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Arizona Court of Appeals Reverses $1 Million Award of Punitive Damages in Insurance Bad Faith Case for Alleged “Institutional Bad...

In Sobieski v. Am. Standard Ins. Co. of Wisconsin, 2016 WL 5436588 (Ariz.App. Sept. 29, 2016), despite upholding a bad faith judgment for an insurer conducting an unreasonable investigation and denying a claim, the Arizona...more

5 Wishes for Securities Litigation Defense: Early Damages Analysis and Discovery

The fifth of my “5 Wishes for Securities Litigation Defense” (April 30, 2016 post) is to move securities class action damages expert reports and discovery ahead of fact discovery. This simple change would allow the...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies Constitutional Limits on Punitive Damages

In Brandt v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court held that when a plaintiff proves that an insurance company withheld policy benefits in bad faith, attorneys' fees reasonably incurred to compel payment of the...more

An Injunction By Another Name May Still Immediately Be Appealed

The Third Circuit recently reaffirmed its authority to hear appeals from district court interlocutory orders that grant prospective equitable relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1), even where injunctive relief had not expressly...more

Insurance Coverage – Equitable Subrogation – Doctrine of Superior Equities

Amco Insurance Company, et al. v All Solutions Insurance Agency, LLC - Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District (February 8, 2016) - Equitable subrogation is most commonly employed when an insurer pays its...more

Penalty Declined – Party Escapes Summary Judgment Despite Evasive Discovery Responses

On February 17, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District in People ex rel. Government Employees Insurance Company (“GEICO”) v. Cruz (Court of Appeal D067061, Superior Court Case 37-2013-00029878),...more

New York Rescission Law Strikes Again: Lessons Learned From the Voiding of Heinz’s Product Contamination Insurance Policy

An increasingly popular tool in the insurer’s toolset is attempted rescission of the policy. This tool is particularly sharp if the law applicable to the construction of the policy is that of New York. Earlier this week, the...more

Court of Appeals of Wisconsin: Insured Must Be “Made Whole” For Total Loss Before Insurer Can Recover Subrogated Funds

Dufour v. Progressive Classic Ins. Co., No. 2014AP157, 2015 WL 4275292 (Wis. Ct. App. July 16, 2015). The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin reverses the Circuit Court for Dodge County and remands for proceedings on damages...more

California Supreme Court Permits Restitution Claim By Insurer Against Independent Counsel

In its recent decision in Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. v. J.R. Marketing, L.L.C., — (Cal. Aug. 10, 2015), the Supreme Court of California had occasion to consider an insurer’s right to reimbursement from Cumis counsel for...more

Has Exposure To Punitive Damages Increased In Arizona?

Until recently, it was generally accepted that punitive damages awards are to track awards of compensatory damages on a 1:1 ratio. This ratio was convenient for defendants, as it provided some amount of certainty when...more

Arizona Reduces Punitive Damages in Insurance Bad Faith Case Again: Arellano v. Primerica Life Insurance

In Arellano v. Primerica Life Insurance Company, 235 Ariz. 371, 332 P.3d 597 (App. 2014), despite finding an insurer’s conduct moderately to highly reprehensible, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently reduced a punitive...more

Texas Insurers: Don’t Forget ‘Excessive Demand Doctrine’

With the onslaught of recent hail and other weather related litigation, insurance carriers routinely see excessive and unreasonable settlement demands in statutorily required presuit notice letters. The “excessive demand...more

California’s “Independent” Cumis Counsel Regime Faces A Novel Challenge

On May 5, the California Supreme Court will hear argument in a case that has the potential to profoundly change the relationship between the insurer, its insured and the insured’s independent defense counsel under Civil Code...more

Illinois Court Holds No Duty to Defend Malicious Prosecution Suit

In Indian Harbor Ins. Co. v. City of Waukegan, 2015 IL App (2d) 140293 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 2015) the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, had occasion to consider when coverage for a malicious prosecution claim...more

En Banc Sixth Circuit Rules Against Disgorgement Remedy in Benefits Case

In Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074 (6th Cir. March 5, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled that an insurance company that wrongfully denied benefits to...more

Disgorgement of Profits Not Available for Arbitrary and Capricious Benefits Denial – This Time

Wrongful denial of employee benefits will not expose plan fiduciaries to equitable remedies – such as disgorgement of profits – where restoration of benefits is adequate to make the claimant whole, says the Sixth Circuit in...more

ERISA: 6th Circuit — Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz: Oh What A RELIEF It Is: No Disgorgement For Arbitrary Denial Of Benefits

Does an arbitrary and capricious denial of ERISA governed disability benefits create a right to disgorgement of profits? NO....more

Revisiting Rochow: The Sixth Circuit Rejects Earlier $3.8 Million Equitable Award in Recent En Banc Decision

Just over a year ago, a panel decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Rochow v. Life Insurance Company of North America, 737 F.3d 415 made big news when the court upheld the district court’s award of $3.8 million in...more

Sixth Circuit Overturns the Lower Court’s Award of $3.8 Million in Alleged Profits Arising From a Denial of Benefits

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, has overturned the decision of a divided three-judge Sixth Circuit panel which had affirmed the district court’s award of $3.8 million of “disgorged” profits,...more

Court of Appeals of New Mexico Reverses Bad Faith Judgment for Insured and Remands for New Trial on Bad Faith Claim

Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. v. Vigil, No. 32,171 (N.M. Ct. App. Jan. 21, 2015). Court of Appeals of New Mexico rules that district court abused its discretion in excluding evidence of previous coverage ruling in...more

ERISA Fiduciaries Have a Duty to Inform

SUMMARY: In this case, the court found that the employer, serving as plan administrator of a group life insurance plan providing basic and supplemental coverage, may be liable for monetary damages for breach of its fiduciary...more

If You Are a Third-Party Beneficiary, Make Sure the Contract Is Crystal Clear!

In Be Clear if You Want to Have a “Third-Party Beneficiary” in Your Contract, I discussed that if in-house counsel wanted to ensure that a person or entity achieved the status of a third-party beneficiary, it was critical to...more

No Private Right to Recoup Funds Based on Corporate Practice of Medicine Violation

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled recently that the state’s corporate practice of medicine doctrine does not provide a private right of action, either express or implied, and...more

Is That Covered? Hail Damage

Back in May, 2014, parts of Berks and Lancaster counties were hit with a freak hail storm. With hail as large as tennis balls reported, homes and cars suffered significant damage. Hail damage is generally covered under auto...more

Missouri Court Allows Insured to Pursue Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against Excess Insurer

In its recent decision in SSM Health Care Corp. v. Repwest Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158164 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 7, 2014), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri had occasion to consider whether...more

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