New York Court Holds Life Insurer Can Deduct Unpaid Premiums from Policy’s Death Benefit

Applying New Jersey law, the the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that the John Hancock Life Insurance Company was entitled to withhold unpaid premium payments from a life policy’s death benefit. In John Hancock Life Insurance Company v. Katzman, the policy was in default when the insured died. Interpreting the words of the policy and finding no ambiguity, the court held that the policy allowed the insurer to subtract the unpaid monthly premiums from the policy’s death benefit as a matter of law. The facts and procedural history of the Katzman case are
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Insurers Challenge Amtrak’s Wind Claims In Sandy Litigation – Read More Here

Insurers Say Amtrak Can’t Force Wind Claims Into Sandy Suit Share us on: By Joe Van Acker Law360, New York (June 30, 2015, 7:37 PM ET) — Excess insurers told a New York federal judge on Tuesday not to undo a recent decision dismissing them from Amtrak’s suit seeking compensation for rail damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, claiming that Amtrak has contradicted itself by trying to shoehorn wind-related claims into its suit. Arch Specialty Insurance Co., Lexington Insurance Co., Steadfast Insurance Co. and others said Amtrak changed course after the court granted their motion for summary judgment by claiming that
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Interesting Article On How Affordable Healthcare Act Can Benefit Defense Bar

Can Affordable Care Act Ruling Help the Defense Bar? Max Mitchell, The Legal Intelligencer July 2, 2015 | 0 Comments SHARE PRINT REPRINTS Tomasz Papuga A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed for the second time the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but it also may have given the defense bar a little more of a bargaining chip when it comes to personal-injury cases. With the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell, the court denied a second bid to overturn the controversial law, also known as Obamacare, which is aimed at getting health insurance coverage for all Americans.
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New York Appellate Court Extends Additional Insured Coverage to Real Estate Manager’s Parent Company

In GMM Realty, LLC v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, the New York Appellate Court addressed a situation where the parent company of a real estate manager of the insured brought a declaratory judgment action against the insurer seeking defense and indemnification as an additional insured for a personal injury suit. After examining the Complaint and the relevant policy language, the Court held that the allegations of the Complaint suggested a reasonable possibility of coverage that triggered the insurer’s duty to defend. The underlying personal injury suit arose after the plaintiff slipped and fell near the entrance of
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LAW360 Publishes Interesting Insurance Cases To Be Decided In Second Half of 2015

Here is the article: Insurance Cases To Watch In The 2nd Half Of 2015 Share us on: By Jeff Sistrunk Law360, Los Angeles (June 19, 2015, 3:21 PM ET) — Attorneys are eagerly awaiting the California Supreme Court’s decision on when policyholders can transfer insurance rights during mergers and corporate restructurings, and anticipating guidance from New York’s high court on complex allocation and exhaustion issues in asbestos lawsuits. Here are five cases that insurance attorneys will be tracking in the second half of the year. Fluor Corp. v. Superior Court The California Supreme Court is mulling over whether to disturb
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Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals Rules That Punitive Damages Are Not Recoverable Against an Insurer

In an opinion predicting Pennsylvania state law, the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that punitive damages awarded against an insured in a personal injury suit are not recoverable in a later breach of contract or bad faith suit against the insurer. In Wolfe v. Allstate, the Court examined Pennsylvania’s long-standing public policy regarding the uninsurability of punitive damages and predicted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would conclude that, in a bad faith action against an insurer, an insured may not collect as compensatory damages the punitive damages awarded against the insured in the underlying suit. In this case,
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NJ Supreme Court Rules Superior Court Has Concurrent Jurisdiction When Worker’s Employment Status is Disputed

In Kotsovska v. Liebman, the New Jersey Supreme Court grappled with the question of whether the doctrine of primary jurisdiction deprives the Superior Court of jurisdiction under the Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”) to determine a worker’s employment status in cases where the defendant raises the exclusive remedy provision of the WCA as an affirmative defense to the worker’s Complaint. Scrutinizing the WCA, prior precedent and the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, the Court held that in cases where a genuine dispute exists as to the employment status of the worker — whether an employee or independent contractor — and the worker
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NJ Appeals Court Rules Mold in Attic Caused by Condensation Not Covered by Mold Endorsement

The New Jersey Appeals Court recently addressed the interplay of a mold exclusion in a homeowners insurance policy with a Mold Endorsement that allowed limited coverage for mold damage caused by “fortuitous direct physical damage or destruction.” In Kavesh v. Franklin Mutual Insurance, the Court examined the language of the mold exclusion of the policy, as well as the Endorsement providing limited coverage and found the provisions to be unambiguous. Based on the facts of the claim and the mold damage to the insureds’ home, the court held that Plaintiffs failed to prove that the mold growth was a result
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NY Top Court Affirms Bright Line Rule of Strict Liability for Injuries Caused by Dogs

Addressing two separate, but similar lawsuits involving bicycle collisions caused by dogs, a divided New York Court of Appeals held that the dogs’ owners could not be sued for negligence based on the owners’ inadequate supervision of the animals. In Doerr v. Goldsmith and Dobinski v. Lockhart, Plaintiffs were injured when they collided with unleashed dogs while riding their bicycles. Relying on longstanding precedent, the Court determined that Plaintiffs could not bring negligence causes of action against the dogs’ owners, since the only basis for suit under the law was a theory of strict liability by showing an animal’s vicious
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NJ Court Denies Insured’s Attempt to Reform Policy Post-Accident to Increase UI/UIM Benefits

In Drysten v. Chiesa and USAA, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court found that the insurer was immune from suit under the New Jersey statute governing immunity for insurers based on the insured’s election of motor vehicle coverages. While the insured attempted to gain additional benefits by having the policy reformed post-accident, the court determined that the insurer’s strict compliance with the statutory requirements and the insured’s breach of her duty to read insurance documents and alert the insurer as to any inconsistencies in coverage, resulted in a finding of immunity for the insurer. Plaintiff was injured
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