,
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Insurers Not Responsible for Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Jefferson Block 24 Oil & Gas LLC v. Aspen Ins. UK Ltd. (E.D. La. January 29, 2010)   In November 2008, plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming that defendants were obligated to reimburse it for nearly $3 million in cleanup costs relating to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The leak occurred on November 2007 while plaintiff was testing a recently acquired pipeline.  Plaintiff responded to the leak from November 2007 until April 2008.  Plaintiff and its insurers disputed
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Supreme Court Of Florida Held That Unsolicited “Blast-Faxing” Of Advertisements In Violation Of The Telephone Consumer Protection Act Is Covered Under A Commercial Liability Policy’s Advertising Injury Provision.

Penzer v. Transportation Ins. Co. (Supreme Court of Florida, January 28, 2010)   This matter involved a certified question of Florida law submitted by the United States Court Of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit concerning whether under Florida law, the sending of an unsolicited advertisement by fax, in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) 47 USCA §277 (2001) is covered by a particular insurance policy provision.  Specifically, the certified question stated, “Does a commercial liability policy which
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February Edition of the Reinsurance Review is Now Available

For a free copy click here To recieve this publication directly, please contact Jeff Kingsley at jkingsley@goldbergsegalla.com
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Cases for Reinsurance Review February 2010 Edition

Download Stolt.v.Animalfeed Download Arrowood.v.Surplus Lines. Download Century.Certain.Underwriters.at.Lloyds Download Sawyers.v.Herrin-Gear Download Trustmark.v.John.Hancock Download United.States.v.Superior If you have any questions, contact Jeff Kingsley at jkingsley@goldbergsegalla.com  
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The Devil’s In the Details: Practical Consequences Of Medical Malpractice Reform

It is likely that most readers would agree that the Obama Administration’s efforts to enact health care reform remains the most prominent domestic issue debated among elected officials and indeed, their constituents.  Regardless of one’s position regarding the necessity and/or wisdom of this proposed change, there is no escaping the existence of the debate. Certainly, there is no shortage of pundants, editorials, and white papers weighing in on the issue. As the debate rages, it seems that any conversation regarding
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Confidentiality Agreement Executed as Part of Arbitration Not Subject to Arbitration

Trustmark Insurance Company v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company (N.D.Ill. January 21, 2010)   The parties to a reinsurance contract disagreed regarding whether certain retrocessional business was part of the reinsurance contracts.  As a result, they entered into arbitration.  As part of the arbitration, the parties entered into a Confidentiality Agreement under which documents and the ultimate findings were subject to confidentiality.  The arbitrators also signed the Confidentiality Agreement.   After that arbitration, another dispute arose and the parties again
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CaseWatch Insurance October 9, 2009 Edition Now Available

For a free copy, click here If you would like to receive CaseWatch Insurance directly via email, please contact Sarah Delaney at sdelaney@goldbergsegalla.com
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Second Circuit Remands $34M Jury Verdict Against AIG

AXA Versicherung AG v. New Hampshire Ins. Co. (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 6, 2009)   A federal judge remanded a $34 million jury verdict against AIG and its subsidiaries for fraudulent inducement involving reinsurance facilities. On appeal, AIG argued that the verdict could not stand because the plaintiff’s claims should have been arbitrated or, alternatively, that they should have been tried by the bench, not a jury. The plaintiff countered that AIG waived its right to arbitration. It also argued that a
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CaseWatch: Insurance Cases for October 9, 2009 Issue

Download Accufleet, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co. Download Altimari v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada Download American Soc’y for Tech.-Israel Inst. of Tech. v. First Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co. Download Baggett v. Automobile Association of America  Download Black v. Long Term Disability Insurance  Download Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana v. Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Insurance  Download Boggs v. Great Northern Ins. Co.  Download Celina Ins. Group. v. Yoder & Frey, Inc.  Download Empire
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Insurer Must Defend Insured In Alleged Organ-Harvesting Scheme

Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co. v. Garzone (E.D. Penn, September 17, 2009)   In this declaratory judgment action, the insurer sought to have the court render a decision on whether or not it has a duty to defend and/or indemnify its policyholders, providers of crematory services, for underlying claims involving the policyholder’s selling of body parts for cash.  The underlying claims alleged that the policyholders either intentionally or by their negligence participated in a scheme to harvest organs of deceased individuals
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District Court Blocks Stanford International Bank from Obtaining Defense Funds in Alleged Ponzi Scheme

SEC v. Stanford Int'l Bank (U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. of Texas, September 28, 2009)   Robert Allen, the alleged architect of the Stanford Ponzi scheme, sought to secure up to $90 Million in insurance funds to pay defense costs. Stanford had made an emergency application to an English court seeking the policy proceeds.   The court, claiming jurisdiction over the policies at issue entered an order enjoining “Allen Stanford and anyone acting in concert with him, including his attorneys,
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Insurer Seeks to Stay Discovery on “Secondary” Coverage Claims for Bad Faith and Breach of Contract.

Intel Corp. v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co. (N.D. California, October 1, 2009)    Insurer seeks to stay discovery in anti-trust dispute regarding insured's bad faith and breach of contract claims,  arguing they are secondary to the primary coverage dispute.  Over eight years, the insurer issued excess and umbrella insurance policies totaling $300 million in coverage.  The coverage action stems from what has been called by the insured's counsel as the "largest anti-trust case that has been filed in the United States." 
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CaseWatch: Insurance October 2, 2009 Edition Is Now Available

For a free copy click here To receive new CaseWatch: Insurance publications directly, via email, kindly contact sdelaney@goldbergsegalla.com
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Goldberg Segalla’s Reinsurance Review October 2009 Edition is Now Available

For a free copy, click here To receive the Reinsurance Review directly via email, kindly contact Jeffrey Kingsley at jkingsley@goldbergsegalla.com
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Reinsurance Review Cases For October Edition

Download Princeton v. Converium Reinsurance Decision Download Miller v. Connecticut General Life Ins. Co. Decision Download Svanaca v. Rain & Hail LLC Decision Download Guarantee Life Trust v. First Student Program Decision Download PMA Capital v. Platinum Underwriters Decision Download Executive Risk Indemnity v. Charleston Area Medical Center Decision Download Ario v. Reliance Insurance Co. Download Willis Re/CNA Filing Download Liberty Mutual v. AIG Complaint  Download NAIC Proposed Legislation on Reinsurance Regulation To receive the Reinsurance Review directly via email, kindly contact Jeff
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CaseWatch: Insurance Cases for October 2, 2009

Download Allstate Indemnity Company v. Russell Download Allstate Ins. Co. v. American Home Products Download Bercier v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Ins. Co. Download Bovis Lend Lease LMB Inc. v. Garito Contracting, Inc. Download Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., L.P. v. Marsh USA, Inc. Download Capitol Specialty Insurance Corp. v. Whitaker Download Century Surety Co. v. Dewey Bellows Operating Co. Download Chartrand v. Illinois Union Insurance Company Download Continental Casualty Co. v. Consolidated Graphics Download Dunn v. Reed Group,
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Seventh Circuit Applies “Arbitrary and Capricious” Standard of Review of Long Term Disability Plan

Black v. Long Term Disability Insurance (7th Cir. [ Wis.] September 18, 2009) After being denied coverage under her employer’s long term disability plan, an employee filed an ERISA action for benefits.  The employee argued that the court should review the matter under a de novo standard.  The Seventh Circuit held that the benefits determination was subject to an arbitrary and capricious standard of review rather than de novo because the plan grants the insurer discretion in its benefits determinations. 
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National Association of Insurance Commissioners Government Relations Leadership Council approved proposed legislation intended to modernize regulation of reinsurance by the states for submission to Congress

Last week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Government Relations Leadership Council approved proposed legislation intended to modernize regulation of reinsurance by the states for submission to Congress.  The proposed legislation establishes a "Reinsurance Supervision Review Board," which has power to: "(1) evaluate the reinsurance supervisory systems of the States to determine whether such jurisdictions qualify as Home State Supervisors or Port of Entry Supervisors under standards recommended by the NAIC and adopted by the Board; (2) evaluate the reinsurance
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Court Affirms Imposition of Punitive Damages Award For Insurer’s Bad Faith In Rescinding Health Insurance Policy

Mitchell v. Fortis Ins. Co. (Supreme Court of South Carolina, September 14, 2009)   Policyholder brought causes of action for breach of contract and bad faith rescission against his insurance company, and sought actual and punitive damages as a result of the company’s termination of his health care insurance from original issuance on the grounds of a purported material misrepresentation due to a subsequent positive HIV test and mis-dated referral note.  The jury awarded the policyholder $36,000 in actual damages
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South Carolina Supreme Court Holds Coverage For Advertising Injuries Includes Trademark Infringement Claims

Super Duper, Inc. v. PennsylvaniaNat. Mut. Ins. Co., et. al.. (Supreme Court of South Carolina, September 14, 2009) As an issue of first impression in South Carolina was whether a policy’s inclusion of an advertising injury also encompassed trademark infringement claims pertaining to educational materials for children.  Mattel Inc. challenged the insured’s registration of four trademarks and the insured subsequently brought a declaratory judgment action in federal district court to determine if its trademark infringed on Mattel’s trademarks.  Super Duper
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International Alternative Dispute Resolution Academy to be Held November 18 – 20 in Chicago

The International Alternative Dispute Resolution Academy is an educational program designed to provide advanced practice and training on arbitration and mediation. Over three days, our expert faculty, consisting of practitioners, mediators, and arbitrators, will lead participants through a combination of interactive discussions and workshops. The program will follow a proven format of demonstration and hands-on practice. Highlights will include small group sessions on drafting ADR provisions and building a winning case based upon a hypothetical fact pattern. Mock role-playing vignettes will demonstrate
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District Court Divests Itself of Jurisdiction in CIGNA Class Action Settlement

Miller v. Connecticut Gen. Life Ins. Co. (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 11, 2009) The plaintiff filed suit against CIGNA to enforce an arbitration award for life insurance benefits. The plaintiff, a West Virginia resident, was a member of a settlement class in a class action brought against CIGNA in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The litigation involved alleged misrepresentations made by CIGNA and its agents to purchasers of life insurance proceeds. A Final Order from that
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District Court Denies Motion to Vacate Arbitration Decision Involving Crop Insurance Policies

Svancara v. Rain and Hail LLC (D. Neb., September 11, 2009) Plaintiffs-policyholders purchased separate crop insurance policies from defendant-insurer through an agent.  The policies included identical clauses concerning arbitration.  The policyholders made separate claims under their individual policies for crop damage which the insurer denied.  The policyholders then proceeded to arbitration and the arbitrator returned separate awards in favor of the insurer on each of the policyholders’ claims.  The policyholders then filed suit in the district court claiming that the
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