California Supreme Court Civil Issues Pending: Insurance

[UPDATED THROUGH AUGUST 5, 2014]

Can an Insurer Seek Reimbursement from Independent Counsel?  After the Court of Appeal affirmed judgment, the Court granted review on following issue: After an insured has secured a judgment requiring an insurer to provide independent counsel to the insured (see San Diego Fed. Credit Union v. Cumis Ins. Society Inc. (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 358), can the insurer seek reimbursement of defense fees and costs it considers unreasonable and unnecessary by pursuing a reimbursement action against independent counsel or can the insurer seek reimbursement only from its insured? Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. v. J.R. Marketing, L.L.C., S211645 (opinon below A133750, formerly 216 Cal.App.4th 1444). Review was granted 9/18/13.

Is the Henkel Corp. Opinion Inconsistent With Ins. Code § 520? After the Court of Appeal denied a petition for peremptory writ of mandate, the Court granted review on the following issue: Are the limitations on assignment of third party liability insurance policy benefits recognized in Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 934 inconsistent with the provisions of Insurance Code § 520? Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court, S205889 (opinion below, G045579, formerly 208 Cal.App.4th 1506). Review was granted 12/12/12.

Are Claims of State Labor and Insurance Laws Violations Preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act? Is an action under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) that is based on a trucking company’s alleged violation of state labor and insurance laws “related to the price, route, or service” of the company and, therefore, preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (49 U.S.C. § 14501)? People ex re. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., S194388 (opinion below B220966, formerly 195 Cal.App.4th 765), review granted 8/10/11.  Update 6/26/13: Court orders supplemental briefing addressing the effect of American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (2013) 569 U.S. ___ [2013 U.S. LEXIS 4539], and Dan's City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey (2013) 569 U.S. ___ [133 S. Ct. 1769] on the issue of preemption by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994.  Update 12/11/13: Review granted in Rodriguez v. RWA Trucking Company, Inc., S214150 (opinion below B241727, as modified, formerly 219 Cal.App.4th 692), with briefing deferred until a decision in Pac Anchor.  Update 5/1/14: Oral argument scheduled for 5/28/14.  Update 5/28/14: Case argued and submitted. The briefs are hereUpdate 7/28/14: Opinion issued. The unanimous Court held that the FAAAA does not preempt the People’s UCL action against defendants because the FAAAA addresses the transportation of property, not labor and insurance issues, and that this action is independent of defendants’ prices, routes, or services with respect to the transportation of property. Update 7/30/14: Review granted in Grupp v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., S218754 (opinion below B245297, formerly 225 Cal.App.4th 510), with briefing deferred until a decision in Pac Anchor.

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