The Appellate Strategist

The Appellate Strategist

Insights on appellate issues, trial consultations, and evaluating appeals

Category Archives: Insurance

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California Supreme Court to Tackle Labor and Insurance Issues

Posted in California, Employment, Insurance
The California Supreme Court has five civil cases scheduled for its April calendar, each addressing important questions of labor and insurance law.   Independent Contractors or Employees – Class Actions: In Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., S206874, the court will address the determination of whether and when common issues dominate in a class action in [&hellip… Continue Reading

A Claim for Medical Expenses Is Limited to the Rate Negotiated by Plaintiff’s Insurer – So Rules The California Supreme Court in Howell

Posted in California, Insurance
  Adding its voice to a continuing national debate, the California Supreme Court has adopted the minority rule and held that tort damages for past medical expenses are limited to those amounts actually paid and accepted as full payment for the services provided, when such amounts are determined by an existing agreement with the plaintiff’s [&hellip… Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Concludes Significant Litigation Involving Surplus Lines Carrier

Posted in Florida, Insurance
On January 18, 2011, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Essex Insurance Co. v. Zota (.pdf) brought an end to seven years of litigation and four appellate proceedings, when it affirmed a final declaratory judgment entered in favor of a surplus lines insurer, Essex Insurance Company, following a jury trial.  Although the Eleventh Circuit’s [&hellip… Continue Reading

The California Supreme Court Issues Unanimous Opinions Addressing Insurance, Consumer Protection and ADR

Posted in California, Insurance
Insurance – In Century-National Ins. Co. v. Jesus Garcia, the court held that a fire insurance policy could not exclude coverage for innocent insureds because of the intentional acts of another insured; in this case the intentional act of the son setting fire to his parents house. The policy excluded coverage based on the intentional [&hellip… Continue Reading

Important Medicare Preemption Decision

Posted in Insurance
At long last, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the Uhm v. Humana, Inc. (.pdf), matter, finding the Medicare Act’s exhaustion requirements and preemption provision barred all of the plaintiffs’ common law claims. (– F.3d —  (9th Cir. 2010).) Originally, the court issued an opinion two years ago, but vacated the [&hellip… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Grants Review in Four Cases

Posted in Insurance, Texas
On May 28, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court granted petitions for review in the following cases: Anglo-Dutch Petroleum Int’l v. Greenberg Peden P.C.—This case concerns the construction of a contingency fee agreement and the circumstances under which a court can conclude that an agreement is ambiguous. Hyde Park Baptist Church v. Turner—This case concerns the [&hellip… Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court Decides That Bad-Faith Claim Cannot Be Maintained Against Indemnity Insurer Where Bad Faith Did Not Cause Insured’s Damages

Posted in Florida, Insurance
The Florida Supreme Court recently decided, in a case of first impression, that a cause of action for third-party bad faith against an indemnity insurer cannot be maintained when the insurer’s actions were not a cause of the damages to the insured or when the insurer’s actions never resulted in exposure to liability in excess [&hellip… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Short List Profiles: Justice Carlos Moreno of the California Supreme Court

Posted in Federal, Insurance, Supreme Court Vacancy
Appellate Strategist has posted several times in the last week about names being discussed as possible nominees to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. But a list of names, however important, says little about the nominees. We therefore begin our series of short profiles of those whose names top the list. We begin with Carlos Moreno, an Associate Justice [&hellip… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Grants Review in Six Cases

Posted in Employment, Insurance, Texas
On April 9, the Texas Supreme Court granted petitions for review in the following cases: Offshore Specialty Fabricators v. Wellington Underwriting Associates. The case addresses whether an all-risk insurance policy covers weather stand-by charges incurred by the insured. XTO Energy Inc. v. Smith Production Inc. The case will determine whether joint operating agreements for oil [&hellip… Continue Reading

“Cutting-Edge” Law: Another California Court Trims a 7-Figure Punitive Damages Award Down to Size

Posted in California, Insurance, Punitive Damages
Add yet another appellate opinion to the growing list of California courts that have cut punitive damage awards on constitutional excessiveness grounds. In this one, Amerigraphics, the jury awarded $3 million in punitive damages in an insurance bad faith case.  The trial court cut that number  to $1.7 million, but according to the California Court [&hellip… Continue Reading

California: Cutting Back On Punitive Damages Against Insurers?

Posted in Insurance, Punitive Damages
With a recent employment decision, the California Supreme Court has handed insurance companies a compelling new argument, potentially limiting their exposure to punitive damages in bad faith cases. The question is: when is an insurance company subject to punitive damages for the acts of an employee/ adjuster in connection with the handling of a single [&hellip… Continue Reading

Innocent Blood: California Style. May the “Innocent” Insured Recover Despite a Coinsured’s Intentional, Excluded Act?

Posted in California, Insurance
The problem of coverage for the so-called "innocent insured" is a recurring one.  The issue arises when there is more than one insured on the policy and one commits an act that would bar coverage.  Does that act bar coverage for all, or only for the intentional actor?  In California, this problem has reared its head [&hellip… Continue Reading

Florida Insurance Brokers Beware: Liability Expands

Posted in Florida, Insurance
Insurance brokers in Florida can now be liable to insurance companies which suffer a loss as a result of the broker’s own fraud or negligence in providing information in an application material to the issuance of a policy. An appellate court in Florida has issued an opinion applying section 552 of the Restatement (Second) of [&hellip… Continue Reading

California Appellate Court End-Runs Moradi-Shalal

Posted in California, Insurance
The California Court of Appeal has issued an opinion which, if allowed to stand, threatens to eat away at the once-settled body of law that prohibits third-party claimants who were injured by an insured from suing the insured’s insurance company for unfair claims settlement practices under California Insurance Code § 790.03.  Over 20 years ago, the [&hellip… Continue Reading

Money for Nothing: Can You Collect for Expenses Nobody Will Ever Pay?

Posted in California, Insurance
Can a California trial court reduce a personal injury plaintiff’s recovery for medical expenses to reflect the amount actually paid by his health insurer?  That question matters a lot to attorneys, parties and insurers, trying to value claims and where appropriate, seek settlements in thousands of cases every day. For twenty years, the answer under California [&hellip… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Civil Issues Pending: Insurance

Posted in Insurance, Texas
[UPDATED THROUGH APRIL 1, 2010] Assumption of Liability Exclusion. Where the insured is immune from tort liability as a government contractor and the alleged contractual liability mirrors tort liability, does the insurance policy’s assumption of contractual liability exclusion apply? Did insurer waive its coverage defenses by associating in the defense of the insured? Gilbert Texas Construction [&hellip… Continue Reading