News & Analysis as of

Insurer’s Action To Arbitrate Stayed In Lieu Of Earlier-Filed State Court Coverage Action

An Illinois federal court recently stayed an insurer’s petition to compel arbitration of a dispute with its policyholder, finding that abstention in favor of an earlier-filed suit involving the parties was appropriate under...more

Utah Court: Seepage Over A Months-Long Period Is Excluded As Moral Hazard

Two weeks ago in Wheeler v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2015 WL 5714392, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131736 (C.D.Utah, Sep. 29, 2015), a Utah court barred coverage for a mold loss caused when a vacant log cabin suffered a long-term water...more

Suit Limitation Is A Contractual Term, Not A Statute Of Limitations: Virginia Supreme Court Orders Allstate’s Demurrer Be Granted

The Virginia Supreme Court recently clarified that, even if the suit limitation in a standard fire insurance policy incorporates the language required by Virginia Code, the suit limitation language is not subject to statutory...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - September 2015

Kennedy v. Allstate, No. 15-2221 (E.D. Pa. July 8, 2015). District Court recognizes possibility that insurance adjusters owe a duty of care to insureds that would be breached by failing to conduct a reasonable...more

Why Shady Grove Should Be No Impediment To Obtaining Bifurcation In Federal Court

As we have noted in prior posts, many states require courts to bifurcate punitive damages trials upon the defendant’s request. The question therefore arises whether a federal court sitting in diversity must or, at least...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - July 2015

Eighth Circuit: No Bad Faith Where Insured Failed to Make a Sufficient Demand and Insurer Refused to Entertain Settlement Offer Prior to Completing Investigation - Purscell v. Tico Ins. Co., No. 13-2362, 2015 WL 3855253...more

State Bans on Consumer Class Actions in Jeopardy

Numerous states have adopted statutory bans on “unfair” or “deceptive” trade practices. When state legislature enacted those statutes, most of them decided to let consumers sue directly for damages. However, many state...more

Not-So-Sudden Impact: Insurers Face A New Breed Of Claim Under the Fair Housing Act (Part 1 of 3)

Late in June, in Texas Dept. of Housing v. Inclusive Communities, No. 13–1371 (U.S. June 25, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court ended years of debate by embracing a “disparate impact” claim against a housing authority under the...more

Eleventh Circuit Holds Rule 23 Trumps State Law Precluding Private Class Actions

The Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act’s (ADTPA) restriction on private class actions does not apply in federal court. Federal Rule 23 controls. That’s what the Eleventh Circuit recently held, relying on Shady Grove...more

Insurance Fraud Act Suits by Insurers Held to Trigger Right to Jury Trials in New Jersey

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that a civil defendant sued by an insurance company for violations of the state’s Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA) has the right to trial by jury. In Allstate New...more

Third Circuit Holds That Under Pennsylvania Law An Insured Against Whom Punitive Damages Have Been Imposed May Not Recover Those...

As a matter of public policy, Pennsylvania (like a number of other states) prohibits insuring against punitive damages. But what happens if an insurer refuses to settle a case against a policyholder within policy limits and...more

Supreme Court to Revisit Class-Certification Standards in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo

Monday, the Supreme Court granted review in what may be a major decision on the standards for class certification, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, a court may not...more

Supreme Court To Decide Whether To Hear Four High-Stakes Cases Asking When A Suit May Be Litigated As A Class Action

The Supreme Court will decide before the end of this Term whether to hear any or all of four important cases that raise recurring questions of class action law that have sharply divided the lower courts. These cases address...more

Georgia Court: Policy Does Not Require Insured to Produce Recordings of Her Conversations With the Carrier

On May 20th, a federal court in Georgia held that the standard “requirements in case of loss” language compelling the insurer to turn over her books and records during the adjustment process did not require the production of...more

Words Have Consequences: Insurer Narrowly Avoids Disclosing the Privileged Contents of Hundreds of Claim Files

It’s not news that plaintiffs’ lawyers contrive far-fetched rationales for rummaging through insurer’s records, but a recent case from South Dakota illustrates just how much discovery even flimsy arguments can...more

Is a Company’s Release of Claims a Form of Retaliation under Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws? EEOC v. Allstate

The EEOC may have taken enforcement of anti-retaliation provisions of antidiscrimination laws a step too far the Third Circuit ruled in February, and companies transitioning a work force from employees to independent...more

Divided New York Court of Appeals Holds That Under Noncumulation Clause Only One Limit Is Available to Cover Multiple Claims

In Nesmith v. Allstate Insurance Co., New York’s highest court, over a two-judge dissent, held that under the noncumulation clause in a landlord’s liability policy, only one limit was available to cover claims by children...more

EEOC Loses Argument That Company Converting Employees to Contractors Cannot Require Release of Pending Discrimination Claims

Over the past several years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed several high profile lawsuits accusing employers of retaliating against employees by requiring them to waive discrimination claims in return...more

Proportionality Depends on Parties Cooperating (Washington)

Johnson v. Allstate Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 7377198 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 29, 2014). In this insurance case, the plaintiffs made a motion to compel the search of 34 employee computers under the control of the...more

You're fired! Want to continue to work for us as an Independent Contractor?

This post was contributed by Jennifer E. Will, an Attorney in McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC's Labor & Employment Practice Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. If you do, you'll need to sign a release and waive all of your...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - January 2015

In This Issue: - District of South Carolina: No Support For Award of Punitive Damages Where Insured Failed To Prove Recklessness by Insurer - Supreme Court of Missouri Reverses Grant of Summary Judgment for...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds Policyholders May Assign Their Statutory Right to Recover Punitive Damages Arising from Insurer’s...

In an issue of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held in Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Wolfe that a policyholder may assign statutory bad faith claims under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute,...more

5th Circ. Highlights Importance Of Claim Investigation

Any insurance lawyer practicing in Texas knows that in order to show an insurance company has breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing to its insured, the insured must show “there is no reasonable basis for denial of...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Statutory Bad Faith Claims are Assignable

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held, in a 5-1 decision, that bad faith claims brought pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 8371 may be assigned by an insured to an injured third party under Pennsylvania law. See...more

Assign Away: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Says Bad Faith Claims May be Assigned

On December 15, 2014, in the case of Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Wolfe, No. 39 MAP 2014, slip op. at 1 (Pa. Dec. 15, 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an insured may assign a statutory bad faith claim...more

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